Expert Weekly A-League Predictions

For the upcoming A-League season, Daniel Garb will be providing his expert A-League predictions 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.

Melbourne City v Sydney FC

A sequel to the season before with Melbourne City aiming to avenge their 1-0 defeat in extra-time and Sydney FC on a quest for a third straight A-League championship. The two best teams over the course of the season going at it again and both off solid semi-final performances despite their Socceroos absentees.

That is still the narrative here – how can City win without Maclaren, Metcalfe, and Good? Will Noone and Nabbout be fit enough after missing the semi-final to contribute? How can Sydney hold out away from home without Redmayne, Grant, and McGowan?

All fascinating talking points. It’s the Noone and Nabbout question marks that are telling. If both were fit I’d be leaning towards City but it’s unclear what level they’ll be at and it’s a big ask for the kids to stand up again in a game of this magnitude. I like Sydney to hold out defensively and then have too much class and experience in attack through Brattan, Barbarouses, Ninkovic, Le Fondre, and Bobo.

Sydney to win the title. Luke Brattan is my Joe Marston Medal tip.

BACK — Sydney to lift the Trophy at $2.02

Melbourne City v Macarthur FC

Now we get to see what Melbourne City can do without 25-goal Jamie Maclaren, Connor Metcalfe, and Curtis Good plus the moving of their home final to Sydney. It’s a horrible bit of luck for the club.

They’ve still got plenty of quality and confidence after a stellar campaign to prevail but they’ll come up against a Macarthur side who will feel really strong after holding out against Central Coast last week and will back their experience and defensive shape to get them through again.

With that in mind, I’m tipping a draw here after 90 minutes – after that, it’s anyone’s guess! But the draw in normal time is a value play.

BACK — Draw at $4.30

Sydney FC v Adelaide United

The big test here for Sydney will be keeping their defence in order without their Socceroos contingent in Redmayne, Grant and McGowan. They’ve had enough time to work on the training pitch to adjust however and with a formidable midfield and attack, they should be able to prevail if they can just keep things together at the back.

Tomi Juric is the key for Adelaide here, if they can keep Sydney at bay he looks good for a goal on form but I’m not sure the Adelaide defence will hold out away from home and they’ll miss Craig Goodwin enormously.

BACK — Sydney at $1.70

BACK — Adam Le Fondre to score at $1.95

Central Coast v Macarthur

What an occasion for the Mariners. Their first final in seven years and a home one to boot. A final in their first season for Macarthur is impressive as well but that was always expected with the squad they compiled.

The energy from the home crowd will be a massive factor, Matt Simon will be buzzing about the place early and the Mariners should have Macarthur on the back foot early. I think they’ll take advantage of that.

Central Coast to win through a bumper final with Sydney. The half/full time option is also a decent one.

BACK — Central Coast at $2.08

Brisbane v Adelaide (Preview Updated)

I’ll be completely transparent. This is a changed tip from a couple of days ago and it comes off the back of the Craig Goodwin injury news.

In such an even game this is game-changing news. Goodwin is the kind of big game player that can unlock things in a tight final and now away from home up against an in-form Brisbane side with a parochial home crowd I’m leaning towards the Roar.

I worry about Adelaide’s creativity without him and I’m backing Brisbane to have the edge, even if it is in extra-time or penalties. Brisbane to qualify for the semi-finals.

BACK — Brisbane to Qualify at $1.70

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

Current Results

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Total Units Returned: 71.06

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