The following are previews with betting tips for Round One of the 2022/23 A-League Mens season.
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Friday, October 07
Melbourne City vs Western United
7:45PM AEDT, AAMI Park
What better way to kick off the 2022/23 A-Leagues Mens campaign then with a rematch of last seasons Grand Final. With the famous and boisterous AAMI Park the home of Melbourne City and also a regularly used venue for the ‘Green & Black’, this Derby encounter will no doubt pack a similar atmosphere to that of their last showpiece event versus one another. Starting with the sidelines you have two former Socceroos guiding the proceedings in the form of City head coach Patrick Kisnorbo and reigning A-Leagues Men’s champion John Aloisi for Western United. These men bleed sky blue and green respectively and will be doing everything possible bar pulling on the boots in order to deliver their side the opening three points of the year.
For the ‘hosts’ they need 24-year-old Tom Glover to stand upright in-between the sticks throughout this matchup, as last season he put in quite the awkward performance as Western United ran riot in what was a decisive 2-0 victory in their favour. The ‘Green & Black’ registered just seven total shots that game, whilst only one of them was on goal. Yet he still crumbled on multiple occasions as Nuno Reis fashioned an own goal just 2-minutes in, whilst rival Striker Aleksander Prijovic also found refuge in the back of the net 30-minutes on. During City’s run to the Grand Final he kept six clean sheets, while he also averaged 2.19 saves per game, so he’s more than capable of holding his own here, it’s just a big question of whether or not he can do so.
As for Prijovic, there was questions raised nearly every day over the off-season about his commitment to Western United and whether or not he wanted to bounce for more illustrious European pastures. Whatever the reason or reasons for staying, the ex-Greek, Polish and Swiss Cup victor now has a massive point to prove in his sides grand pursuit of back-to-back Grand Final wins. He ended last season with 13 goals + six goal assists, whilst becoming the focal point of the ‘Green & Blacks’ attack in the process. And with his side having won four of their past five matches against City, he’ll be extremely confident of starting the new campaign off with a bang in one way or another.
City have found themselves on shaky ground recently, as combined with their Grand Final defeat to Western United, they also found themselves knocked out of this seasons edition of the FFA Cup quite early, courtesy of a shock 2-1 loss versus the Wellington Phoenix. However a side that boasts the likes of Jamie Maclaren, Andrew Nabbout and Matthew Leckie will never be down and out for that long. I expect them to rebound in the strongest possible way in this affair with a well-deserved victory, with revenge perhaps being at the forefront of their minds.
Betting tips: Look for City to prevail at $1.80 (BlueBet)
Also look for both teams to find the back of the net at $1.80 (BlueBet, BoomBet)
Saturday, October 08
Brisbane Roar vs Macarthur FC
5:00PM AEDT, Suncorp Stadium
The Saturday Football kicks off with the Roar’s much fancied return to Suncorp Stadium, as they host the newly crowned FFA Cup champion Bulls, headed up by 96X capped Manchester United legend Dwight Yorke. For Brisbane they too had a pretty successful Cup campaign as they reached the final Four, thanks in no small part to the impact of ex-QPR Striker Charlie Austin. The booming Englishman already has two goals to his name for Warren Moon’s side and will be expected to make an impact almost immediately. However he won’t be doing it alone, as fan-favourite Riku Danzaki returns to the club after a year out in the J2 League (Japan). Similar to Austin, he also found a lot of recent success during the club’s recent Final Four run and given that they finished 11th/12 last season, he’ll need to be adding more to his goal tally at a pretty fast rate as well.
However Macarthur will no doubt make it difficult for Brisbane to have a happy reunion with their home ground, as they too are searching for a better season, after slumping to 7th during the most recent campaign, finishing up two losses outside of the Top Six. Rivalling Austin and Danzaki will be the Bulls own electric attacking combination of Al Hassan Toure and Daniel Arzani. Toure bagged the opening goal of the cup final with a well taken penalty attempt vs Sydney United 58 FC, meanwhile Arzani earned himself a real shot at jumping on the plane to Qatar, with his ball movement skills leaving his opponents in absolute stitches. For the Iranian-born, but Eastern Suburbs raised Arzani, he will be a particular player of note to watch throughout this affair. Since leaving Melbourne City in 2018, he made just 28 appearances across five different clubs due to a wretched run of injuries. Showing consistent fitness and equally as important, form, will give Graham Arnold a real headache when he selects who’ll be competing for Australia at the World Cup. Arazani has absolutely everything in the world to play for here.
As good as Brisbane have been in patches in the leadup to this season, Macarthur look to be the whole package. As mentioned above, they have such a dominant attack, whilst they also have an experienced defence. Ivan Vujica has 64 A-league Mens appearances to his name, while Jake McGing has 116. Tomislav ‘Tomi’ Uskok has locked down 60 matches in Australia’s premier Footballing competition. And Johnathan Aspropotamitis is no longer a young lad, at 26 years old he now has 96 appearances locked down. And Filip Kurto in goals is an A-League All-Star, as well as a player who’s represented clubs all over his home nation of Poland, as well as the Netherlands. The Bulls should be just a class or two above the Roar in this matchup.
Betting tips: Pick the Bulls to lock in their horns and win at $2.76 (BoomBet)
Also back both teams to score at least once each at $1.64 (BoomBet)
Central Coast Mariners vs Newcastle Jets
5:00PM AEDT, Central Coast Stadium
The F3 Derby returns in what is an opening weekend of scintillatingly awesome A-League Mens stories. And this particular story tells the tale of two underdogs who are constantly backing up their bark with performances versus the top guns. The Mariners continued to defy all the odds thrown against them last season, as despite operating on a shoestring like budget, they finished ahead of the likes of Macarthur and Sydney as they found a place inside the Top Six. And that story has only gone and gotten more and more exciting with the return of prodigal son Danny Vukovic ahead of the new season. From 2005-10 he played 104 games for the Gosford-based side, winning two Mariners Medals, an A-League Championship and an A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup. And fresh off playing Champions League Football for KRC Genk he’ll be ready to rock and roll for Nick Montgomery’s battle hardened Men.
Throwing down the gauntlet to Vukovic however will be his former Sydney FC teammate and somebody who he shared a considerable amount of success with in the form of Brandon O’Neil. Similar to ‘Vuka’, O’Neil is searching for a fresh start at a new club and the newly rejuvenated Jets are just the club for him to do that and to continue his Footballing journey with. O’Neil’s 2021/22 campaign was curtailed by issues beyond belief and so as a result he played in just 10 games. Yet the crafty Midfielder still managed to bag one goal, 11 shot assists, whilst also completing 84% of all his attempted passes (406 in total). The balls that he lays onto the likes of Beka Mikeltadze (13 goals last season) and Jaushua Sotirio (six goals + three assists last campaign), will no doubt challenge ‘Vuka’ in more ways than one.
These Derbies always present heated, tough and skilfully brilliant encounters. Both sides look vastly different to that of last season, but will still have the same fighting spirit as always. Their last meeting took place in Gosford and despite the Central Coast edging the game 2-0, the Jets still fired away 17 shots, seven of which were on target. There was also a combined 26 fouls given away from either side, as they weren’t afraid to go in heavy footed for the challenge. And only adding to the excitement surrounding this clash is that this represents one of Garang Kuol’s last ever games in a Mariners outfit before he heads off to Newcastle United in the English Premier League in January. Anything can happen in these affairs and that’s what makes them so, so watchable and thrilling.
Betting tips: Back the Mariners to edge out what should be a tough encounter at $2.10 (BlueBet)
And look for H2 to be the highest scoring half at $2.01 (BoomBet)
Sydney FC vs Melbourne Victory
7:45PM AEDT, Allianz Stadium
After a three-year hiatus from Allianz Stadium Sydney FC will finally return to their spiritual home ground against their Big Blue rivals in the form of the Melbourne Victory. It’s a game that matters so much to both sets of fans, as well as being a match that rarely disappoints. And with both sides being no strangers to a bit of adversity, as well as being hated by the majority of other clubs fans, the two most successful A-League franchises will look to smoke each other once again in what promises to be a simply massive encounter of Football.
On one side you have the hosts in the form of Sydney FC who are attempting to rebound from what can only be described as a disastrous previous campaign. Head coach and club legend Steve Corica found himself on the hot seat for the majority of their season. A season which culminated in a pathetic display of Footballing acumen at Kogarah, in a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Melbourne. It was a game which summed up the ‘Sky Blues’ year and a match in which not even a delightful curling goal from Adam Le Fondre in the 16th-minute could salvage. And on the flip side you have a dominant, dominant, dominant Victory team coached by ex-Sydney FC player Tony Popovic. They shot 17 attempts to Sydney’s meek six in this encounter, as they ran and played them off the park. Now with the merciless Nani in tow, a 4X Premier league winner + a 1X Champions League winner with Manchester United, Melbourne will not only thoroughly expect to go far this season, but they’ll also expect to beat Sydney relatively comfortably at Moore Park as well.
The prospect of Nani potentially tormenting the ‘Sky Blues’ defence will understandably excite the travelling contingent of Victory supporters. However for Sydney, they have Jack Rodwell and Alex Parsons to look out for, as they were unable to make their debuts during the FFA Cup after being cup tied to the Wanderers and Roar respectively. Former Manchester City and Everton flyer Rodwell came to Sydney to win trophies and should prove to be a bit of a wildcard out the back for the ‘Sky Blues’. Normally an Attacker, but also an experienced Defender, the converted former England international will look to provide electric offensive sparks from within the ‘Sky Blues’ back four, While Parsons pace off the bench might look to tire down a potentially weary Victory side. Regardless of what happens, the A-League Mens competition is well and truly back with this game.
Betting tips: Back the ‘Sky Blues’ to victory at $2.40 (BoomBet, BlueBet)
However, look for the Victory to produce the games last goal at $2.07 (BoomBet)
Sunday, October 09
Wellington Phoenix vs Adelaide United
1:00PM AEDT, Westpac Stadium
The history between these two sides shows that there’s just never a dull moment between them with six of their last ten encounters having produced three + goals on each of those occasions. And even though their last game finished 1-1 at Sky Stadium, it was one hell of a match. Gael Sandoval opened the scoring for the ‘Nix’ 20-minutes in via a typically classy David Ball assist. Then in the 90+2nd minute of added time Bernardo Oliveira came to the rescue to snatch a point at the death for the ‘Reds’. Meanwhile their last encounter prior to that was a five-star performance from Adelaide, as Craig Goodwin lit up Coopers Stadium with two decisive strikes, in what was a 4-0 win for the hosts. The ‘Reds’ shot 11/23 on target throughout the game, as they constantly found ways to penetrate the Phoenix’s defence. But opening their season at home is something that Wellington haven’t done in a long, long time thanks to COVID, so you’d pick them to be up for this game.
Bozhidar Kraev might not be a name that many people know of, or one that rolls easily off the tongue, however the 24X capped Bulgarian international is one of a host of new faces who have arrived in New Zealand over the off-season, hoping to deliver the Phoenix a maiden A-League Mens Championship. And having represented FC Midtjylland 38X he knows what it takes to crack it in a tough competition, with the A-League having some similarities to the Danish Superliga in terms of both toughness and ability. The 25 year old is a cracking signing for Ufuk Talay’s side and against a young Adelaide team, there’s no reason he can’t make his mark straight away. Surrounded by international Kiwi attackers such as Ben Waine and Kosta Barbarouses, Kraev should be presented with some great chances in this game and if he can put one away, Wellington may well leave with an opening match victory.
Betting tips: Playing at home in New Zealand, look for a Phoenix victory at $2.50 (BlueBet)
Also look for both teams to find refuge in the back of the net at $1.64 (BoomBet)
Western Sydney Wanderers vs Perth Glory
3:00PM AEDT, CommBank Stadium
This is Milos Ninkovic’s first game in a Western Sydney uniform since his far from acrimonious departure from the east side of Sydney not that long ago. ‘Sky Blue’ fans despise him, while Western Sydney fans now chant his name as loudly as anyone else’s. Footage recently emerged of him at a Wanderers organised event day chanting “f*ck east Sydney’ alongside their screaming supporters, so from the trivial perspective of despising Sydney FC, he’s gotten on with everybody like a house on fire with the club. And while Perth have dramatically improved over the off-season, the Wanderers, at least on paper, look to be so much more stronger than them. At home and on a Sunday afternoon, this H2H presents the 3X A-League Mens Championship and 3X Premiership winning Midfielder to get off on the perfect foot for his new employers, both in the literal and mental sense of the term.
While for the Glory they are on a truly shocking run at the moment, having tasted success in just two of their last twenty one combined A-League Mens appearances/FFA Cup games. However, one very encouraging statistic for them is that out of their last three matches versus the Wanderers, they’ve won once, drawn once and lost once. With their commanding 5-1 win coming just last year, a game in which Andy Keogh scored four blissful strikes. Now in charge of the Glory’s recruitment, Keogh has done reasonably well in his first off-season in the job, bringing in players such as Matthew Hatch, Luke Ivanovic and Pacifique Niyongabire. All young lads who can help towards changing both the results and the culture, both now and in the future at the Glory. Expect the Wanderers to claim all three points in this clash, but for the Glory to also make life extremely difficult for them.
Betting tips: Pick a Wanderers victory to occur at $1.66 (BlueBet)
Also pick H1 to see over 0.5 goals scored at $1.35 (BoomBet)
Best bets of the round – Western Sydney Wanderers vs Perth Glory
Pick a Wanderers victory to occur at $1.66 (BlueBet)
Also pick H1 to see over 0.5 goals scored at $1.35 (BoomBet)