A-League Round 1 Preview: Sydney FC And Melbourne Victory Renew Rivalry In Grand Final Rematch

The new A-League season gets underway with some enticing match-ups including the F3 Derby and a grand final rematch between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory in the Big Blue.

Meanwhile, Melbourne City and a new look Brisbane Roar get the round underway in Melbourne. 

Melbourne City v Brisbane | Friday, October 6, 7.50pm (AEDT), AAMI Park

Both sides open the new campaign missing a lot of firepower from last season.

Melbourne City are without prolific striker Bruno Fornaroli who is out injured until December while Brisbane are missing off-season departures Thomas Broich and Jamie Maclaren.

The Roar will look to former Italian striker Massimo Maccarone, 38, to fill the void left by the Roar pair.   

City have bolstered their defence signing A-League journeyman Scott Jamieson (pictured above), at his fifth A-League club after previous stints at Adelaide, Sydney FC, Perth and Western Sydney.

The Verdict 

Hard to ignore the bevy of scoring power missing from both teams and City will also be without Tim Cahill on Socceroos duty.

City though, should be strong enough to get the points at home. 

Unibet Odds: Melbourne City 2.08 Draw 3.70 Brisbane 3.45

Tip: Melbourne City

Central Coast v Newcastle | Saturday, October 7, 5.35pm (AEDT), Central Coast Stadium

The F3 Derby is always a fiercely contested encounter and you wouldn’t expect anything less for the A-League’s longest running derby.

Central Coast have a renewed optimism about the new campaign after Paul Okon overhauled the roster and made a raft of changes.

Much of the Mariners’ hopes rest on new striker Asdrubal Padron, a former La Liga striker who will shoulder the burden of producing the bulk of the Mariners’ goals.  

Jets captain Nigel Boogaard (pictured above) has vowed the Jets will go down swinging this year after promising the side will execute an aggressive style of football this season.

The Verdict 

F3 Derbies are traditionally cagey and this one won't be any different.

The Jets’ positive declaration will appease long suffering Jets fans but the Mariners will be equally keen to get a result.

Unibet Odds: Central Coast 2.48 Draw 3.55 Newcastle 2.80

Tip: Draw

Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC | Saturday, October 7, 7.50pm (AEDT), Etihad Stadium

If the F3 Debry is the longest standing derby in the A-League, the Big Blue is without question the league’s biggest rivalry.

The Big Blue pits two of league’s heavyweights from the two largest cities in the country against each other.

This year’s match has added spice with the Victory entertaining the reigning A-League champions in a rematch of last year’s Grand Final.

Victory has lost some key personnel from last year headed by star playmaker Marco Rojas but regain Kosta Barbarouses (pictured below) who returns to Melbourne from Wellington.

Enigmatic striker Besart Berisha, who has netted 54 goals in 82 appearances, will again be pivotal up forward.

The record-breaking Sky Blues will again be hard to beat and the addition of Socceroos star Luke Wilshire adds class to their defence.

Sydney’s key losses include star keeper Danny Vukovic, Bernie Ibini and Filip Holosko

The Verdict 

Victory have revenge on their mind but the international break has come at the wrong time with Victory missing Mark Milligan, Barbarouses and James Troisi on international duty.

If Andrew Redmayne can fill the big boots left by departing gloveman Vukovic, the reigning champions can chalk up another win on their Big Blue rivals. 

Unibet Odds: Melbourne Victory 2.90 Draw 3.55 Sydney FC 2.40

Tip: Sydney FC

Wellington v Adelaide United | Sunday, October 8, 3pm (AEDT), Westpac Stadium

Two teams who finished in the bottom half of the competition have a prime opportunity to get the new campaign off to a bright start when they clash in Wellington.

Both however, will be missing key personnel with the Phoenix without a trio of All Whites in Michael McGlinchey, Thomas Doyle and Andrew Durante and the visiting Reds without the suspended Vince Lia and injured defender Tarek Elrich

The Verdict

Daunting road trip for the Reds, who finished just one point ahead of the last placed Newcastle Jets last season.

Despite missing their international contingent, the Phoenix will rise to the occasion in their first home game of the season. 

Unibet Odds: Wellington 2.50 Draw 3.55 Adelaide United 2.80

Tip: Wellington

Western Sydney v Perth | Sunday, October 8, 6pm (AEST), Spotless Stadium

There’ll be a strong Spanish flavour in this clash with two former Spanish LA Liga stars set to tango when the Wanderers host the Glory.

Former Osasuna and Betis winger Alvaro Cejudo (pictured above) makes his A-League debut for the Wanderers while LA Liga veteran Xavi Torres debuts for the Glory. 

The Wanderers are still reeling from the shock departure of long-time coach Tony Popovic, who with just a week before the start of the season, announced his resignation to take up a coaching job in Turkey.

It’s a distraction the Wanderers could have done without but the red and black can look forward to seeing Cejudo playing in the A-League for the first time.

The Verdict 

Hard to know who Popovic’s sudden departure will affect the players. 

One way or another, a change of coaches isn’t the ideal preparation just days before kick-off. 

Smooth sailing on the other hand for the Glory who have their big guns in Andy Keogh (pictured above) and Diego Castro ready and raring to go. 

Glory in an upset. 

Unibet Odds: Western Sydney 1.95 Draw 3.65 Perth 3.90

Tip: Perth 

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