It’s all kicking off this weekend with the first round of A-League action hitting our screens this Thursday night. Get your tips for all this weeks fixtures including the huge match up between Adelaide United and Melbourne victory right here!
Hyundai A-League Predictions: Round 1: Matchday 1, 2015/2016
Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar
Venue: Pirtek Stadium| Last Corresponding Meeting: December 3, 2014 (0-1)
Both teams had a year to forget in the last season with Brisbane scraping into the finals by virtue of being best of the rest (non salary cap cheating that is), while The Wanderers finished a dismal second last with only 4 wins. Western Sydney has had a mixed bag of results in pre-season with wins over NPL sides but losing both games against A-League opposition. Brisbane has faired a little better with the trifecta of a wind, draw and a loss against A-League teams. Tellingly however, Western Sydney beat The Roar only 2 months ago in the FFA Cup.
We’re yet to see how Brisbane new boy Jamie Maclaren will gel with the team in the long term and with Carona only joining from CD Almeria last week I think The Roar will have a tough task away from home. Add to that, they will be missing their captain and talisman Matt Mckay to international duty and it’s hard not to back The Wanderers.
Key Statistic | Brisbane Roar has only ever scored 3 goals at Pirtek Stadium, but Western Sydney Wanderers has only scored 5 against Brisbane at home as well. Chances are we’re in for another low scoring fixture.
Key Player | Jamie MacLaren. Brisbane struggled to score all last season and if they want results to go their way, then need new young gun MacLaren to chalk up a few goals. If he doesn’t, Wanderers will likely score on the counter as is their wont.
Clinton Madden’s Prediction | Western Sydney Wanderers 1 – 0 Brisbane Roar
Roman Barbera’s Prediction | Western Sydney Wanderers 1 – 0 Brisbane Roar
Hyundai A-League Predictions: Round 1: Matchday 2, 2015/2016
Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory
Venue: Adelaide Oval | Last Corresponding Meeting: October 17, 2014 (1-1)
This match-up is certainly the pick of Round 1 clashes. Old rivals, the beautiful Adelaide Oval and my pick for the top 2 teams this season, it doesn’t get much better. This fixture last season was an entertaining 1 all draw when they slugged it out in Adelaide again later that season, it ended in another draw. Both teams have had impressive pre-seasons, Melbourne winning 4 from 4 and scoring 12 goals in the process, and Adelaide’s only losses coming against Premier League sides Liverpool and Manchester City.
Whilst rate Adelaide United, I think the defending champions will be too strong in their opening match of the season. They recruited smartly and the only thing going against them will be the huge home crowd at the Adelaide Oval. Also going against Adaliade is the loss of influential defender Tarek Elrick and resident brick wall and captain Eugene Galekovic.
Key Statistic | Adelaide United only have a 27.78% win ratio against Melbourne Victory, losing 18 times to only 10 victories. I think we’ll see that trend continue in this one.
Key Player | Fahid Ben Khalfallah. He scored 2 goals against Adelaide last season and was frequently The Victory’s best on field.
Clinton Madden’s Prediction | Adelaide United 1 – 3 Melbourne Victory
Roman Barbera’s Prediction | Adelaide United 2 – 2 Melbourne Victory
Hyundai A-League Predictions: Round 1: Matchday 3, 2015/2016
Central Coast Mariners v Perth Glory
Venue: Central Coast Stadium | Last Corresponding Meeting: November 9, 2014 (0-1)
Perth Come into this one a little under-cooked with only 3 pre-season matches under their belt, though they are still in the FFA Cup. By contrast, The Mariners have played a whopping 9 pre-season games, losing 3 of them. I think both of these clubs off-season recruiting has been a little underwhelming though Perth Glory may just come out on top. They brought in a couple of very experienced forwards to make up to the ones they lost after last season’s debacle.
Not really sure how this match will end up as both clubs had quite large player turnover but I’m backing Perth Glory to get an unlikely away victory mainly because I think Perth coach Kenny Lowe can get the best out of his players and has had more time with the team than his Central Coast counterpart.
Key Statistic | Between them, these teams lost 19 players over the off-season. Hard to predict a game with so many new faces.
Key Player | Nebojša Marinković. He has scored 2 goals in the FFA Cup for Perth Glory and was one of their most consistent players all last season.
Clinton Madden’s Prediction | Central Coast Mariners 0 – 1 Perth Glory
Roman Barbera’s Prediction | Central Coast Mariners 1 – 0 Perth Glory
Sydney FC v Melbourne City FC
Venue: Allianz Stadium| Last Corresponding Meeting: October 11, 2014 (1-1)
For the second year in a row Sydney FC face Melbourne City at home to kick off their respective season, only this time, there’s no David Villa in the Melbourne squad. However, they did add a few impressive names to the list and they should have a lot more impact in the long term. Despite sitting pretty in the FFA Cup Semi-Finals, City has had an erratic pre-season, scoring plenty of goals but failing to beat a fellow A-League side. Following a similar script, Sydney has also lost both their pre-season fixtures against League sides.
Last seasons games between these two clubs weren’t exactly memorable but both sides are looking a decent prospect this year. I trust Sydney to get off to a good start at home but I also think City have a bit of flair about them this season and it could be a tight match. The factor that tips it in Sydney’s favour for me is the loss of Melbourne City’s star Aaron Mooy who will be with the Socceroos. He was top scorer and standout all last season and they will miss him a lot.
Key Statistic | Aaron Mooy top scored with 7 goals last season, the next best was 3 so they may struggle to find the back of the net without the influential midfielder.
Key Player | Harry Novillo. The Frenchman injected a much-needed spark into the team when he arrived as an injury replacement towards the back end of last season. If they are to break down Sydney, it will need to come from him.
Clinton Madden’s Prediction | Sydney FC 2 – 1 Melbourne City
Roman Barbera’s Prediction | Sydney FC 1 – 1 Melbourne City
Hyundai A-League Predictions: Round 1: Matchday 4, 2015/2016
Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets
Venue: Westpac Stadium | Last Corresponding Meeting: October 26, 2014 (4-1)
This fixture last season was when Nathan Burns announced his return to scoring form with 2 goals in a 4-1 drubbing of the Jets. Goals will be harder to come by without their key man this year but facing The Jets at home looks on paper to be a good way to ease into things.
The Jets have had a mixed pre-season but what stands out to me is their lack of goals. Only 4 goals in 5 games is well under par for what we’ve come to expect from A-League teams in preseason. Wellington has been busy with no less than 14 pre-season fixtures with some promising results including victories against A-League teams. The Phoenix are generally pretty good at home and it’s always a tough trip across the Tasman so I’d expect them to get it done in Round 1 of the A-League.
Key Statistic | In their 3 matches last season, Wellington racked up 9 goals and conceded 4 to the Jets so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a few more goals this time out.
Key Player | Roly Bonevacia. Bonevacia was a key man in probably and over achieving squad last season and impressed everyone with his work rate and commitment. I expect him to bring the same intensity to his game this season.
Clinton Madden’s Prediction | Wellington Phoenix 2 – 1 Newcastle Jets
Roman Barbera’s Prediction | Wellington Phoenix 2 – 0 Newcastle Jets