2013/14 A-League fixtures announced; Analysis

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The Hyundai A-League fixtures for the 2013/2014 season have been revealed, setting up a scintillating year of football ahead. Matt Greenlaw analyses some of the finer details of the A-League competition.  

Grand Final Rematch
Central Coast Mariners will commence their Hyundai A-League Championship defence with a blockbuster match at Gosford’s Bluetongue Stadium against Western Sydney Wanderers on day two of the opening round of football – Saturday 12 October, 2013.

Wanderers fans will again travel in numbers up the coast in an attempt to win back some honour after last season’s Grand Final failings.

The Mariners welcome back striker Matt Simon to the club, creating an experienced front-line for Graham Arnold’s team who will be tough to stop come this Grand Final rematch. 

Grand Final rematch: A sea of red descend on Allianz Stadium for the 2012/13 final

Full fixture list via our A-League ladder predictor.

Derbies 
Whether you count them as true derbies or not, these are the games that garner the most attention, and here is when they are scheduled:

Melbourne Derby – Rounds 1 [Etihad], 11 [AAMI], and 21 [AAMI]
Sydney Derby – Rounds 3 [Allianz], 14 [Parramatta], and 22 [Allianz]
Big Blue Derby – Rounds 5 [Allianz], 16 [Etihad], and 25 [AAMI]
F3 Derby – Round 4 [Hunter], 16 [Bluetongue], and 23 [Bluetongue]
Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United – Rounds 2 [Hindmarsh], 7 [Etihad], and 20 [AAMI]
Combined, these matches fall in Rounds 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11, 14, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 25 

They’re fairly evenly distributed. For the record, the Distance Derbies take place in round’s 5, 9 and 22. Meanwhile the Queensland derby will take place on Boxing Day. In our dreams. 

Free-To-Air SBS Broadcast
One live A-League game each Friday night is to be broadcast via SBS 2 at the regular timeslot of 7:30pm AET and this begins with the season opener –  Sydney FC vs Newcastle Jets in Round One.

Marquee men Del Piero and Heskey have had a year in the competition and will be much more comfortable with their teammates and their abilities. That clash is followed by the juicy fixture between the Reds and Victory at Hindmarsh in Round Two.

The only other game of real note on the free-to-air network is the Rd 21 grudge match between Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory. Nevertheless it is wonderful to see Australian football back on SBS. 

SBS’s coverage of the 2013/14 A-League season will also include a weekly preview show and highlights program.

For new A-League supporters and general sports fans the coverage will be enough to whet the appetite but for seasoned football fans a Foxtel subscription will still very much be necessary. 

Club By Club
Adelaide United’s Round Two game against the Victory might kickstart the club’s season, or it could do the complete opposite. Couple this with tough early away fixtures against the Mariners [Rd3] and Wanderers [Rd4] and this draw doesn’t do them any favours.

Brisbane Roar seem to forever finish the season playing the Mariners, and this year is no different. The Roar will play on Boxing Day once again, although not against former Boxing Day opponents Gold Coast United, but rather Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium.

Central Coast Mariners have a very balanced home and away season after their opening four rounds. Following the Grand Final rematch at home they have three matches away from Bluetongue, but from there it’s an even spread of fixtures that promotes steady performances throughout the year.

Melbourne Heart begin with a bang, heading across the road to Etihad Stadium for the Melbourne Derby in Round One. Their last game of season is also a derby, the newly created Red Stripes Derby, against Wanderers at home. 

Melbourne Victory fans have a tough run into the Finals with only one fixture from five played at home. Fortunately for them a five game streak at AAMI Park between December 8th and January 4th should allow some fine form to build and create a fortress at the stadium.

Newcastle Jets’ best feature of their fixtures is that they will benefit from only having to make one long-haul trip each to Perth and Wellington during the course of the season. The decreased travel time will aid a Newcastle side desperate to better last season’s disappointing 8th place.

Perth Glory will have to wait until Round Eight until they can boo Liam Miller’s partnership with Besart Berisha. On the plus side they get to take part in the Central Coast’s NYE party at Bluetongue, an annual feature of the A-League calendar. 

Sydney FC are given the two Sydney Derbies this year and Allianz Stadium may come close to capacity now that Wanderers fans know where to find it. The Sky Blue do have four games away from home between Rd 11 and Rd 14, which could bring the often fragile side unstuck.

Wellington Phoenix are planning on taking more games on the road this year, with three fixtures’ venues yet to be announced, though they will be in New Zealand. They’re also present for a Mariners regional fixture, so have a total of four games at grounds not usually associated with the league.

Western Sydney Wanderers, aside from the Grand Final rematch, have a steady start to the season with easier early fixtures against Sydney, Heart, and Adelaide. The RBB won’t be able to have a big New Year’s party or they’ll miss the January 1st home game against the Nix. 
  
What do you think of the fixtures for the upcoming A-League season? Love them, hate them, let us know in the comments section.

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Matt Greenlaw
Editor of The Football Sack for three years, Matthew now spends his time sipping merlot whilst watching the reruns of Thursday FC.

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