Hyundai A-League 2013/14 Season Team Previews

A-League - Football - Australia

It’s that time of year again when Australian soccer fans start to get excited, we are under a week away from kick-off in the opening game of the 9th Hyundai A League season.

Each week I’ll give a brief overview of all the weeks matches and with where I see the value in the fixture. Suggested plays will usually be in the standard H2H market, but may also include o/u lines or prop bets from time to time.

Now to have a look at all the teams and see how they preformed last season where they stand for the 2013/14 season:

Adelaide United

Fans of Adelaide will be disappointed after falling out of the finals last season in the first week, but realistically that’s about where they stood. After starting the season brilliantly, leading the league nearly every week up till round 8, they then started a slow decline bringing them down to Melbourne Victory and Brisbane’s level. They did the right thing by winning over 50% of their home games, which is a must to play finals, but they will need to improve their record when on the road if they want to compete with the top few clubs. They should be finals bound again this season but the loss of Vidosic won’t help their cause. They have acquired four players from European clubs to make up for that loss and to try and help them push for the top of the table again.

Trades

In
Steven Lustica – Hajduk Split, Croatia
Michael Zullo (loan) – FC Utrecht, Netherlands
Tarek Elrich – Western Sydney Wanderers
Isaias Sanchez – Ponferradina, Spain
Sergio Cirio – Hospitalet, Spain
Jordan Elsey – from youth side
Awer Mabil – from youth side

Out
Dario Vidosic – FC Sion, Switzerland
Iain Fyfe – Mes Kerman, Iran
Iain Ramsay – Melbourne Heart
Tomi Juric – Western Sydney Wanderers
Fabian Barbiero – Croydon Kings, SAPL
Evan Kostopoulos – released

Brisbane Roar

It was a slow start to the year for Brisbane, only securing their finals birth in the last few weeks of the season. They continued their good end of season form beating Adelaide in the first week of the finals, but not surprisingly Western Sydney pulled out too many guns for Brisbane the week after. This season they’ll need to win more than the 25% they did on the road last season to stay competitive and to stay in the thick of the finals actions. On the trade front there is nothing major to note, they’ve lured Socceroo McKay back to the team where he spent a good period of his career and secured Miller and Ferreira from a couple of their A League competitors. Brisbane is one of the teams that could drop out of the finals this season if they’re not carful.

Trades

In
Matt McKay – Changchun Yatai, China
Liam Miller – Perth Glory
Diogo Ferreira – Melbourne Victory
Dimitri Petratos – Kelantan, Malaysia
Corey Brown – from youth side
George Lambadardis – from youth side

Out
Massimo Murdocca – Melbourne Heart
Matt Jurman – Sydney FC
Mitch Nichols – Melbourne Victory
Ben Halloran – Fortuna Dusselldorf, Germany
Stefan Nijland – PEC, Zwolle, Netherlands
Steven Lustica (was on loan) – Hadjuk Split, Croatia
James Meyer – released

Central Coast Mariners

Central Coast, the reining champions should once again have a high expectation of themselves for this upcoming season, after just being nutted late in the season for the minor premiership by Western Sydney they managed to seek their revenge over them in the A League final securing a comfortable 2-0 win. Last season they did what every team endevours to do, making their home ground a fortress, winning an unprecedented 86% of home games, that’s 30% more than any other club. Doing so they were always destined to finish top 2, and if they can do the same this season that’s where they will find themselves again. On the down side, Central Coast look to be the club hit hardest by trades, losing both Bojic and star keeper Ryan, not to mention the potential superstar Rogic that was poached by big time European club Celtic midway through last season. They have signed Flores from Melbourne Victory, which if he can find his form from 2 seasons ago will definitely help Central Coast’s efforts to another championship.

Trades

In
Liam Reddy – Sydney United 58 FC, NSWPL
Marcos Flores – Melbourne Victory
Tom Slater – Sydney FC
Storm Roux – Perth Glory
Matt Simon – Chunnam Dragons, South Korea
Marcel Seip – VVV Venlo, Netherlands
Michael Neill – from youth side
Hayden Morton – from youth side

Out
Pedj Bojic – Sydney FC
Oliver Bozanic – FC Luzern, Switzerland
Bernie Ibini – Shanghai SIPG, China
Mattew Ryan – Club Brugge, Belgium
Brad McDonald – Central Coast Mariners Academy, NSWPL
Adriano Pelegrino – Central Coast Mariners Academy, NSW PL
Patrick Zwaanswijk – retired

Melbourne Heart

Melbourne Hearts 3rd season in the A League can only be described as bitterly disappointing, after scraping into the finals the season before fans were hoping for further improvement, instead they were just hoping to avoid the wooden spoon at the end of the season. They managed to only get a measly 4 points on the road for the whole season, and 3 of them were against Melbourne Victory, so barely an away game. Having a record anything like that they can’t expect to play finals and I’m sure that’s something they looked at in the off-season. The other thing Melbourne Heart did in the off-season was pull out the cheque book, signing 6 players from Europe including Mifsud and Engelaar, and bringing Kewell back to Melbourne after playing for across town rival Melbourne Victory 2 seasons ago. Even with these big singings, you’d imagine it would still be touch and go for them to make finals for the 2nd time in their short existence.

Trades

In
Michael Mifsud – Valletta FC, Malta
Andrea Miglorini – FC Koper, Slovenia
Patrick Kisnorbo – Leeds United, England
Orlando Engelaar – PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands
Massimo Murdocca – Brisbane Roar
Iain Ramsay – Adelaide United
Tando Velaphi – Melbourne Victory
Harry Kewell – Al-Gharafa, Qatar
Robert Wielaert – Roda JC Kerkrade, Netherlands
Aziz Behich – Bursaspor, Turkey
Sam Mitchinson – from youth side
Stefan Mauk – from youth side

Out
Cameron Edwards – Perth Glory
Josip Tadic – HNK Rijeka, Croatia
Eli Babalj – AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands
Simon Colosimo – Dempo, India
Clint Bolton – retired
Matt Thompson – released
Fred – released
Marcel Meeuwis – released
Jamie Coyne – released

Melbourne Victory

After a slow opening month for Melbourne Victory last season, they then showed pretty good form for the remainder of the season, always looking to safely hold their finals spot but never quite competitive enough to venture into the top 2. In finals they did roughly as expected, beating Perth at home, then losing to Central Coast away, as basically every team did all season long. With a massive fan base, Melbourne Victory supporters will be expecting their team to be there abouts again this season but it’s not going to be easy for them. Another team hit hard by trades, losing Flores, Ferreira, Celeski and most notably, the Johnny Warren medal winner Rojas, who was poached by German giant Stuttgart. On the other hand they have signed a few handy players including Barbarouses, Contreras and Troisi (loan). They key to the teams end of season result could lie with Finkler, the Brazilian midfielder only played 12 games last season before injuring his ACL, putting him out for the rest of the season. Amazingly he managed to lead the A League last season in goal assists, playing less than half of the season. Finals should again be a lock for the team but they will be looking for a top 4 position to secure a home final.

Trades

In
Mitch Nichols – Brisbane Roar
Kosta Barbarouses – FC Alania, Russia
James Troisi (loan) – Atalanta, Italy
Pablo Contreras – Olympiakos, Greece

Out
Marcos Flores – Central Coast Mariners
Diogo Ferreira – Brisbane Roar
Tando Velaphi – Melbourne Heart
Marco Rojas – VfB Stuttgart, Germany
Daniel Mullen – Dalian Aerbin, China
Billy Celeski – Al Shaab, UAE
Sam Gallagher – Richmond, VPL
Spase Dilevski – released
Theo Markelis – released
Matthew Foschini – released

Newcastle Jets

Was another lack luster season for Newcastle, missing finals action by less than a game, although they didn’t overly deserve a finals birth either having the 2nd worst home record in the league, winning only 38% of their games in Newcastle. Their 7 draws throughout the season, most of any club, is what pushed their points up to nearly getting them into the finals action. Much like their lack luster season, their trades were pretty lack luster too, no big additions, no big losses. Unfortunately for Newcastle fans it’s hard to see the club improving this season, if anything they may fall closer to the bottom of the ladder.

Trades

In
Kew Jaliens – Wisla Kraków, Poland
Joey Gibbs – Western Sydney Wanderers
Nathan Burns – Incheon United, South Korea
John Solari – White City, SAPL

Out
Jack Duncan – Perth Glory
Bernardo Ribeiro – IFK Mariehamn, Finland
Dominik Ritter – released
Marko Jesic – released

Perth Glory

Perth is another of these teams, can’t see them pressing for top 4, but won’t be in the bottom 2, they’ll be hoping to slip into the finals like they did last season, all be it only getting in on goal difference. They finished the season winning 43% of their home games, they’ll want to lift that to 50%+ if they want to secure themselves a finals spot and not rely on other teams to drop points. While their trades, both in and out, looked relatively underwhelming, English youngster Edwards (loan) creates interest, while Blackburn continue to keep him on their books, he’s yet to play a game for them, instead loaning him out while he grows his craft, they must see something in him. Perth is going to have another tough season, and it’s hard to see them finishing higher than they did last year.

Trades

In
Ljubo Milicevic – Melbourne Knights, VPL
Isaka Cernak – Wellington Phoenix
Cameron Edwards – Melbourne Heart
Jack Duncan – Newcastle Jets
Jamie Maclaren – Blackburn Rovers, England
Ryan Edwards (loan) – Reading, England
Sidnei Sciola – Alki Larnaca, Cyprus
Matthew Davies – from youth side
Riley Woodcock – from youth side
Daniel De Silva – from youth side

Out
Liam Miller – Brisbane Roar
Dean Heffernan – Western Sydney Wanderers
Storm Roux – Central Coast Mariners
Lewis Italiano – Wellington Phoenix
Evan Berger – Marconi Stallions, NSWPL
Neil Young – retired
Nick Ward – released
Matias Cordoba – released

Sydney FC

It was a poor result last season from Sydney failing to make the finals, all be it only by goal difference. They tend to usually be an over rated team, and I think that’s the case again this season, being touted as a possible contender this season, I just can’t see it. Winning only 2 games on the road last season is why they didn’t play finals. They need to significantly work on that if they want to finish at the top end of the table. Their home record was more than respectable winning 54% of their games there, but that’s only half the season, they need to get it done away too. They’ve decided to go with a fair clean out of their players, dropping 10 and gaining 7, although none of those 7 are anything to write home about. Petkovic and Bojic will prove handy but that’s about the extent of them. They are definitely capable of playing finals but are by far a lock, even though some markets think that they are.

Trades

In
Nikola Petkovic – Red Star Belgrade, Serbia
Pedj Bojic – Central Coast Mariners
Matt Jurman – Brisbane Roar
Marc Warren – Airdrie United, Scotland
Corey Gameiro – Fulham, England
Nick Carle (returns from loan) – Bani Yas – UAE
Richard Garcia – Melbourne Heart

Out
Terry Antonis – Parma, Italy
Fabio Alves – Philadelphia Union, USA
Adam Griffiths – Selangor FA, Malaysia
Joel Griffiths – Qingdao Jonoon, China
Paul Reid – Rockdale City Suns, NSWPL
Lucas Neill – released
Kruno Lovrek – released
Nathan Sherlock – released
Trent McClenahan – released
Jarrod Kyle – released

Wellington Phoenix

What can you say about Wellington, they were expected to come last, and they dually saluted by taking out the wooden spoon last season. They had the worst home record in the league only winning only 36% of their games in New Zealand, and their away record, only 2 wins for the season, nothing inspiring there either. Clearly they just don’t have the talent on the pitch, which is evident with the 8 players leaving the club, only 1 is being traded to a professional club, 1 going to a VPL club and the rest being released. The glimmer of light for Wellington fans is that they have acquired some decent players, highlighted by ex Melbourne Victory player Hernandez who should liven up their midfield. Wellington won’t play finals this year and can only hope to avoid finishing last again.

Trades

In
Lewis Italiano – Perth Glory
Reece Caira -Western Sydney Wanderers
Carlos Hernandez – Prayag United, India
Luke Adams – Derby, England
Kenny Cunningham – Club The Strongest, Bolivia
Alex Rufer – Wairarapa United, New Zealand
Luke Adams – Derby County, England

Out
Isaka Cernak – Perth Glory
Benjamin Totori – Oakleigh Cannons, VPL
Tony Lochhead – released
Alex Smith – released
Dani Sanchez – released
Jimmy Downey – released
Lucas Pantelis – released
Mark Paston – retired

Western Sydney Wanderers

Last but certainly not least, Western Sydney. They had, what has to be one of the best performances by a team in their rookie year in professional sports in Australia. Considering they started the season relatively slow it was an amazing performance in the second half of the season to win the minor premiership, then only just falling short in the final game of the season to Central Coast. They were clearly in the top 2 teams in the league. The most astonishing thing about this team was their ability to win on the road. Most teams would love to win 77% of their home games, and Western Sydney manages to do that when they are away. To put it into comparison the next highest away record was Central Coast with 40%. Unusually their home record was worse at 56%, still good, but it was their first season after all so we’ll let them off for that. They’ve gone with the old adage of “if it’s not broke, don’t change it” with their trades, having half a dozen ins and outs but none of real note. Once again Western Sydney will be extremely hard to beat all season, and teams will dread having to play them home or away. Be hard to see them finishing below 3rd.

Trade

In
Dean Heffernan – Perth Glory
Tomi Juric – Adelaide United
Brendon Santalab – Chongqing Lifan, China
Josh Barresi – from youth side
Yianni Perkatis – from youth side

Out
Tarek Elrich – Adelaide United
Joey Gibbs – Newcastle Jets
Reece Caira – Wellington Phoenix
Rocky Visconte – Suphanburi, Thailand
Dino Kresinger – Zavrc, Slovenia

Please Note:
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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Author

mm

AL

I’ve always been a massive soccer fan, starting with Manchester United in my early days (still love the Red Devils). While I followed the old NSL a little, I really got into Australian soccer once the A-League had been up and going for a couple of years. I’m amazed how it gets bigger and better every year and I’m excited to see where it will go in the future. I also have a keen interest in gambling and trying to use statistics to find an edge that others can’t. As soon as TheProfits asked if I would be interested in writing A-League for them I jumped at the opportunity. I hope that I can pass on some of my knowledge on both soccer and gambling to others, and I always appreciate any feedback or advice, I know that I’ve always got plenty to learn too. And most importantly, I hope I can help others win some cash and send those bookies broke.

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