The mayhem is BACK.
Opening week, it only happens once a season and gee it’s good. Everyone is level, no one knows who will be the pace setters in the competition and who will struggle to put points on the board. The anticipation from a long, long offseason is as real as waiting for an apple crumble to cook in the oven.
So, lets get into it!
Western Sydney Wanderers v Adelaide United
A new look Wanderers are strolling into the competition with their sunnies on, hoping to vie with the big boys. Trouble is, they’re up against Adelaide who still have memories of a loss in South Australia that denied them the opportunity to crack the top four last season. Adelaide will be out for blood, and the Wanderers may easily find themselves on the back foot.
The comparison between the side is stark, with many fresh faces at the Wanderers coming up against a familiar Reds, who have all largely played with each other.
Adelaide won’t be looking to rewrite their play book, they’ll likely sit back and be comfortable without the ball until the perfect counter opportunity arrives to strike. For a Wanderers side keen to impress, they’ll be wanting to move the ball around and attack with venom.
Purely because I was left disappointed in the Wanderers preseason match I was snooping on last weekend, I’m going to back Adelaide to edge this one in a tight contest.
Prediction: Western Sydney Wanderers 2 – 3 Adelaide
Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
The Big Blue, this is a match up which rarely disappoints. Both sides will be wearing their emotions on their sleeves and expecting nothing short of a win. The offseason has treated Sydney the kindest, with a majority of their squad returning, along with some strong reinforcements. For Victory, their changes remain with a sense of the unknown. Major coops in defence is balanced against some big losses in the midfield, with massive boots to fill.
A killer high line was Sydney’s undoing last season against Victory, the Melbourne side would be nuts to not implement it again, especially with some faster reinforcements at centre back. While Sydney will want to throw two monkeys off their backs at once. One in being their notoriously slow starters to the competition, the other is to return to winning ways against any Melbourne team.
The players Sydney FC have in their squad, with its consistency provides the advantage over a Victory side who might find it difficult to take off where they were cruising last season. Add in a strong home crowd and Sydney should have this in the bag.
Prediction: Sydney FC 2 – 0 Melbourne Victory
Newcastle Jets v Melbourne City
All eyes at Newcastle have followed the big names who have departed. Wise eyes though will notice some absolutely tidy, clever arrivals, with Australians who have bag loads of experience in the W-League and are primed to really put their mark on the competition. Meanwhile City have made a couple massive signings, including Newcastle local Emily Van Egmond.
The ball is literally in City’s court for this match. There’s little doubt City will intend to hold the lions share of possession, whilst hoping to find the back of the net with more vigour than they could last season. Meanwhile the Jets will be fighting to prove they won’t be the competition’s pushovers this season.
Expect the unexpected, but City have been clear they want a return to the top four. This match has to be a routine victory for them. However funny things happen in Newcastle and with the fresh hope of the season, they could rain on City’s parade.
Prediction: Newcastle Jets 2 – 2 Melbourne City
Canberra United v Perth Glory
Last season Canberra hosted Perth to an absolute match of insanity. It’s not too difficult to expect more of the same. Both squads have had some shake ups, with key players from last season not returning. Sucker punches in the wake of Sam Kerr and Ellie Carpenter will be felt by both, with each team scrambling to find a solution.
Glory will be looking to what happens now. Previously, the long ball game was utilised in the same way cheese is on pasta to create a gloriously executed product. However with different forwards at the helm, will balls into space be the correct option? Meanwhile Canberra relied on pace up front last season. This year, they have picked up forwards who prefer a ball knocked to their feet within shooting distance. The game plan will surely shift with this, and the question of who will become the midfield creator at Canberra will be vital if serving side a front line who won’t solely rely on pace.
Both sides are going to struggle adjust to new scoring ways, the only saving grace being if defences begin to collapse as well. Whilst that’s a possibility, given last season’s madness, maybe the truly mad result would be a dead rubber.
Prediction: Canberra United 0 – 0 Perth Glory