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Everything you need to know about the 2019/20 A-League

20 Mar | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Everything you need to know about the 2019/20 A-League

With the only televised football in the UK coming from Australia, we assess how the campaign is playing out and some familiar faces to keep an eye on.

Where are we?

The A-League season is approaching the end of its regular league campaign.

By April 26, all 11 teams will have played 26 matches – two against everybody else plus six more.

The table-toppers at the end of the league fixtures will be declared the ‘premiers’, but not the champions.

That honour is decided by the finals series, which is competed by the top six teams from the league table.

Who is going to win the league?

This season’s premiers are likely to be Sydney FC, who currently lead second-placed Melbourne City by eight points with two games in hand.

However, as we know, that does not guarantee the Sky Blues the title of champions.

The race to finish in the finals series qualification positions is much more worth keeping an eye on.

A-League debutants Western United are currently in sixth position on 27 points, but are only keeping out seventh-placed Adelaide United on goal difference.

Eighth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers (26 points) and ninth-placed Newcastle Jets (21 points) could still sneak into the top six, too. The Jets play Western United in the last round of fixtures.

Four-time champions Melbourne Victory are completely out of contention, sitting four league positions and seven points off sixth.

Once the league season is complete, the finals series will commence. Third will play sixth and fourth will play fifth for the right to play first and second in the semi-finals.

Who is going to be relegated?

Nobody.

Unlike in most domestic structures, there is no promotion to or relegation from the A-League.

However, that doesn’t mean that the teams are the same every season. 

This season, for example, Western United are taking part in the A-League for the first time. In their debut season, they are still fighting for a place in the finals series and the chance to be crowned champions.

What else is there to play for?

Second-placed Melbourne City may be guaranteed a place in the finals series, but they can’t afford to slow up.

The top two teams from the league table will earn qualification to the 2021 AFC Champions League – Asia’s continental club competition.

The league winners – almost certain to be Sydney FC – will progress straight to the group stages of the Champions League, which start next February.

The second-placed team, meanwhile, win a spot in the qualifying play-offs, which are in January.

Wellington Pheonix are currently four points behind Melbourne City with two games in hand, but cannot qualify for the Champions League as they are not a recognised AFC club. 

That leaves defending premiers Perth Glory, nine points behind with two games in hand, with the most realistic chance of taking second position for themselves.

Tony Popovic’s side have fallen short of last season’s standards so far, but are still fighting on most fronts.

The A-League’s top nine teams will also qualify directly for the last 32 of the 2020 FFA Cup, Australia’s premier club knock-out competition.

The 10th and 11th-placed teams will play off for the same prize. 

WHO’S WHO?

ADELAIDE UNITED

Manager: Gertjan Verbeek

Captain: Michael Jakobsen

You’ll probably recognise

Midfielder James Troisi came through the youth system at Newcastle United before spells at Atalanta, Juventus and in the Turkish Super Lig. He currently has 37 caps for Australia and was included in their 2014 World Cup squad.

BRISBANE ROAR

Manager: Robbie Fowler

Captain: Tom Aldred

You’ll probably recognise

Their manager, for a start. Elsewhere, their roster is full of players with EFL experience.

Captain Aldred signed for the Roar last summer after a season at Bury, but also made over 90 appearances for Blackpool.

Max Crocombe, Bradden Inman, Aaron Amadi-Holloway and Jay O’Shea all have extensive experience in the English lower leagues.

Midfielder Aiden O’Neill, meanwhile, is on loan from Burnley.

CENTRAL COAST MARINERS

Manager: Alen Stajcic

Captain: Matt Simon

You’ll probably recognise

Scottish football fans will be familiar with defender Ziggy Gordon, who played over 100 games for Hamilton Academical.

MELBOURNE CITY

Manager: Erick Mombaerts

Captain: Scott Jamieson

You’ll probably recognise

Their owners. Melbourne City are owned by the City Football Group, who also own Mumbai City, Montevideo City Torque, Sichuan Jiuniu, Yokohama F. Marinos, Girona, New York City and, of course, Manchester City.

Their roster includes former Athletic Bilbao forward Markel Susaeta as well as well-travelled EFL winger Craig Noone.

Also on City’s books is defender Jack Hendry, on loan from Celtic. 

MELBOURNE VICTORY

Manager: Carlos Perez Salvachua

Captain: Ola Toivonen

You’ll probably recognise

Captain Toivonen played for Sweden at the 2018 World Cup and had a 12-game loan spell at Sunderland in the 2015/16 season.

Australia international Robbie Kruse had a four-year stint at Leverkusen between 2013 and 2017 and was in the squad for the 2018 World Cup.

Elsewhere, Fulham fans will know defender Tim Hoogland after he spent the 2014/15 with them and Tottenham fans with an excellent memory may recognise defender Giancarlo Gallifuoco, who was on their books as a teenager.

NEWCASTLE JETS

Manager: Carl Robinson

Captain: Nigel Boogaard

You’ll probably recognise

Manager Robinson made over 300 appearances during his playing career, which included spells at Wolves, Portsmouth, Sunderland and Norwich.

Wes Hoolahan and Joe Ledley pull the strings in the middle of the park, while former Northampton forward Roy O’Donovan plays up top.

PERTH GLORY

Manager: Tony Popovic

Captain: Diego Castro

You’ll probably recognise

Popovic spent five years at Crystal Palace as a player between 2001 and 2006.

Left-back James Meredith spent seven years in League One and the Championship, making over 250 appearances for Bradford City and Millwall before leaving last year.

Midfielder Neil Kilkenny will be a familiar name to Birmingham, Oldham, Leeds, Bristol City and Preston fans.

SYDNEY FC

Manager: Steve Corica

Captain: Alex Wilkinson

You’ll probably recognise

Adam Le Fondre. The former Rotherham and Reading striker is the second-highest goalscorer in the A-League with 16 in 18 appearances.

WELLINGTON PHEONIX

Manager: Ufuk Talay

Captain: Steven Taylor

You’ll probably recognise

Yes, their captain is the same Taylor who spent 13 years at Newcastle. In attack, the Phoenix have former Celtic, Norwich and Sheffield Wednesday man Gary Hooper.

WESTERN SYDNEY WARRIORS

Manager: Jean-Paul de Marigny

Captain: Mitchell Duke

You’ll probably recognise

Former Nottingham Forest No. 10 Radoslaw Majewski and Republic of Ireland international Simon Cox are both on the Wanderers’ roster.

WESTERN UNITED

Manager: Mark Rudan

Captain: Alessandro Diamanti

You’ll probably recognise

Remember Diamanti, West Ham fans? The 33-year-old has 17 caps for Italy and played against England in the Euro 2012 quarter final.

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