A-League Preview: Wellington Phoenix

Wellington Phoenix did not kick of their new A-League campaign as they were hoping for, as they lost 1-0 to Melbourne City at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.

However, that should not dampen the spirits of what they are aiming to achieve this season.

Here is my preview of the Wellington Phoenix.

Wellington Phoenix  has one goal this season and that is to play finals football after finishing a sour ninth in the 2015-16 season.

One thing that the Phoenix need to do this season(well in round two) is to make Westpac Stadium(or the Cake Tin as its called by the locals) a fortress to be reckoned with. If they want to move up the ladder they need to make their home ground a fortress before they can win games away from home.

The Phoenix also need to work on there defence. In the off season,they had a major blow to their finals chances by losing Manny Muscat to Melbourne City and former stalwart Ben Sigmund who decided to hang up his A-League boots at the end of last season. Without Muscat and Sigmund their defence is looking fragile.

However, an area that could spark them to finals contention is there attacking threat. They have signed Gui Finkler and Kosta Barbarouses both from Melbourne Victory, which could cause some much needed flair to the Phoenix. Finkler has proved he is a magician with free kicks during his time at  Victory and will fit perfectly not only into the Phoenix line up, but the conditions in Wellington will do Finkler wonders. Barbarouses is a major coup up front, and if he partners up well with Roy Krishna they could well prove vital in front of goal.

For the Phoenix, season 2016-17 is all about improvement and if they don’t have too many injuries in the season there is no reason why they cannot move up the ladder. They have the attacking threat to cause some serious concerns for their rivals. However there defence will still be a talking point that needs addressing.

Prediction: 7th (although I wouldn’t be surprised if they finished higher).

 

 

 

A-League preview: Melbourne City

 

Melbourne City will be not only looking  for a finals place but also to win it all such as the FFA Cup, Premiers Plate and the grand final.

City made grounds last season primarily with their potent attack and were the best A-League attacking side in the competition which, saw them score 63 goals. Last season City was known to score goals from Bruno Fornaroli who patterned up with the assist king Aaron Mooy. City had one of the deadly trios in the league with Mooy, Fornaroli and Harry Novillo however, Mooy and Novillo are no longer there.

It meant Melbourne City had to go shopping in order to find a replacement for Mooy and Novillo .There off season signings may have just about filled that hole, with City signing Luke Brattan, Bruce Kamau and Fernando Brendon. There is one particular signing that is guaranteed to get everyone talking and more importantly to get bums on seats and that is the illustrious signing of Tim Cahill on the guest marquee rule.

City all of a sudden look a stronger team particular in the midfield and  up front. Signing the utility that is Nicolas Colazo should be seen as a  major  coup  not only for City but for the league as well as he can play at left back and also on the wing  improving City’s chances of winning the league.

However, their defence was the major talking point in last seasons quest with City leaking 44 goals. City knew they would have to address this so they signed the utility that is Colazo who can play in the area that City has lacked that is left back and they have also signed Michael Jakobsen from the Danish league and all of a sudden City’s defence looks solid.

Ivan Franjic  missed most of last season through injury which was part of City’s leaky defence. With Franjic returning from injury and joining the first team squad City look to have now have a decent defence and that would take the pressure of goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.

The City Football Group(CFG) and Melbourne City were not afraid to spend big which was much needed ahead of this seasons campaign. City look more powerful up front and seem to have a decent job of replacing Mooy and Novillo. Their defence also looks in better shape than in previous years.

This season is all about exception for City and if they do not win at least one trophy this year it could be seen as a major disappointment.

Prediction: 1st.

 

A-League Preview: Melbourne Victory

It’s October and that means its football season(hooray!). The long wait is over and the A-League is back, which  could be geared up as the best season to date. For the purpose of the A-League I will be conducting a season preview of both Melbourne teams.

Here is my season preview of Melbourne Victory.

After finishing a dissapointing sixth last season Melbourne Victory will be looking to make amends and charge towards the top half of the table in their new campaign.

The Victory kicks off the new  A-League campaign with an away match against Brisbane Roar on Friday night.

The big V has had a busy off season by  playing in the International Champions Cup against  Juventus and then  a friendly against Atletico Madrid, in which they managed to find a win.

They have arguably had more game time than anyone else in the off season and could be a smart move towards the new season.

However, as far transfers go it could dampen Victory’s chances of winning the league.

They said goodbye to two of their most influential players that are, Gui Finkler and Kosta Barbarouses who have both moved to Wellington Phoenix. One area that could hurt Victory in particular is in their  defence, as Mathieu Delpierre  has retired leaving a huge hole in the back part of the pitch. Another absentee is former stalwart Archie Thompson who has parted ways with the club leaving questions about a back up option for Besart Berisha.

However,  Victory always manages to find a way to strengthen their squad and they have done just that by singing the talented  fan favourites   Marco Rojas and James Troisi who will strengthen their attacking options. They have also filled the void that Delpierre has left by capturing the services of Spanish defender Alan Baro.

There is still a huge hole left in the Victory squad though, as they rely too much of Besart Berisha and have not yet found a sustainable back up option for when he does miss games. They also lack a good back up option for goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas.

One thing that Victory are good at though  is producing youth and they have a bunch of it this season. Expect to see more  young guns as Jai Ingham, Nick Ansell, Scott Galloway  will be looking to get more game time.

Having Carl Valeri back in the line up after illness raptured his 2015/16 campaign is a major boost for the team and could provide the missing link.

Melbourne Victory has a good mix of youth and experience in their squad and with a club like Victory success is everything.

Prediction: 4th