After their painful Grand Final loss to Melbourne Victory earlier in the year Sydney FC get the new A-League campaign underway at Allianz Stadium against Melbourne City. Both clubs are expected to contend for honours this season so this round one encounter could provide a significant confidence boost for the winning side.
Sydney fans will be looking forward to seeing their new marquee signing Filip Holosko in action for the first time. Holosko is not an out and out striker like previous marquee Marc Janko, but his record at international level with Slovakia and in club football with Besiktas suggests he could also net a decent return of goals in the A-League.
Coach Graham Arnold has also added Serbian import Milos Ninkovic to the squad, but it is arguably the foreigners he was able to retain that will have the most impact on the Sky Blues’ chances of going one better this time around. Mikael Tavares and Jacques Faty both extended their contracts after joining in the January transfer window, while last season’s player of the year Milos Dimitrijevic made a surprise u-turn after initially leaving the club in June.
Of the Australian signings – with the exception of former Mariners striker Matt Simon – the focus has been primarily on promising youngsters. Andrew Hoole, Brandon O’Neill and Riley Woodcock will all have the opportunity to further their development under Arnold, a coach well-known for his record of bringing young talent through the ranks.
The Sky Blues have the luxury of a virtually fully fit squad ready for the opening game, with only Hoole, Chris Naumoff (both international duty) and the recovering Ali Abbas unavailable. Arnold has gone on record saying that he believes he has an even stronger side this time around, and will hope his team gets off to a strong start in the opening rounds before fixture congestion comes into play later in the year when Sydney enter the Asian Champions League.
Melbourne City were a thorn in Sydney’s side at Allianz Stadium last year, coming away with four points from their two trips to Moore Park. They arrive this time around with a host of big names missing through injury or international duty, including the likes of Ivan Franjic, Aaron Mooy, Harry Novillo and David Williams. If John van’t Schipp can get enough out of his squad to repeat the draw they managed in round one at the same venue last year then City will be more than happy.
Pre-purchased tickets include return travel to Moore Park via public transport. Sydney FC members who have not yet received their membership cards should check their emails, as the club this week issued paper tickets to many fans due to postal delays.
Saturday 10th October, Allianz Stadium Moore Park 19:30
Sydney FC v Melbourne City
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