A-League preview: Adelaide United v Melbourne City

Josep Gombau’s Adelaide United appear to have lost their way at the worst possible time a week out from the A-League finals. Can the Reds recapture their old form at home to possible playoff foes Melbourne City this weekend?

MATCH DETAILS:

Adelaide United v Melbourne City

Coopers Stadium, Adelaide

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Kick-Off: 7:00 PM (Local - AEST)

SQUADS:

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (GK) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 5.Osama MALIK, 7.PABLO SÁNCHEZ, 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Bruce DJITE, 14.Cameron WATSON, 15.Ben WARLAND, 16.Craig GOODWIN, 17.Awer MABIL, 18.Jimmy JEGGO, 19.Miguel PALANCA, 20.Paul IZZO (GK), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 24.Bruce KAMAU

***two to be omitted***

Ins: 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA (returns from injury), 17.Awer MABIL (returns from injury), 15.Ben WARLAND (promoted), 20.Paul IZZO (promoted)

Outs: 3.Nigel BOOGAARD (suspension), 30.John HALL (gk) (not selected)

Unavailable: 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – indefinite)

Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 4.Connor CHAPMAN, 5.Erik PAARTALU, 6.Aaron MOOY, 7.Iain RAMSAY, 8.Massimo MURDOCCA, 9.Harry NOVILLO, 10.Robert KOREN, 13.Jonatan GERMANO, 15.David WILLIAMS, 16.Joshua KENNEDY, 17.Jason HOFFMAN, 20.Tando VELAPHI (GK), 21.Stefan MAUK, 24.Patrick KISNORBO (c), 26.Marc MARINO, 27.Kew JALIENS, 28.Nick SYMEOY

***two to be omitted***

Ins: 17.Jason HOFFMAN (promoted), 27.Kew JALIENS (returns from suspension), 28.Nick SYMEOY (promoted)

Outs: 18.Paulo RETRE (suspension – one week), 22.Jack CLISBY (ankle – 1-2 weeks)

Unavailable: 3.Robbie WIELAERT (ankle – 2 weeks), 11.Damien DUFF (ankle/calf – indefinite), 14.James BROWN (foot – 5-6 weeks), 19.Ben GARUCCIO (ankle – 6-7 weeks), 25.Jacob MELLING (knee – indefinite), 29.Safuwan BAHARUDIN (back – 1-2 weeks)

Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones

BROADCAST DETAILS:

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEST) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app.

Hashtag: #ADLvMCY

BLUFFER’S GUIDE:

When Adelaide lifted the inaugural FFA Cup in December, beating Perth Glory 1-0 in the final, the Reds were highly fancied to go on and challenge for the Premiers’ Plate and the title.

Fast forward a little over four months and Josep Gombau’s side have fallen off the pace in the hotly contested race for a top-two finish.

After two successive defeats (and four losses in their last eight matches), the best case scenario for the South Australians is to beat City at home on Saturday night and hope Wellington Phoenix lose at home to Sydney FC a day later, earning the Reds a home final against the sixth-placed Brisbane Roar.

Although, having lost each of their last two matches at home to the Queensland side, perhaps Adelaide would prefer fourth place and a meeting with John van ‘t Schip’s men.

What’s certainly not in doubt is the need for the Reds to produce a performance reminiscent of their accomplished, entertaining efforts from earlier in the campaign.

Standing in their path will be a City side that had a man sent off and meekly lost 3-1 away to the disqualified Perth Glory last time out.

Van ‘t Schip has demanded more effort and focus from his players, who will need to perform away from home if they are to progress in the finals. This weekend’s match represents an opportunity for them to try and do so with the pressure off, before the real deal arrives a week later.

OPTA DATA:

- Adelaide have never failed to score in seven previous home games against City/Heart, however they’ve also conceded in six of these (W2 D4 L1).

- The team scoring first has lost both times in meetings between these sides this season, with City coming back most recently to win 3-1.

- Melbourne City have won just one of their last eight away matches (D2 L5).

- The Reds have scored exactly two goals in each of their last four home games.

ROUTE TO GOAL:

We already knew about the importance of playmaker Marcelo Carrusca in making the Reds’ well-stocked frontline function and Adelaide fans have witnessed a painful reminder of that during his recent absence through injury.

The men called upon to do the damage away to Western Sydney last time out were Pablo Sanchez, Bruce Djite and Sergio Cirio. Although the latter scored a well-crafted opener for the visitors, after that they were well-marshalled by the third worst defence in the A-League.

More blanks being fired this weekend will be a major concern for Gombau, although Carrusca is back in the squad for this one and is expected to feature.

Van ‘t Schip has close to a fully fit attack to choose from and opted to rest Josh Kennedy for the long trip to play Perth Glory last Sunday, meaning the marquee striker should be fit and firing. The visitors scored through a brilliant Aaron Mooy free-kick but otherwise found goalkeeper Danny Vukovic in inspired form. Expect one of David Williams and Harry Novillo to make way for Kennedy in the starting XI on Saturday night.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

City have lost energetic midfielder Jacob Melling for this game and the duration of their participation in the finals. The impressive youngster suffered a knee injury in training last week and had an operation on Monday.

FORM LINES:

Adelaide United: LLWWD

The Reds lost 2-1 away to Western Sydney and 3-2 at home to Brisbane Roar in their last two matches. Before that they won 1-0 away to both Sydney and the Newcastle Jets and were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Melbourne Victory.

Melbourne City: LDDWW

City went down 3-1 in Perth in their most recent fixture. They had previously recorded successive draws, 0-0 at home to Wellington Phoenix and 1-1 away to Western Sydney. Prior to that van ‘t Schip’s men defeated Brisbane Roar and Sydney 1-0, home and away respectively.

DID YOU KNOW?

- Aaron Mooy has made 93 tackles this season. Only Perth’s Joshua Ridson has made more (110).

PREDICTION:

Adelaide United 2-0 Melbourne City

We’re backing an out-of-sorts Adelaide to produce an overdue performance and restore their supporters’ faith before embarking on what could still be a successful finals campaign.