Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC

Saturday October 7, 7:50pm AEST

Match Overview

Clearly the two best teams and Grand Final combatants go head to head in the blockbuster match for round one.

Melbourne Victory have had a high turnover of players, as is the way with the A-League in general. Marco Rojas, Fahid Ben Khalfallah the headline departures with Alan Baro and Daniel Georgievski amongst others.

Rojas supplied 34% of their assists as well as 12 goals. The headline recruit is Mark Milligan, joined by Rhys Williams, Kosta Babarouses and a couple of visa signings. Milligan, Barbarouses and James Troisi will miss this match through international duty.

Sydney FC have on the other hand been rather quiet losing just two starters in Filip Holosko and Danny Vukovic. Polish winger Adrian Mierzejewski has been signed to replace Holosko and already this looks a very good buy. The loss of Vukovic can’t be underestimated as he was certainly the glue that held everything together last season. Rhyan Grant will miss the season through injury and should be ably replaced by ex-Socceroo Luke Wilkshire.

Verdict

Victory relied on their incredible conversion rate last season and have lost their most creative talent. Besart Berisha finished with 21 goals but had his poor moments so they will be concerned.

Sydney are as stable as they come and look forward to an FFA Cup semi-final v South Melbourne on Wednesday. Sydney’s stability will overcome any early Victory rustiness.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Sydney to win at 2.25+ for 2 units (Max bet 3 units)

Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets

Saturday October 7, 5:35pm AEST

Match Overview

Central Coast Mariners lost striker Roy O’Donovan to local rivals and first round opponents Newcastle which will add some extra spice to the match. Other than that I think they have done well in the transfer market. Dutch pair Wout Brama and Tom Hiariej look astute signings and Daniel De Silva will be a revelation playing for Paul Okon.

They will need to find a goal scorer and have signed a young but unproven Spaniard Asdrubal to fill the void.

Perhaps the biggest signing for the Jets was that of coach Ernie Merrick but on the field they have also shown plenty of intent adding a Marquee player highly regarded Ecuadorian striker Ronald Vargas. They will be hoping to be the big improvers. Daniel Georgevski and Nikoai Topor-Stanley solidify their porous defence.

Both teams look as if they will be far harder to beat this season which augurs well for the entire league.

Verdict

“F3 Derbies” are generally tight affairs with 29 of the 41 and eight of the last nine encounters resulting in under 2.5 goals. They will both be improved and may take some time to get going but I do like the look of the Mariners this season.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 2.5 goals for 2 units

 LAY- Newcastle at 3.0 or less for a risk of 2 units


A-League 2017/18 Futures Market - Grand Final Winner

Looking ahead to next May as we try to find a Grand Final winner, at this early stage it’s hard to go against Sydney FC claiming back-to-back titles. The Sky Blues have kept the core of their all-conquering Championship side from last year while bringing in experienced Australian full-back Luke Wilkshire and Polish international Adrian Mierzejewski, the latter impressing during the off season. The big question mark sits in the Goalkeeper position thanks to the departure of Danny Vukovic, but with the strongest defence in the league that shouldn’t be an issue. An unkind Asian Champions League Group Stage draw looks to be the only thing standing in the way of another Sky Blue title.

After a horror title defence in 2016/17 where they narrowly avoided the wooden spoon, Adelaide United look well placed to bounce back for another chase at the title. New coach Marco Kruz has recruited wisely in the off season, bringing in some well-credentialed internationals. An improved showing in the Asian Champions League at the back-end of last season as well as making it to the Semi Final stage of the FFA Cup show United are on the right track for a shot at the title. The loss of captain Eugene Galekovic between the sticks is a huge blow but with an improved squad and no ACL distraction leading into the finals, Adelaide look the value bet to lift the trophy this season.


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