Will Melbourne Victory go back to back? Will the Wanderers bounce back?
The entire Australian football community shed a tear when Josep Gombau left the helm of Adelaide United. After capturing the imagination of fans through the style of football he applied at his Barcelona youth academy, it was a pity to see Gombau move on. Adelaide United fans, however, can take comfort in the fact that the "Tiki-Taka" won't be leaving Coopers Stadium, with the club appointing Barcelona legend Guillermo Amor. With the experience he attained during his ten-year stint, winning silverware upon silverware during the 1990s and playing under legendary coach and the godfather of "Total Football" in Johan Cruyff, Amor will be ready and eager to gain success in his first season as a first-team manager.
Key players - Marcelo Carrusca and Eugene Galekovic
Key Players - Thomas Broich and Devante Clut
Central Coast Mariners
Key players - Fabio Ferreira and Anthony Caceres
Key Players - Aaron Mooy and Robbie Koren
What a season it was for the men in navy blue. They grasped the attention of everyone in Australia and put the AFL down south on notice after their heroics across their previous campaign. Losing captain Mark Milligan will not have the impact it would have had on most other clubs, with Kevin Muscat signing Socceroo Oliver Bozanic as a direct replacement. With a squad that hasn't really changed, expect the Victory to challenge on all fronts this year, and maybe chase a possible treble in the A-League, FFA Cup and Asian Champions League titles.
Key players - Besart Berisha and Fahid Ben Khalfallah
New coach Scott Miller has signed a host of players who will provide experience for the embattled club. Signing hometown hero Nigel Boogaard is a huge boost to the club's defence, as are former club stalwarts Labinot Haliti, Jason Hoffman and Mark Birighitti. This season will see a new-look Jets both on and off the field, and it could be a small step in the right direction for the club, whether the Novocastrians make the finals or not.
Key players - Nigel Boogaard and David Carney
After last season's salary cap dramas, Perth Glory will be looking for redemption. Their off-season recruitment revolved around creating a new identity after losing many core players. Bringing in Diego Castro provides the Glory with a player whose career is glittered with La Liga experience. Guyon Fernandez is another quality addition after ending his stint in the Netherlands, as is Asian Champions League hero Ante Covic, who will be looking to prove a point after his shock release from the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Key players - Gonzalo Castro and Ante Covic
As much as Graham Arnold won't admit it, there is no doubt the Sky Blues will be using last season's demoralising grand final defeat to rivals Melbourne Victory as ammunition for his side's charge at their first A-League crown in five years. The Sky Blues parted ways with Golden Boot winner Mark Janko, Nikola Petkovic, Terry Antonis and Bernie Ibini, but managed to keep hold of linchpin Milos Dimitrijevic, who will look to combine with fellow countryman Milos Ninkovic, giving Sydney two of the most creative midfield players the league has ever seen. Marquee man Filip Holosko and captain Alex Brosque have pace to burn and there is no doubt Sydney have the ingredients to reproduce their attacking form of last season. However, Sydney's Achilles' heel last season was their defensive frailties, very evident in the grand final, and Arnold will be hoping his defensive stocks fare better this season. The Sky Blues will surely be there come the pointy end of the season challenging the league's best for championship glory.
Key players - Milos Dimitrijevic and Milos Ninkovic
Key Players - Roly Bonevacia and Jeffrey Sarpong
Western Sydney Wanderers
The Western Sydney Wanderers completed a huge make-over in the off season, but we'll have to wait and see whether or not it will pay off. The changes, though, started on the bench with Tony Popovic adding Andres Carrasco to be his right-hand man. The experienced coach worked in the famous Barcelona youth academy for 15 years and later led Malaga to the Spanish Youth Championship. Notable players Wanderers fans will be placing their hopes in are International Marquee Federico Piovaccari, who is coming off a solid season with Eibar in Spain's La Liga, Spanish players Andreu, Alberto and Dimas, as well as an experienced Aussie contingent in Scott Jamieson, Mitch Nichols and Socceroo Dario Vidosic.
Key players - Dario Vidosic and Federico Piovaccari