With season 10 of the Hyundai A-League getting closer and closer, anticipation is ramping up for what might just be the best season yet. Here are my ten reasons to get excited about what lies ahead.
First it was Del Piero. Then Heskey and Ono followed. Australia has become a destination for some of the game’s biggest names.
Now the Hyundai A-League is set to entertain one of Spanish football’s finest talents. News of David Villa’s 10 game stint with Melbourne City has reverberated around the globe.
The World Cup winner is arriving off the back of a triumphant season with Atletico Madrid and is still at the peak of his powers.
Australian fans had a taste of what he has to offer when the Socceroos faced Spain in Curitiba at the recent World Cup Finals in Brazil.
Villa is set to light up the A League. If he does, Melbourne City could quickly become the hottest ticket in town.
WANDERERS TO GO ONE BETTER
The question is, can they?
After successive Grand Final heartbreaks, Tony Popovic’s team need to find the missing ingredient to deliver the ultimate prize to their growing army of fans.
The loss of Shinji Ono, Youssouf Hersi and Aaron Mooy has some nervous that the Wanderers have lost their creative edge.
A successful Asian Champions League campaign could build the momentum that they need for another tilt at the title.
With the newly renovated and rebadged Melbourne City set to play Melbourne Victory in round 3 on October 25, we can expect the full house sign up at Etihad Stadium.
The cross-town rivalries both in Melbourne and Sydney have brought an authenticity and edge to the competition it previously lacked. It’s set to go to a whole new level this season.
The Hyundai A-League is craving the rise of the team from the west. For too long they’ve flattered to deceive only to disappoint.
Boss Kenny Lowe has given the club a total makeover.
The arrival of Richard Garcia, Youssouf Hersi, Mitch Nichols, Dino Djulbic, Diogo Ferreira and Republic of Ireland international Andy Keogh means Glory has delivered fresh hope to the faithful in the Shed.
The Glory will be unrecognisable from the team that finished last year with just seven wins from 27 starts.
Let’s hope their football is as well.
The closest anyone has come to a dynasty in Australia for decades was probably flicking through their KISS records.
Brisbane Roar aren’t far off establishing one though. Three titles in four years is a fair dynastic claim. If Mike Mulvey’s men can do it again this season it will be an even greater achievement as they’ll be without their talismanic striker Besart Berisha.
BOYS IN NAVY BLUE
Kevin Muscat and Berisha are two of the most compelling and controversial figures in A League history.
Now they join forces in Melbourne at the Victory. Muscat as the coach, Berisha as the marquee man. Whatever happens, it’s sure to be entertaining.
WESTFIELD FFA CUP BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME
The arrival of the Cup adds the perfect subplot to the Hyundai A-League campaign. The prospect of Hyundai A-League heavyweights facing off against lower league teams reconnects football in Australia to its heartland in the suburbs.
And the prospect of a giant killing cup run is something every football fan revels in, if the round of 32 in the Westfield FFA Cup is any indication.
Graham Arnold is the latest coach asked to restore Sydney FC’s status as a powerhouse in the Hyundai A-League.
After a tumultuous campaign under Frank Farina last season, Arnold is expected to bring stability and solidarity to the Sky Blues.
Whether the club’s notoriously temperamental board are prepared to show the requisite patience will be the question.
Sandwiched in the middle of the Hyundai A-League season is the small matter of the AFC Asian Cup.
The best teams in the region will battle it out for silverware in Australia next January and The Socceroos are expected to be there at the sharp end of things.
GIVE ME FOOTBALL
OK, I’ll admit it, I’m hanging out for it.
After feasting at the World Cup, it’s been starvation rations since. The Westfeld FFA Cup is a superb entrée, but football fans are hungry for more.
Bring it on!