Thursday, 23 August 2007

Everyone else is doing it

It is now less than 24 hours to the kick-off in the new season of the A-League (not going to call it Version 3, its time to move on from that "version" moniker) and Melbourne Victory's 6-0 thrashing of Adelaide United is just a distant memory (although one that can be remember rather quickly by pulling out the DVD of the match). A lot of the other bloggers and pundits have been putting down their thoughts of how they think the league will finish this season, so I have decided to join in the fun and give you my very brief thoughts. For a more detailed analysis check out The Round Ball Analyst for his very comprehensive round up of the teams.

And now for my thoughts, this is how I think the ladder will look like at the end of the season:

1. Melbourne
2. Adelaide
3. Central Coast
4. Queensland
5. Sydney FC
6. Wellington Phoenix
7. Newcastle Jets
8. Perth Glory

I think Melbourne will go back to back (there is a little bias here) but they have the depth and quality of squad to make it through the campaign on top of the table, although it wouldn't surprise me to see them start the season of a bit sedately as the whole squad gets used to each other. A lot of people have been writing Adelaide off for this season, but again I think they will challenge strongly for the championship with a lot of good signings and a different style of play. Central Coast have been the silent movers over the off season and with the inclusion of Petrovski, the return of Heffernan and Mrdja (from injury) they should be a strong contender. Queensland, hopefully will shake off the tag of 'underachiever' and make a finals appearance. The signings of both Moore and Tiatto will add strength and bite to the squad with my only concern being that their under performing squad has changed little over the last two years. Even with the signing of Juninho, I think Sydney will struggle to make the finals this season due to the lack of depth within the squad. They have a very good starting XI or XIII, but may struggle to perform if injuries and suspensions kick in. Also, a good source of goals may be hard to find. With the remaining three teams, they could be placed in any order but I think all three of them will miss finals action. Wellington, under Ricky Herbert and his quartet of Brazilians will be a much tougher challenge than the New Zealand Knights ever were. Newcastle, will struggle without the influence of Nicky Carle and Milton Rodriguez, but will hopefully continue that exciting brand of football from last year but it will be interesting to see how their South American imports fare. And finally to Perth, who have been impressive during the pre-season may have it tough as they don't appear to have that many options up front with no real proven goalscorers.

Overall I think this upcoming season of A-League football will be the closest and toughest by far as all teams (except for Wellington as it is a new club) have learnt the lessons of the past two seasons and have improved the quality of their squads. Heres hoping that my beloved Victory can go back to back in '07/08.


Blogger Hamish said...

You say Queensland has "changed little over the last two years." In it's defence, apart from the fact that it has still changed, is that the reason some things haven't changed is that it has been working very well.

It's easy to note that Queensland started well last year and finished well. You can go on about history or the coaches or whatever, but the thing that stands out for me is that Massimo was out injured in that time, and the slide occurred when he went out.

It's not just Massimo but it's the way he works with Matty. Between them they are a machine that there is clearly no need to change. I've never seen them have a bad game together.

Seo is another stayer who works, though I'm glad he seems to have slowed down on his long shots at goal - impressive and powerful as they are they don't seem to achieve much except keep the goalie forever nervous.

In short, I think Miron built a midfield that worked, and although he would not have made the same choices to begin with, Farina has recognised that. If the strike-power has improved, as it seems to, and Moore lifts the defence, the Roar has made all the changes it requires.

Here's to being optimistic anyway.

25 August 2007 at 07:54  

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