It’s that time of the year again; A-League is about to kickoff. It’s great to be back writing weekly previews for TheProfits, it’s my fourth season and I think I’m getting better at it every year, that’s at least what the results are saying anyway. Once again I’ll be focusing on the Head to Head market, the Over/Under market and the Draw No Bet market as these are the biggest and most popular markets. There’s always a variety of bookmakers offering them, as well as you can be sure to get a bet on, which isn’t always the case with some of the more unusual bet types. Each week I’ll provide a preview of each game and which way I see the result going. I’ll then add in the best odds available for each team and the betting options I’m looking at, followed by my rated prices, then highlight where I think the best value in the match is. Below you’ll find my pre-season review of all the teams, a small write-up on how they went last season and how I think they’ll go this season. I’ve also got listed any transfers, both in and out, the teams have had since last season (correct at time of writing). Also, any feedback you have I’d love to hear about, just shoot me a tweet @AL_TheProfits and I’ll usually reply pretty quickly.
Hopefully we all have a very profitable 2016/17 A-League season.
Obviously I don’t need to talk about Adelaide too much, everyone knows how impressive they were, landing the Premiership/Championship double. It wasn’t smooth sailing all season for them though. They started the season with the equal second highest rating, but that didn’t last long, as their early season form slumped, so did their rating. At Round 14 they were ranked in the second half of the league, but it was onwards an upwards from there. They went on a great-unbeaten run that saw them slowly picking off teams one-by-one as they climbed towards the top of table. By Round 23 they were the highest rated team and they held that honour throughout finals, and till the end of the year.
Adelaide is sure to have another good season; they were so dominate last year, it’s hard to see them not having another strong year. The thing that could throw a spanner in the works is losing Djite, he was an integral part of the Championship side, and without him they’re definitely going to have to change things. I still think they are definitely one of the teams to beat and would be surprised to see them drop out of the top 4.
Ben Garuccio (Melbourne City)
Ryan Kitto (Newcastle Jets)
Jesse Makarounas (Melbourne Victory)
Marc Marino (Melbourne City)
Bruce Djite (Suwon FC – South Korea)
Stefan Mauk (NEC – Netherlands)
Eli Babalj (AZ Alkmaar – Netherlands)
Craig Goodwin (Sparta Rotterdam – Netherlands)
Bruce Kamau (Melbourne City)
Pablo Sanchez (Released)
It was a strong year for Brisbane, and if their goal difference was slightly better at the end of the season they could of finished above Western Sydney, and it would have been them facing off with Adelaide in the Grand Final. After a relatively disappointing 2014/15, they started off the season in the main pack. You couldn’t really write them off, but they hadn’t shown enough to say, “I’m a contender”. Their season was a bit of a rollercoaster, the first 6 rounds were great, and then they dropped off for a couple of months. It wasn’t until about Round 18 when they really started to hold their form. From that point till the end of the regular season they kept on taking turns at favouritism for the Premiership with Adelaide and Western Sydney. Going into the last game they still had a chance to win the Premiership, but they couldn’t get the win when they needed it. Despite not making the Grand Final, I think they finished the season as the second best team.
There could be a big season in Brisbane, while there are a few ins and outs, their starting lineup doesn’t look likely to change too much, and why would you after the luck they had with that lineup last year. Kristensen coming in interests me, he could be that little bit extra they need to go one step further and play for the Championship.
Thomas Kristensen (ADO Den Haag – Netherlands)
Connor O’Toole (Promoted)
Jacob Pepper (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Kye Rowles (Palm Beach)
Devante Clut (Newcastle Jets)
James Donachie (Released)
Henrique (Negeri Sembilan – Malaysia)
Javier Hervas (Released)
Steve Lustica (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Jean Carlos Solorzano (Released)
Shane Stefanutto (Released)
Central Coast Mariners
I’ll just keep this pretty short to save any Central Coast fans the heartache. They started off the season with the worst rating by a decent margin; they ended the season with the worst rating by a huge margin. They’re the only team that didn’t improve their rating at any stage throughout season, that’s a hard feat. They finished the year with a measly three wins, and only four draws. There isn’t a lot more to take out of their year other than it was bitterly disappointing, this has been a few seasons in a row now, so something drastically has to change.
Much like last season review, this season’s preview is going to be short. When a club is going this bad, it’s hard to sign any big stars to try and turn things around, this is a predicament that Central Coast is currently in. I’m glad they’ve got themselves quite a few new players, albeit no stars, but it can’t hurt. The only thing that can turn things around for them at the moment is if things change behind the scenes. What they’ve been doing the last few years hasn’t worked so they need to start a fresh in my opinion. That being said, I can’t see that actually happening this year, and to be honest, would be surprised to see them finish any higher than last.
Jake Adelson (Promoted)
Kwabena Appiah (Wellington Phoenix)
Adam Berry (Promoted)
Jacques Faty (Sydney FC)
Ivan Necevski (Sydney FC)
Connor Pain (Melbourne Victory)
Blake Powell (Wellington Phoenix)
Mickael Tavares (Sydney FC)
Mitch Austin (Melbourne Victory)
Luis Garcia (Released)
Daniel Heffernan (Released)
Anthony Kalik (HNK Hajduk Split – Croatia)
Francesco Stella (Released)
Tomislav Uskok (Released)
It was a decent season for Melbourne City, after some big moves in the trade market during the offseason; I started them off as the third best team on ratings when the season kicked off. They were pretty even throughout the first couple of months of the season, but after that they kicked into gear. From Round 12, for about six weeks, they were the highest rated team, after that they dropped back a little bit to finish the season where they started in the rankings, third. They were always going to be in trouble when they had to face up against Adelaide away in the finals, but I think they performed admirably. While they did finish fourth on the table, they were only five points behind the Premiers Adelaide, and Melbourne City had clearly the best goal difference of any side.
Melbourne City will undoubtedly be a strong side again this season. This is probably the team with the biggest changes, picking up Cahill, Brattan and Brandán could be huge for them, but on the other side of the coin is the huge loss of Mooy. He was clearly one of the best players in the league last season, and created great opportunities week in week out. Even losing Mooy, I think the new inclusions make this season’s squad better than last seasons. If they can gel together, they will no doubt be one of the best teams going around.
Fernando Brandán (Athletico Temperley – Argentina)
Neil Kilkenny (Preston North End)
Daniel Arzani (AIS)
Luke Brattan (Manchester City – UK)
Bruce Kamau (Adelaide United)
Manny Muscat (Wellington Phoenix)
Ruon Tongyik (Promoted)
Tim Cahill (Hangzhou Greentown – China)
James Brown (Released)
Wade Dekker (Released)
Ben Garuccio (Adelaide United)
Aaron Hughes (Released)
Patrick Kisnorbo (Released)
Marc Marino (Adelaide United)
Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town – UK)
Harry Novillo (Manisaspor – Turkey)
James Trifiro (Released)
Alex Wilkinson (Sydney FC)
Michael Zullo (Sydney FC)
After a stellar 2014/15, its no surprise that Melbourne Victory went into this season at the top of the rankings, not only were they the best team last year, but they also pulled in some nice new recruits. By mid-season they had come right back to the pack, and the more rounds that went by, they further they kept dropping. As the season came to a close I wasn’t shocked to see their rating well off the pace of the top tier teams. I think they have a lot of work to make it back up to the standard that the club and its fans are so used to. While they did make finals, having to face Brisbane in Brisbane was too much of a task for them and they bailed out in the first round.
When first looking at Melbourne Victory’s signings, fans will have a big smile on their face with the club bringing two of the recent stars back to the club in Troisi and Rojas. It was only few years ago that Rojas took the league by storm, and a little bit of time in Europe is sure to have only improved him, but the smile quickly disappears when you see the players they lost. Barbarouses, Finkler and Delpierre will all be missing from their lineup this year and that’s going to hurt in a big way. With those losses, I can’t really see them improving on last season, which puts them right on the verge of missing the finals.
James Troisi (Liaoning Whowin – China)
Alan Baro (Ponferradina – Spain)
Mitch Austin (Central Coast Mariners)
Stefan Nigro (Promoted)
James Donachie (Brisbane Roar)
Marco Rojas (FC Thun – Switzerland)
Danny Vukovic (Released)
Kosta Barbarouses (Wellington Phoenix)
Matthieu Delpierre (Released)
Thomas Deng (PSV Eindhoven – Netherlands)
Gui Finkler (Wellington Phoenix)
Giancarlo Gallifuoco (Released)
Jesse Makarounas (Released)
Dylan Murnane (Released)
Connor Pain (Central Coast Mariners)
Archie Thompson (Released)
Newcastle was one of the most consistent teams all season and they finished the year on the exact same rating as they started it. They did start the year with some strong form, but that leveled out pretty quickly. While they don’t look to have improved much, with other teams dropping down slightly, I think it gives them more to look forward to next season.
After making the finals for the first time in a few years last season, I think sticking to a similar lineup is a good move for Newcastle. Nabbout comes in, who can show moments of brilliance, but he’s more of “come of the bench” player when you need an attacking spark in the last 20 minutes. Birighetti out is a bit of a loss, but I think they should expect to finish this season much like the last one.
Andrew Nabbout (Negeri Sembilan – Malaysia)
Daniel Alessi (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Wayne Brown (SJK – Finland)
Devante Clut (Brisbane Roar)
Jack Duncan (Randers FC)
Andrew Hoole (Sydney FC)
Ivan Vujica (Dinamo Zagreb U19 – Croatia)
Mark Birighitti (Swansea City – UK)
Enver Alivodic (Released)
Josh Barresi (Released)
Ryan Kitto (Released)
Brandon Lundy (Released)
Cameron Watson (Released)
I know Perth went down in the first week of finals, but I think they had a great year, or at least a great “half of a year”. Like many teams, they started the year ranked in the middle group, and we didn’t know if they’d make the step up, or drop out. And at the halfway point of the season, it looked like they were going to drop out, but from that mid-season point something happened, and they just continued to get better and better. At Christmas they looked unlikely to be playing finals football, but by the end of the season you couldn’t imagine the finals without them. Unfortunately for them all the points they dropped early in the year cost them a chance of a home final, and when you live on the other side of the country that can hurt.
This is an exciting looking team; they were already solid, now bringing in four players from Europe/UK, they could be the real surprise packet of the year. Be reading my write-ups most would probably know how taken I was with them in the latter part of last season, and I think it will flow onto this season. I’d be very surprised if they didn’t finish the year with a top 4 spot.
Rostyn Griffiths (Roda JC – Netherlands)
Rhys Williams (Charlton Athletic – UK)
Joseph Mills (Oldham Athletic – UK)
Liam Reddy (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Brandon Wilson (Burnley FC U21 – UK)
Diogo Ferreira (Released)
Hagi Gligor (Released)
Gyorgy Sandor (Released)
Krisztian Vadocz (Released)
Ruben Zadkovich (Released)
Jerrad Tyson (Released)
Sydney was the other real disappointment of the season. Their 2014/15 was top shelf, and they were unlucky to not win any silverware, but their 2015/16 was nothing like that. Starting on the second highest ranking, their rating continued to drop as the season progressed. It wasn’t until Round 14 when they finally improved, but that was short lived as they slipped down again. They have the talent on the field, they’re just not linking up, and working together like we’ve seen in the past.
Sydney have offloaded quite a lot of players, but no real big names, so their starting team shouldn’t change all too much. There will definitely be at least one change though as they’ll need to make room in their eleven for Ibini who was their biggest signing over the break. Can he do enough to make them a real contender, I don’t think so, but he’s sure to give them a bit more penetration up front. Sneaking a finals spot looks probably best-case scenario for Sydney.
Bernie Ibini (Club Brugge – Belgium)
Danny Vukovic (Melbourne Victory)
Josh Brillante (Fiorentina – Italy)
Alex Wilkinson (Melbourne City)
Michael Zullo (Melbourne City)
Ali Abbas (Pohang Steelers – South Korea)
Zac Anderson (Released)
Anthony Bouzanis (Released)
Jacques Faty (Central Coast Mariners)
Andrew Hoole (Newcastle Jets)
Alex Mullen (Released)
Christopher Naumoff (Released)
Ivan Necevski (Released)
Shane Smeltz (Kedah FC – Malaysia)
Robert Stambolziev (Released)
Mickael Tavares (Central Coast Mariners)
Jacob Tratt (Released)
Riley Woodcock (Released)
The New Zealanders really dropped off this season, usually they can hold some semi-decent form purely because of the tough road matches for their opposition when they play at home, but that wasn’t to be this season. After starting the season in the mid rankings, they’ve now dropped right down to be second from the bottom (albeit still a fair way above Central Coast).
It’s always hard to make a big bounce back after a poor season, but Wellington has the potential to do it. They haven’t lost any real key players and have managed to sign up Barbarouses and Finkler. Both are very good players, but the biggest coup for them is that they played together at Melbourne Victory, so they’ll be able to link up with each other straight away. If they can slot into this Wellington eleven well, the New Zealanders should expect significant improvement on last year. I’d imagine they’d be very disappointed if they didn’t at least make finals this year.
Kosta Barbarouses (Melbourne Victory)
Gui Finkler (Melbourne Victory)
Hamish Watson (Hawke’s Bay United – New Zealand)
Manny Muscat (Melbourne City)
Blake Powell (Released)
Ben Sigmund (Released)
Albert Riera (Released)
Western Sydney Wanderers
Western Sydney is a weird one, we all know they made it to the Grand Final where they lost to Adelaide, so automatically you’d think they were the second best team in the comp, and yes that may be the case over the entire season, but at the end of the season I think they were a bit off the pace. They started the year brilliantly, putting together plenty of wins, and for a couple of weeks around Round 10, they held the highest rating. That’s what put them in such a strong spot for the rest of the season, getting all those points early. As the season went on, in my opinion I think they continued to slide, and I didn’t have them improving at any stage during the second half of the year.
This is another team that has unloaded a lot of players off their list, but no real crucial players in my opinion. There’s a few interesting in’s that could prove to be great signings halfway through the season, but at this stage we’ll have to wait and see. I’d imagine they’ll finish around the second half of the finals team at the end of the year.
Robbie Cornthwaite (Selangor FA – Malaysia)
Jumpei Kusukami (Cerezo Osaka – Japan)
Steven Lustica (Brisbane Roar)
Bruno Pinatares (Cerra – Uruguay)
Lachlan Scott (Promoted)
Mario Shabow (Promoted)
Daniel Alessi (Released)
Mark Bridge (Changrai United- Thailand)
Romeo Castelen (Released)
Shayne D’Cunha (Released)
Alusine Fofanah (Released)
Golgol Mebrahtu (Released)
Jacpb Pepper (Brisbane Roar)
Federico Piovaccari (Released)
Liam Reddy (Released)
Matt Sim (Released)
Dario Vidosic (Liaoning Whowin – China)