6 Bold Predictions for the 2021-22 A-League Season
With the return of Australian top-flight soccer right around the corner, it’s time to make some bold predictions for the 2021-22 A-League season.
Melbourne City clinched a memorable Premiership-Championship double last term, finishing ahead of Sydney FC on the ladder before dispatching the Sky Blues in the Grand Final.
Will Patrick Kisnorbo’s men defend their crowns in 2021-22? Or will we see new title winners this time around?
The new campaign gets underway on November 19, so you haven’t got long to make your pre-season A-League predictions!
Join me as I share six bold predictions for the 2021-22 A-League season.
Macarthur FC Will Win the 2021-22 A-League Title
It’s safe to say that Macarthur FC enjoyed an impressive debut season in the A-League.
The newcomers finished sixth in their maiden campaign – one point ahead of seventh-place Wellington Phoenix – to claim a finals series berth at the very first time of asking.
The Bulls even beat the Mariners in the elimination finals before losing to eventual champion Melbourne City in the semi-finals, suggesting they are ready to compete with the big boys.
Although the 2021-22 season will only be Macarthur’s second A-League campaign, I expect them to build on last term’s success. In fact, they could even go all the way.
This is what the best soccer betting sites make of the 2021-22 A-League title race.
Coached by Ante Milicic and captained by Adam Federici, the club is in good hands. The Bulls already have guys like Tommy Oar and Lachlan Rose on board, too.
However, it’s Macarthur’s offseason signings that make them a genuine title contender in 2021-22. Just look at the all the high-profile players they have poached from rival teams!
Macarthur FC’s Offseason Signings
- Tomislav Uskok from Western United
- Ulises Davila from Wellington Phoenix
- Daniel De Silva from Central Coast Mariners
- Craig Noone from Melbourne City
- Tomi Juric from Adelaide United
- Jordon Mutch from Western Sydney Wanderers
- Moudi Najjar from Melbourne City
Ulises Davila has been named in the A-League PFA Team of the Season for two years running and also won both the PFA Footballer of Year and Johnny Warren Medal last term.
Craig Noone and Jordon Mutch both have stacks of EPL experience, Tomi Juric has made over 40 appearances for the Socceroos, while Tomislav Uskok and Daniel De Dilva were both key players to for their respective former sides.
In my eyes, the Bulls stand an excellent chance of getting their hands on some silverware next year.
If you fancy wagering on the next A-League winner, make sure you check out my 2021-22 A-League betting preview. You will find tons of useful information on that page, including team analysis, predictions, and more.
Jamie Maclaren Claims the Golden Boot (Again)
Admittedly, this isn’t the craziest of my bold A-League predictions for the 2021-22 season.
Jamie Maclaren has finished as the league’s top scorer in each of the past two campaigns, meaning it wouldn’t be a massive shock if he emulated his heroics next year.
Still, considering no A-League player has ever claimed three Golden Boots in a row, it would be a huge achievement if Maclaren bucked the trend.
As the table below details, the Melbourne City marksman finished 11 goals clear of his nearest challenger last term.
|A-LEAGUE TOP SCORERS (2020-21 SEASON)|
|Jamie Maclaren||Melbourne City||25|
|Matt Derbyshire||Macarthur FC||14|
|Bruno Fornaroli||Perth Glory||13|
|Tomer Hemed||Wellington Phoenix||11|
Maclaren averaged just over one goal per game last season, netting 25 times in 24 appearances. He bagged five braces along the way, as well as a memorable five-goal haul in City’s 7-0 thrashing of Victory.
There were rumors that Maclaren would leave City during the offseason, but the 28-year-old committed his future to the club by signing a new two-year contract extension.
If Patrick Kisnorbo’s men can pick up where they left off last term, Maclaren will almost certainly find himself at the top end of the goalscoring charts again.
Tony Popovic Will Transform Melbourne Victory
We all know that Melbourne Victory endured a campaign to forget last season. I mean, the four-time A-League champions registered their worst-ever finish – ending up rock bottom of the ladder!
The Boys in Blue managed to win just five of their 26 games last term, recording four draws and 17 losses in the process. They also finished with the worst defensive record in the league, having conceded 60 goals (2.3 goals per game).
Although Grant Brebner started the season as Victory manager, he didn’t last long. Steve Kean replaced the departed Brebner in April, but the new coach wasn’t able to turn things around.
With the club at an all-time low, it was clear that a big change was needed. Step forward, Tony Popovic.
Victory appointed Popovic before the previous campaign had even ended, signally their intent. If his track record is anything to go by, he should be able to get the club back to where it belongs – the big time!
Tony Popovic’s Managerial Honors
- A-League Coach of the Year: 2012-13, 2018-19
- PFA A-League Manager of the Season: 2012-13
- AFC Champions League Winning Coach: 2014
- AFC Coach of the Year: 2014
Not only has Popovic claimed several notable induvial accolades over the years, but he has also guided his teams to huge success.
The ex-Crystal Palace defender led Western Sydney to the A-League Premiership in 2012-13 before winning the AFC Champions League the following year. After a spell in Turkey, he returned to Australia and guided Perth Glory to the 2018-19 A-League Premiership.
You get the picture, right?
Ultimately, Popovic is a proven winner. The legendary coach knows what it takes to win silverware Down Under, so I can see Victory thriving under his watch.
Central Coast Mariners Won’t Reach the Finals Series
While Victory clearly underachieved last season, it’s fair to say that Central Coast massively overachieved.
Nobody expected the Mariners to secure a top-six berth, let alone finish third. Yet, they ended up challenging for the premiership for much of the campaign and reached the finals with ease.
With Stajcic gone, I expect the Mariners to struggle in 2021-22. The former manager knew how to get the best out of his small squad, blending youth and experience to great effect.
There have also been a few high-profile player-exits during the offseason, with several key performers opting to leave the club.
Central Coast Mariners’ Offseason Departures
- Alou Kuol to Stuttgart II
- Jack Clisby to Perth Glory
- Daniel De Silva to Macarthur FC
- Stefan Nigro to Melbourne Victory
Although Central Coast still has the likes of Matt Simon, Mark Birighitti, Oliver Bozanic, and Ruon Tongyik on board, I don’t’ think the team is strong enough to seal back-to-back top-six finishes.
I know they exceeded all expectations last season, but I just can’t see the Mariners reaching the finals in 2021-22.
Daniel Sturridge Flops at Perth Glory
Two UEFA Champions League winner’s medals? Check. One Premier League title? Check. Two FA Cup triumphs? Check. One Premier League Team of the Year selection? Check.
Wait a minute – what is Daniel Sturridge doing in the A-League?
It goes without saying that Perth Glory fans went crazy when their club announced the signing of Sturridge. I mean, you only have to look at his record to understand why.
|DANIEL STURRIDGE’S CLUB CAREER BY THE NUMBERS|
|West Bromwich Albion||6||–||–|
The 32-year-old – who scored eight goals in 26 England appearances – had been without a club for 19 months after leaving Turkish side Trabzonspor in March 2020.
The former Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester City star was also handed a four-month ban for breaching the FA’s gambling regulations last year.
The veteran forward has struggled both on and off the pitch over the past few years and has not played enough top-level soccer.
Don’t get me wrong, Sturridge is a major coup for Perth. Yet, when you look at the bigger picture, the Glory are getting a washed-up player who is looking to revive his career.
Matthew Leckie Wins the Johnny Warren Medal
Matthew Leckie is back.
After leaving Adelaide United in 2011, the Melbourne-born winger spent a decade in Germany – representing Borussia Monchengladbach, FSV Frankfurt, Ingolstadt, and Hertha BSC.
Just when it looked as though City couldn’t possibly get any stronger, they go and sign a player of Leckie’s stature. With Maclaren and Leckie in the same team, the rest of the A-League should be fearful.
My final bold A-League prediction for 2021-22 is that Leckie will win the Johnny Warren Medal. Granted, you have to be a special player to be named the A-League’s MVP. But I believe Leckie has got what it takes.
Recent Jonny Warren Medal Winners
- 2020-21: Ulises Davila, Milos Ninkovic
- 2019-20: Alessandro Diamanti
- 2018-19: Roy Krishna
- 2017-18: Adrian Mierzejewski
- 2016-17: Milos Ninkovic
As you can see, some illustrious names have scooped the prize in recent times. Ulises Davila and Milos Ninkovic shared the award last term, with the latter adding to his 2016-17 triumph.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Leckie adds his name to that list next year. The 30-year-old has been one of Australia’s best players over the past decade, so nobody should be shocked if he lights up the A-League.
Looking Ahead to the 2021-22 A-League Season
Well, there you have it!
I’m well aware that my bold A-League predictions are pretty crazy – and it’s highly unlikely that all of them will come to fruition. But it’s always fun to lay down a few wacky pre-season predictions and see what happens, right?
If you have some A-League predictions of your own and want to try your luck, be sure to head over to our A-League betting guide before you place your wagers.
Our guide explains how and where to bet on the A-League, covering the best A-League betting sites, top tips, and a whole load more.
Once you’ve placed your A-League bets, why not familiarize yourself with the best young players to follow during the 2021-22 season?