Alex Wilkinson, Michael Zullo, Joshua Brillante, Danny Vukovic, Bernie Ibini, Bobo
Jacques Faty, Mickael Tavares, Ali Abbas, Zac Anderson, Robert Stambolziev, Chris Naumoff, Jacob Tratt, Riley Woodcock, Ivan Necevski, Alex Mullen, Anthony Bouzanis, Andrew Hoole, Shane Smeltz
The Sky Blues began their pre-season with a 12-0 win over Earlwood Wanderers before going down 1-0 to NSW NPL outfit Macarthur Rams. Graham Arnold’s side registered victories over A-League opposition through 2-1 and 1-0 defeats of Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United before losing 3-1 to Melbourne Victory.
Sydney FC have maintained a perfect record in this season’s FFA Cup, failing to concede a goal in wins against Wollongong Wolves, Perth Glory and Blacktown City. The two-time A-League champions will face Canberra Olympic in the semi-finals on October 19.
After a dour 2015/16 season the Sky Blues look set to return among the competition’s elite following some smart business in the off-season. Sydney were slow and lacked genuine firepower in last season’s seventh-place finish but the arrival of Brazilian forward Bobo and on-loan return of Bernie Ibini will inject some much needed verve into the frontline.
Similarly, the acquisitions of Alex Wilkinson, Danny Vukovic and Josh Brillante bolster the spine of Graham Arnold’s side and improve the quality of the starting eleven significantly. As a result Fantasy managers should also expect continued improvement from the likes of Filip Holosko and Milos Ninkovic following steady debut seasons from the marquee pair.
Western Sydney Wanderers (away), Central Coast Mariners (home), Wellington Phoenix (away)
Predicted Round 1 side
Grant Ryall Wilkinson Zullo
Holosko Ninkovic Carney
Marquee signing Bobo ($290k) arrives down under with a big reputation and is one of the prime candidates for the 2016/17 golden boot, especially if Sydney improve their offensive structure as expected. The Brazilian enjoyed his best seasons in Turkey, scoring 58 goals in 144 appearances for Besiktas and 32 goals in 67 appearances for Kayserispor, and has been heavily involved in everything positive about the Sky Blues in pre-season.
With both Sebastian Ryall and Matthew Jurman competing for a spot next to Alex Wilkinson in the heart of defence, flying fullback Michael Zullo ($160k) looks a tasty and inexpensive Fantasy proposition. If the former Melbourne City fullback can improve his injury record alongside further defensive improvement from Sydney FC, Zullo is a standout cheap option for the start of the season.
Sydney have a luxury of options up front and picking the right option in Sky Blue will prove a difficult task for Fantasy managers. For this reason, avoiding the likes of Bernie Ibini ($220k), Alex Brosque ($260k) and Filip Holosko ($260k) will free up funds for other essential money-ball buys up front. It looks difficult to justify doubling up on Sydney forwards at this stage of the season.
LEAGUE: Don’t forget to join the SuperCoachHQ.com league on aleaguefantasy.foxsports.com.au – the league code is 117-325.