Expert Weekly A-League Predictions

For the upcoming A-League season, Daniel Garb will be providing his expert Premier League previews across every match week on the Betfair Hub.

‘Garby’ has worked and been involved in world football for over a decade, being pitchside for some of the biggest games in the Premier League, the Champions League and the World Cup. His analysis and knowledge of football is almost unrivalled and his insights will be available all season long.

You can follow him on Twitter here.

Go where the value is on the A-League and head to the Betfair Exchange.

Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar

It’ll be 18 days since the Roar have played after their hugely impressive win over the Victory. The Jets have looked plucky despite their three losses to start the campaign but backing up four days after their defeat to Macarthur and having wasted so many chances in that game, they might be a bit down mentally and physically. Brisbane to win away from home.

BACK — Roar at $2.82

Perth Glory v Adelaide United

The Glory. Remember them? They still exist. And they play their first game of the season against Adelaide on Wednesday night. They’ll be absolutely chomping to get out there but the Reds will be desperate to hit the field again as well after their vibrant win in their last game against Melbourne City.

The Glory still has a quality attack but their defence is a big unknown while Adelaide has looked dynamic in the early stages of this season. With all that in mind, the draw seems a good chance here.

BACK — Draw at $3.60

Central Coast Mariners v Western Sydney Wanderers

It’s been sixteen days since the two wins from two Mariners have taken to the field so they’ll be primed for this one against a Wanderers side backing up from the Sydney Derby just four days ago.

Central Coast is at home and has looked so well organised and unified to start the season but Western Sydney has some quality as well and showed some very good signs to earn a point against the champions Sydney. I like the Mariners double chance or the draw here.

BACK — Draw at $3.75

BACK — Mariners Double Chance at $1.76

Newcastle v WSW

The perfect Friday night clash. A true grudge game now after Carl Robinson walked out on the Jets after just six months to coach the Wanderers and then took Bernie Ibini with him. The Jets crisis only worsened this week with confirmation their license had been taken over by the league.

At home, they’ll be out to show some fight but purely and simply WSW have far too much class and can’t afford to start the season winless from two especially a game like this. All things considered, they take the three points here at a good price.

BACK — WSW at $2.80

Macarthur v Wellington

A huge shock for the new boys losing at home to Central Coast last week and after Ante Milicic lambasted their first-half performance, expect them to come out breathing fire early in this one.

The Phoenix won’t be easy to beat, they’re a talented side who play with passion but at home, I like the Bulls to make amends for last week and record their second win of the season.

BACK — Macarthur HT/FT at $3.80

Macarthur FC v Central Coast Mariners

The A-League new boys are looming as a serious title contender in their first season after a superb debut showing in their win over the Wanderers. Central Coast enjoyed a New Years eve victory over Newcastle but the Jets are a club in crisis. Macarthur will have far too much quality and should be up and about following a victory and their first ever game at home. Macarthur to win – they’re way overs at the price.

BACK — Macarthur at $1.65

Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar

Our first look at a revamped Melbourne Victory will be interesting. They’ve overhauled their squad and look set for a big campaign after a disastrous one last season. Brisbane were solid in their 1-0 loss to Melbourne City but now have to back-up four days later. The Victory’s freshness and extra star quality, in particular at home should be too much for them here. They’re a good price to win, snap it up.

BACK — Victory at $2.34

Brisbane Roar v Melbourne City

It’s pretty hard to get a read on Brisbane and while that’s the case it’s probably best to steer clear of them, betting wise. But in this instance, they’re up against a very settled outfit in Melbourne City who are coming off that Grand Final appearance with a very settled squad.

Jamie Maclaren is far and away the best finisher in the league and he loves a trip to Brisbane where he dominated for several years. Melbourne City to win this, just too much class and belief.

BACK — City at $2.16

Western Sydney v Macarthur FC

Not the season opener anymore but still the pick of the round one bunch. Another Derby and it’s the off-season movers and shakers in the Wanderers against the new boys in Macarthur – known as The Bulls. They’ve compiled a really strong squad but this is a massive test – their first game against their new rivals who have pillaged the competition for a raft of players and a super impressive manager in Carl Robinson.

I think Macarthur will have a strong season but this might be too big of an ask for them in their opening game. There’s decent value for Western Sydney to win and I like Simon Cox to score.

BACK — WSW at $2.36

BACK — Simon Cox to score

The Movers

Haven’t Western Sydney Wanderers shown some fight in the off-season? A bit of Tony Popovic era arrogance that’s been sorely missing for several years. Poaching players on the eve of the season, poaching a manager from another club.

They’re the Atletico Madrid of the A-League. We’ll do it our way and we don’t care what anyone says. For a few seasons, they lost their way but they seem to have it back now. They’ve recruited strongly through Graham Dorrans, James Troisi and Bernie Ibini and Carl Robinson has proven he’s a quality manager. Now they have to deliver on the park. I’m tipping they do.

The Melbourne Victory are the other big club that needed a drastic overhaul and they’ve done so. New boss Grant Brebner is in the most pressurising post in the competition but in former Aston Villa striker Rudy Gestede, former Wigan winger Callum McManaman, former Stoke defender Ryan Shotton and Jacon Butterfield he’s brought in some quality. They’ve flexed their financial muscle while others couldn’t during COVID times and that should lead to a change in fortunes. They’ll be right back up there.

Macarthur Bulls are the new boys in the comp and there’s good reason to be excited about them. Firstly, we have 12 teams so no byes, you beauty. But they’ve compiled a pretty strong squad led by former Socceroos captain in Mark Milligan there’s former Premier League keeper Adam Federici, former Blackburn striker Matt Derbyshire and the likes of Socceroos Ivan Franjic, Tommy Oar and James Meredith. Ante Milicic has fantastic experience as a manager and now he gets to run his own club week in, week out. They’re a huge finals chance at the first time of asking.

Holding their ground

The champions Sydney FC will be right up their again. There’s too much quality, experience and runs on the board in that squad for them not to be. But the loss of Adam Le Fondre up forward is a significant one and a void that’s yet to be replaced. On output, he’s as good an import as the competition has seen. His departure might prove the difference between a three-peat or not.

Finally, Melbourne City went from pretenders to contenders last season and made the Grand Final but they’ve lost the man that made that happen in Erick Mombaerts and have the unproven Patrick Kisnorbo replacing him. That’s the only question mark for a settled squad with the best finisher in the league in Jamie Maclaren leading the line. Andrew Nabbout is a fine acquisition to support him so expect City to be up there challenging once more.

It looked like being a huge challenge for Adelaide United to be around the finals places again after losing Riley McGree, James Troisi and Paul Izzo. And they still might battle for that but the signing of Tomi Juric has lifted spirits. The talented striker can relaunch his career and get back in the Socceroos fold with a big season and there’s enough of a positive vibe and young talent in the squad to be around the six. I think they just miss but won’t be far off.

I’m getting some Kenny Lowe era vibes from Perth Glory this season. And that’s not a knock on them. Kenny made two FFA Cup Finals and won finals games but there was always two big of a gap between their best and worst. With Fornaroli, Castro and Ikonomidis now back their attacking football can match the best but will the defensive side of their game be at a high enough level after Tony Popovic’s departure? That’s the test for new boss Richard Garcia. Around the finals mark for mine.

What a story the Wellington Phoenix were last season. Predicted wooden spooners to third placed finishers. The football they play is so attractive and they have enough of those contributors still at the club but the losses of left back sensation Libby Cacace, Steven Taylor and Gary Hooper are significant. Israeli striker Tomer Hemed needs to fire. If he does they can make finals again. The other big factor is permanent hub life in NSW – that can go either way for them.

The next best story last after the Phoenix was Western United. Finalists in their first season and playing some brilliant football to go with it. Alessandro Diamanti and Max Burgess were the most watchable duo in the league last season and they’re back together again while Spaniard Victor Sanchez will provide some steel in the middle of the park. The only knock on them is their ground situation with AAMI Park now being used as well. How do they gain local support with that approach? That’s a worry but on-field they’ll remain strong.

The Sliders

The Newcastle Jets are a club in crisis. No owner, no coach, players leaving and others wanting out. It’s not going to be an enjoyable season for them but there’s still enough of a core to make them hard to beat. Boogaard, Topor-Stanley, O’Donovan, Kantarovski, Ugarkovic (even though he wants to leave) know each other’s games so well. They’ll lose more than they win but perhaps not in landslides.

It’s hard to get a read on the Brisbane Roar. They finished fourth last season and their departures haven’t been significant (although Brad Inman scored some crucial goals) but they just don’t seem to have enough depth to be up there again. With the likes of Victory, Wanderers and Macarthur expected to challenge this season I reckon they get squeezed out. A big challenge for new permanent boss Warren Moon.

Same again for the Central Coast Mariners you feel. Another season down the bottom, another season becoming less relevant. It’s a shame. The signing of Costa Rican great Marco Urena may help matters but it’s hard to see anything but another season in the bottom three. Hope I’m wrong and that Alen Stajic can do a masterful job and get them up around the top six.

Final Ladder

  1. WSW
  2. Melbourne Victory
  3. Sydney FC
  4. Melbourne City
  5. Macarthur
  6. Western United
  7. Wellington Phoenix
  8. Perth Glory
  9. Adelaide United
  10. Brisbane Roar
  11. Newcastle Jets
  12. Central Coast Mariners

BACK – WSW to win the A-League at $17

BACK – Jamie Maclaren (Melbourne City) to win the Golden Boot

BACK – Rudy Gestede (Melbourne Victory) to win the Jonny Warren Medal

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