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2007/8 A-League Preview

The 2007/8 Hyundai A-League season kicks off this weekend with Sydney FC taking on the Central Coast Mariners at the Sydney Football Stadium.

There have been a few changes during the off-season and the major ones being the appointment of Branko Culina and Aurelio Vidmar as coaches of Sydney FC and Adelaide United respectively.

From a player perspective, maybe we can look at the departure of David Carney and Fred from Sydney and Melbourne respectively as possibly the major player departures but there has also been an influx of new players which should make the first few rounds very unpredictable.

With the A-League, basically the first aim is to finish in the top four places to go into the finals series and also winning the minor premiership is also very important as it gets a team in the Asian Champions League.

Its very hard at this stage to even try to predict which teams will finish in the top four positions in such a balanced league like the A-League. I think the team that has changed everything is the new Wellington Phoenix which replaced the New Zealand Knights. While the New Zealand Knights teams were sort of easy beats until the very last few matches, their replacement looks like a far much stronger side which should be capable of finishing in the top four places.

Melbourne and Newcastle lost their most influential players in Nicky Carle and Fred. while Newcastle have tried to cover that gap with some south American players notably Argentinian Jorge Drovandi, Melbourne have brought in Carlos Hernandez.

The off-season has also seen 12 Brazilians signed by the A-League teams and the most famous of them all must be Juninho signed by Sydney FC and then there is also Mario Jardel signed by Newcastle.

Queensland Roar have brought in some experience in Craig Moore and Danny Tiatto. That should form a better team than last season with a good chance of getting a finals spot and coach Frank Farina has a full season to play with this time around.

Perth Glory narrowly lost in the pre-season cup final and if they continue their pre-season form then they should make it hard for teams to come away with three points from Western Australia.

Adelaide who won the pre-season cup benefited from their participation in the Asian Champions League and with a new coach at the helm should be just as strong as they have always been. I think this is only team I definitely think will finish in the top four places.

Lawrie McKinna at Central Coast has added Sasho Petrovski and Greg Owens among others to his ranks. These are two players with A-League experience and he has also welcomed back Dean Heffernan from FC Nürnberg. Interestingly, CCM has not signed any South Americans preferring to sign local players instead and I am keen to see how they will do.

To make the season more interesting for me and to keep engaged with the A-League I am going to participate in the A-League tipping competition at TipsChallenge.

Wes, I think the teams to reach the finals at the end of the season will be Jets, Victory, Adelaide and Phoenix.

Despite the fact that Sydney now have Juninho, I still reckon they are a weaker team than last year and therefore will miss the finals this time.

The Roar and the Mariners just lack depth to take them into the finals and as for Perth nothing much has changed there and therefore they should still finish in the bottom four, maybe not last position as such. I will check out Tipschallenge before season start.

Yes James, I also think that there is a very strong possibility for Wellington Phoenix to finish in the top four esp. if Ricky Herbert can make the team play as Knights did in the last few matches last season. I still there are an unknown quantity apart from what we have seen from the pre-season tournament, but you can say that for most of the other teams anywhere.

Who misses out of the top four? Thats where its very interesting to me.

...just like the EPL, so many changes ..should augur well for the game and fans...I think the league should get a knockout competition to replace this thing about minor champions, which is a mockery of the work and consistency that teams aspire to have through out the league season. ...

I don't know what can be done about harmonising this league with the region because at the end of the day we are playing in Asia...a team is declared champions in the first quarter of the year, and they wait for more than six months before they represent their league in Asia and by the time the Asian championships start, the local league will be celebrating new champions......and that long break, doesn't help players to maintain their fitness and focus, ...these players can register and play for two leagues in one season...or play rugby union/footy in the off season, ..

Its interesting you mention the Asian Champions League that takes place at the end of the A-League season. I actually think that the season must be prolonged by making the teams play each other four times and also by allowing international breaks during the season.
That way the season will go up to early May, the grand final that is - and therefore the teams participating in the Asian CL can start playing whilst our own League is still continuing.
I also think that the A-League off-season is far too long stretching from February to August and by playing each other four times maybe coupled by increasing the teams to 10, we would have a longer season.

I don't think Melbourne will do as well as they did last season and I don't even think that they will get to the finals. Their biggest mistake was to let Fred go. They should have made Fred the marquee player and give him more money and let him stay.

Interesting idea Doug, but you never know, maybe he also wanted to be closer to home. Yes, I think he would have been a worthy marquee player.

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