The 46th season of the A-League kicks off on Friday, October 7, with a clash between Premiers winners Melbourne City and the newly-crowned A-League champions, Western United.
Melbourne City vs Western United
- When: Thursday, June 3 – 19:45 AEDT
- Where: AAMI Park, Melbourne
- Weather: Rain, 19°C
In a rematch of last season’s A-League Grand Final, Melbourne City will clash with Western United, only this time with a fairly more robust roster and in much wetter conditions as the east coast gets ready for heavy rain. The conditions definitely won’t create the most enjoyable start to the season, but after a very vibrant offseason, there are many things to look forward to.
There’s nothing better than kicking off the new season in front of the home crowd, and we can be sure that Melbourne City will enjoy plenty of support at the AAMI Park, which is bound to get packed to the brim for this derby. At least, that’s a fair expectation following what we’ve seen in May.
Melbourne City lost their last meeting with Western United (0-2), granted there’s a strong sense of optimism ahead of the rematch. Still, there are some questions, namely, how will Tom Glover do between the sticks following his rather underwhelming performance in the finals?
That’s not to say that the other side of the field did much better, but the Green & Black recorded just seven shots, one on goal, and yet converted two. In Glover’s defence, he averages 2.19 saves per game, so he is definitely good enough to stand his ground.
Western United – All Eyes On Prijovic
Western United have a successful campaign behind them, as they lifted the club’s first A-League trophy just four months ago, becoming the eighth Australian football club to achieve the feat. But after a perfect ending to the season, Western United entered a very chaotic offseason, with questions surrounding Aleksander Prijovic and his future with WU.
At times it seemed like he was definitely out and on his way to more illustrious European pastures, but for whatever reason, the 32-year-old decided to stay. Simply keeping Prijovic is a huge boost for Western United and their chances to claim back-to-back Grand Finals, but after nearly losing the fan’s trust, he’ll have a lot more to prove.
Last season, he scored 13 goals and added six assists, ending the season as the third-best striker and having shown no signs of stopping; it’s not too crazy to believe that he has another double-digit season ahead of him. But it all starts on Friday when Western United will chase crucial three points and a fifth head-to-head victory against Melbourne City, who got the better of them just once (1-4).
Melbourne City vs Western United Betting Odds
Sports betting sites have priced Melbourne City as 1.80 favourites for the opening 2022/23 A-League match, which makes a lot of sense, and we haven’t seen much odds movement since the market opened in September.
Western United have shown that they can defeat Melbourne City and have done so in four of their last five meetings. But even with that in mind, it’s tough to doubt a team fielding the likes of Matthew Leckie, Jamie Maclaren, and Andrew Nabbout.
Melbourne City vs Western United Team A-League Betting Picks
Melbourne City is rightly priced as the top dogs for this affair, and despite their slip-up in May, there’s little to suggest that they won’t prevail in the season opener on home soil. City is a superior team that should have arguably won the Grand Final, and perhaps they would have City not scored an own goal.
At 1.83 (on Pinnacle), taking Melbourne City to get their revenge and kick off the new season the right way is a fair offer. Yet as much as you can trust Melbourne City to deliver, there are some questions about how their defence will do against Western United’s explosive attacks.
Melbourne City should get over the line, but they likely won’t be unharmed in the process. We’re adding BTTS to our A-League betting picks.
- Prediction: Melbourne City to win – 1.85 at Betfair
- Prediction: Both teams to score – 1.80 at Bet365