The storylines heading into this new season are aplenty.

A busy off-season has created several exciting sub-plots to keep an eye on as the A-League rolls around once again.

Here is what to look out for in Week One.

 Adelaide United vs Sydney FC

Champions vs Champions.

The FFA Cup winners – and 2019 finalists – meet the A-League champions in a blockbuster fixture to open the season.

Adelaide United’s impressive pre-season form will be put to the test when they meet a star-studded Sydney FC side, which should feature plenty of new faces.

It will be Gertjan Verbeek’s first official match in charge of the Reds, with fans also getting their first glimpse at new Norwegian striker Kristian Opseth.

Keeping Sydney FC out will be Adelaide’s toughest task as Kosta Barbarouses and Alex Baumjohann join Adam Le Fondre, making up one of the league’s deadliest front thirds.

This will nonetheless be a significant challenge for the Reds, considering former captain and fan-favourite Isaias is no longer with the club.

Albeit, one should not count the Reds out – especially at home – with a vocal crowd expected as two of the best teams from last go head-to-head.

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Western Sydney Wanderers vs Central Coast Mariners

Will the Mariners spoil the Wanderers’ homecoming?

This has been a long time coming.

After enduring several seasons in stadiums hardly suited for football, the Wanderers return home alongside their hostile and passionate supporter base – who have set big expectations.

Since leaving Parramatta, Western Sydney can best be described as being in auto-pilot – failing to have the same on-field impact as season’s gone by.

Markus Babbel has been the first to point out the faults in his side’s mentality last season but is adamant to leave those demons behind as the Wanderers hope to become a powerhouse once again.

Their opposition, the Central Coast Mariners, have experienced a transformation of their own this past pre-season.

Former Matildas boss Alen Stajcic was appointed the new head coach, signing a three-year deal with the club.

There is plenty to like about the Mariners – especially after their promising FFA Cup campaign which saw them reach the semi-finals. Despite having been through several re-builds, this one appears to be in stable hands with Stajcic bringing in a mix of youth and experience over the pre-season.

Whether this new-look Mariners outfit can have an immediate impact and shun the Wanderers in their return remains to be seem. Despite it only being Round 1, one would expect the Wanderers to treat this occasion as though it were a final and who could blame them?

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Melbourne Victory vs Melbourne City

It’s a derby…what more needs to be said?

It’s the dawn of a new era at Melbourne Victory, with Kevin Muscat and captain Carl Valeri departing along with Kosta Barbarouses and James Troisi.

While this team features several new faces – led by Ola Toivonen – it also welcomes back some familiar faces as Andrew Nabbout and Robbie Kruse return.

Kruse won’t be in the side to face City but is not be expected to be out for long.

The Victory have a strong hold upon the city of Melbourne for some time, despite a few derby victories going City’s way, the four-time Champions have dominated this fixture.

Though while Victory have made some changes, City haven’t done too badly themselves.

New coach Erick Mombaerts intends to inject a ‘City style of play’ and has already won over fans by elevating youth products, such as Connor Metcalfe, into the first team.

Despite being without goalscorer Jamie Maclaren, City will have plenty of options in attack with former Bolton midfielder Craig Noone set to debut.

A big crowd is expected at Marvel Stadium for what has almost become a traditional Round One meeting between the two sides.

There is plenty to play for in this one and Saturday night is certainly alright for a derby.

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Wellington Phoenix vs Western United

Mark Rudan returns to Wellington 

Of all the matches this week, this one has the most captivating story.

After guiding the Phoenix to sixth placed, Mark Rudan returns as coach of the newly formed Western United, alongside former captain Andrew Durante, goalkeeper Fillip Kurto and Max Burgess who will all wear the green-and-black.

Alessandro Diamanti will lead the side out for its inaugural clash with him and Greek international Panagiotis Kone expected to have a big impact.

There is great interest surrounding how Rudan will be received by the home fans, who saw several of their star players move in what was a mass exodus at the Phoenix.

Both these clubs come into the season as great unknowns – for Wellington’s line-up will feature several recruits led by captain Steven Taylor and new head coach Ufuk Talay.

A win will give either side significant confidence heading into a tough season.

Western United host Perth before two Melbourne derbies, while the Phoenix meet both last season’s Grand Finalists in the next fortnight – increasing the significance of the three points in this fixture.

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Perth Glory vs Brisbane Roar

How will the Glory bounce back?

It’s been a long off-season for the Glory, who were forced to sit through a Sky Blue parade at the end of last season’s record-breaking Grand Final.

The addition of Bruno Fornaroli strengthens the squad as the Glory will have Asian Champions League to worry about as well.

Much like last season, Tony Popovic has recruited with success in mind and will have his first taste of the new campaign against Robbie Fowler’s Brisbane Roar.

The Roar have recruited quite heavily themselves, with Fowler bringing in several players from England’s lower tiers.

Already quite familiar with the A-League, Fowler’s appointment has generated plenty of excitement and optimism about the Roar, who will be determined to rectify last season’s poor outcome.

The match will be played in Perth at a venue the Glory turned into a fortress last season, making them the clear favourites to come away with the three points.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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athossirianos
athos.sirianos@gmail.com
First year Journalism student at RMIT University. Looking to get the truth out while having a bit of fun.