Hyundai A-League Season Preview
August 21, 2018
Hyundai A-League Grand Final winners – Melbourne City @ 5.50 with Unibet*
The Hyundai A-League 2018-19 gets underway on Friday 19th October with Adelaide United playing host to pre-season A-League title favourites Sydney FC in what promises to be a highly competitive campaign.
Despite losing 3-2 in extra-time at home to Melbourne Victory in last season’s semi-finals, the Sky Blues have been the dominant force in domestic soccer over the past couple of seasons. They have totally eclipsed their rivals in the regular season for each of the two previous campaigns to be crowned minor premiers and won the Grand Final in the 2016-17 season too.
However, they have lost head coach Graham Arnold to the national team and key players have also departed in midfielder Adrian Mierzejewski to China’s Changchun Yatai and prolific Brazilian striker Bobô to Turkey’s Alanyaspor. New coach Steve Corica could be in for a tough baptism.
Last season’s Grand Final winners were Victory, who saw off Newcastle Jets 1-0 in their opponents McDonald Jones Stadium to claim the title, courtesy of an early goal from Kosta Barbarouses.
Keisuke Honda is the marquee signing of the transfer window to date, with the Japanese legend having joined champions Victory from Mexico’s Pachuca.
Perhaps the team to look at as prospective champions this season could be Melbourne City though. The club, which is part of the City Football Group under the ownership of Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG) and part-owned by Chinese firms China Media Capital and CITIC Capital, with Manchester City being the flagship club.
That link with the English champions has seen City’s Australian international teenage winger, Daniel Arzani, depart for the Premier League club (and immediately sent to Celtic on a two-year loan), with midfielder Anthony Cáceres returning to City on loan.
Riley McGree has also joined on loan from Club Brugge, while Michael O’Halloran has signed a permanent deal from Rangers and defensive midfielder Rostyn Griffiths has also been brought in. With Uruguayan striker Bruno Fornaroli already in goal form after missing much of last season through injury, the omens look good for City.
* Odds correct at the time of writing