It’s slick, high-flying Adelaide United, seeking to bounce back from a narrow loss to Melbourne Victory, at home to the wounded Western Sydney Wanderers FC. The hosts will be the favourites at Coopers Stadium, but despite their woes, write off the Asian champions at your peril.
Adelaide United v Western Sydney Wanderers FC
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Kick-Off: 7:00 PM (Local) (7:30 PM AEDT)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 6.CASSIO, 14.Cameron WATSON, 24.Bruce KAMAU (all promoted)
Outs: 5.Osama MALIK (calf – 4-6 weeks)
Unavailable: 20.Paul IZZO (gk) (calf – 2-3 weeks), 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – indefinite)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Ante COVIC (gk), 2.Shannon COLE, 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 5.Brendan HAMILL, 7.Labinot HALITI, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 9.Tomi JURIC, 10.Vitor SABA, 12.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, 13.Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.Romeo CASTELEN, 18.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 22.Seyi ADELEKE, 23.Jason TRIFIRO, 35.Kearyn BACCUS
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 9.Tomi JURIC (returns from injury), 23.Jason TRIFIRO (promoted), 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO (promoted)
Unavailable: 11.Brendon SANTALAB (shoulder – indefinite), 34.Golgol MEBRAHTU (knee – indefinite)
Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 891 ABC Adelaide, Local Radio Radio SA, 702 ABC Sydney & ABC Local Radio NSW, 666 ABC Canberra, Grandstand Digital, Grandstand Online / ABC Radio Mobile phone app
Referee: Jarred Gillett
Assistant Referee 1: Nathan MacDonald
Assistant Referee 2: Mathew Cheeseman
Fourth Official: Rick Schneider
Adelaide United will be fired up for this one after tasting defeat for the first time this season away to fierce rivals Melbourne Victory last time out. The Reds were by no means outclassed at AAMI Park and remain a serious challenger at the right end of the table.
For the Wanderers, fresh from a mid-week defeat at home to Brisbane Roar, this is the final opportunity to get off the mark with a Hyundai A-League win before they fly off to the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco.
The clock is well and truly ticking on Western Sydney’s finals hopes – if Tony Popovic’s men don’t start picking up points soon, they will face an uphill battle to force their way into the top six during the second half of the campaign.
OPTA DATA STATS
– Adelaide are currently unbeaten in 13 home games; a run which stretches back to December 2013 (W8 D5).
– Western Sydney Wanderers are without a win in nine games (including play-offs); their worst run ever in the Hyundai A-League (D3 L6).
– Wanderers have lost five straight games on the road (including playoffs); their longest losing streak ever in the Hyundai A-League.
The Reds had plenty of joy down the flanks away to Victory, Craig Goodwin swinging in some good crosses for the likes of Awer Mabil, who missed one and scored another of his opportunities at the back post. Expect Josep Gombau’s side to go wide again this weekend in a bid to avoid the Wanderers’ strong centre of midfield and defence and potentially exploit left-back Seyi Adeleke, who has made some high-profile mistakes early in his Hyundai A-League career.
Prior to their 3-2 loss to Victory, the Reds had won three matches in succession in all competitions, beating Central Coast away in the Hyundai A-League, at home in the Wesfield FFA Cup and seeing off Wellington Phoenix at home in the league.
DID YOU KNOW?
Adelaide’s top-scorer Sergio Cirio has scored all three of his league goals at home this term. No player has created more chances on their home turf than Cirio (11) this campaign.
Result: Adelaide United 3-1 Western Sydney
Popovic’s side need to be typically gritty and determined to get anything out of this one, but they just can’t seem to buy a win of late. And with Adelaide looking so cohesive, the pain of a first loss still stinging, we can’t see any outcome other than a straight-forward home victory.