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  1. Soccer

Australian Football: Five takeaways from week one

The first week of the new A-League season is done and dusted and both Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory were the big winners.

City got revenge on Western United for last season’s grand final defeat as they ran out 2-1 winners at AAMI Park on Friday night.

Then on Saturday it was the turn of Victory to wrap up a big win when they edged out Sydney FC in a five-goal thriller at Allianz Stadium.

All four of those teams are expected to be up there at the end of the season so the wins for City and Victory are a good early marker to put down.

Elsewhere Brisbane Roar and Macarthur fought out a goalless draw, while Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide United also had to settle for a share of the points in a 1-1 draw.

Western Sydney Wanderers got off to a winning start when defeating Perth Glory 1-0, and there was big disappointment for both Central Coast Mariners and the Newcastle Jets as their game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

It is only week one but what can we take away from the opening round of fixtures.

Melbourne Victory have an embarrassment of riches in attack

Such is the strength in depth in the Melbourne Victory attack, Socceroos forward Chris Ikonimidis had to settle for a place on the bench.

He went on to have a huge impact as he came on to the pitch and scored in the 3-2 win and it shows Victory should have no issues scoring goals this season.

Nicholas D’Agostino and Joshua Brillante got the other goals and coach Tony Popovic will be delighted with the way his side attacked.

Youngsters Ben Folami and Jake Brimmer also starred so the future looks a bright one, while Nani showed glimpses of what is to come and will only get better.

Victory are priced at  to win the grand final and could not have got off to a better start.

Sydney FC need to tighten up at the back

The Sky Blues were looking to get off to a positive start following a shocking 2021/22 campaign and they did just that when taking an early lead.

However switching off at a set-piece and poor defensive lapses went on to cost them badly as Melbourne Victory fought back to win the game.

Sydney had levelled matters at 2-2 before another defensive lapse allowed Joshua Brillante to fire home a late winner.

Steve Corica’s men will have to cut out the errors if they are to get back to challenging this season, but it was not all negatives.

New signing Robert Mak opened his account and along with Joe Lolley showed he has got what it takes to have a big season in the A-League.

Valon Berisha will be a big hit

Melbourne City already had a formidable attack and it has now got even stronger with the addition of Valon Berisha who was a revelation in the 2-1 win over Western United.

He may not have got his name on the scoresheet but did everything but. The Kosovo international was a thorn in Western United’s side all evening and looks set to terrorise opposition defences all season.

Arriving on loan from French Ligue 1 side Reims, he could turn out to be one of the signings of the season.

City also look fired up and ready to make amends for last season’s grand final defeat. They looked fresh and have hit the ground running.

Western United have issues at the back

Coach John Aloisi will not be reaching for the panic button after one game but he must have been alarmed by the performance of star defender Leo Lacroix.

The towering defender was a revelation last season and key to them going on to win the grand final. However on Friday night he was at fault for both goals and everyone connected to the black and greens will be hoping it was a one off.

Just to make matters worse fellow defender Tomoki Imai damaged his AC joint during the game and is now looking at a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Just one game in and the reigning premiers, who are priced at  to win the grand final, have issues in defence.

Arzani fails to fire

Much has been made of Daniel Arzani’s return to the A-League with Macarthur, but he failed to shine in the goalless draw with Brisbane Roar.

In fairness no-one did in a pretty uneventful 90 minutes of football. Much is expected of the former Melbourne City starlet, who has spent the last four seasons in Europe and things can only get better after the first game.

He played just 60 minutes before being replaced by Craig Noone.

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