With the A-League All Stars set to take on English giants Manchester United and Liverpool in the coming weeks, hype and excitement is building for the beginning of the 2013/14 Campaign. Here are five teams to watch out for:
- Central Coast Mariners. The Mariners won it all last season and, much like the Brisbane Roar before them, they will be eager to go back-to-back. With former Socceroos Coach Graham Arnold extending his contract for one more year, and golden boot winner Daniel McBreen anchoring the Mariners attack, Central Coast will be in prime position to maintain the blistering form. The addition of midfielder Marcos Flores to the Central Coast core is a sure fire sign the club is ready to begin their title defence that commences with a rematch against Grand Final opponents Western Sydney Wanderers on October 12.
- Western Sydney Wanderers. What a debut season it was for the Wanderers. Minor Premiers and ever so close to clinching the Premiership in what would have been a fairy tale ending for the club’s inaugural encounter into the A-League. Tony Popovich and his squad will be eager to prove their recent feat was certainly no fluke. Shinji Ono’s offense from midfield and Mark Bridge’s ability to score goals will greatly benefit the team again this season.
- Perth Glory. An agonising Elimination Final loss to the Melbourne Victory ended the Glory’s campaign prematurely. Their season was considered a bitter disappointment and under the guidance of Coach Alistair Edwards, the club will be looking to make amends. With a sturdy and ready Danny Vukovic in goal and the constant threat of Shane Smeltz and Travis Dodd up front, Perth will be looking to recapture the form that granted them a Grand Final appearance in 2011/12.
- Melbourne Victory. It took an impressive Central Coast Mariners side to eliminate the Victory from the title race in a close semi-final last season. Coming close to making yet another Grand Final appearance will fuel the fire for arguably the most popular team in the A-League – if attendance numbers are anything to go by. We know that Ange Postecoglou has the managerial skills to take this club to the top and with dynamic duo of Archie Thompson and Billy Celeski raring to go, Melbourne will be looking to go one better and put themselves in a position to claim their third title.
- Sydney FC. Bringing back Alessandro Del Piero and Brett Emerton is always a sign of good things to come, especially when you are a big market team such as Sydney FC. The Sky Blues hold an appeal that some other clubs just don’t possess, and they put that into effect last season with their temporary signing of Socceroos Captain Lucas Neill. Sydney will be looking to put a disappointing 2012/13 campaign behind them; they finished seventh on the table. Although the media doesn’t highlight them as a threat, Sydney FC is indeed a dark horse that a few teams might not see coming.