Believe it or not, the A-League is back. Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix square off at Nestrata Jubilee Stadium in the first of 27 games in 34 days to finish this crazy season.
All games will be played in New South Wales and Queensland with the Grand Final set for Sunday, August 30.
The number of games each team has remaining varies from three to six, so the table will be in complete flux for awhile.
The season was supposed to kick off last night, but because of the debacle getting Victorian teams across the border, that game – between Western United and Melbourne City – will be the last home-and-away game played, on August 19.
A number of teams have been affected by COVID-19, with a number of notable import players deciding not to join their teams in the New South Wales hub.
1. Sydney FC: 48 pts, 20 GP, 6 games left. The defending champs have an 8-point advantage with 6 games to play, so you can’t see them slipping up at this point. Packed fixture could make a difference when it comes to finals time.
2. Melbourne City: 40 pts, 23 GP, 3 games left. Only 3 games remaining for City, and that could be an advantage in the post-season. Import Markel Susaeta has opted out but still plenty of talent to offset his departure.
3. Wellington Phoenix: 36 pts, 20 GP, 6 games left. Phoenix have been a pleasant surprise and with New Zealand’s early success against COVID-19, managed to hold on to star Ulises Davila.
4. Brisbane Roar: 35 pts, 22 GP, 4 games left. Big change at the top with boss Robbie Fowler opting to remain in the UK. The new head man is former player Warren Moon (not the Hall of Fame NFL quarterback btw).
5. Perth Glory: 31 pts, 20 GP, 6 games left. Glory have 6 games to play and they’ll have to do it without talismanic Diego Castro who has declined to enter the hub. Could battle to hold onto a finals spot.
6. Western United: 27 pts, 20 GP, 6 games left. Panagiotis Kone has departed, but Allesandro Diamanti has re-signed. Wouldn’t bet against Mark Rudan and Besart Berisha come crunch time.
7. Adelaide United: 27 pts, 21 GP, 5 games left. On a 4-game losing streak and with the second-worst defence in the league, the Reds have some work to do.
8. Western Sydney Wanderers: 26 pts, 21 GP, 5 games left. Only a point out of the top six and rejuvenated under new boss J.P. Marigny. Keeper Daniel Lopar, who is not rejoining the team in the hub, is a big loss.
9. Newcastle Jets: 24 pts, 22 GP, 4 games left. Only 4 games remaining and you’d think they’d need to get maximum points – an unlikely scenario – to break into the eight.
10. Melbourne Victory: 20 pts, 21 GP, 5 games left. 2020 is a fitting year for what has been a nightmare season for Victory. Former hero Grant Brebner is the new coach and he’s already behind the 8-ball with superstar Ola Toivonen choosing to return to Sweden.
11. Central Coast Mariners: 13 pts, 22 GP, 4 games left. Is Usain Bolt available? Not much to see here, except that Alen Stajic and his squad are staring down the barrel of a second straight wooden spoon.
Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix
Friday, 7:50pm AEST
$1.91 Sydney FC
Perth Glory v Central Coast Mariners
Saturday, 6pm AEST
$1.36 Perth Glory
$9.00 Central Coast
Brisbane Roar v Adelaide United
Sunday, 8:30pm AEST
$2.50 Brisbane Roar
$2.88 Adelaide Utd