The Victory juggernaut rolls into Reds heartland for the latest chapter in this searing state rivalry - and they'll be supremely confident against the reigning Hyundai A-League champions at Coopers.
Saturday, 7 January 2017
Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Kick-Off: 7:20PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEDT))
Referee: Adam Fielding
Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream
Assistant Referee 2: Paul Cetrangolo
Fourth Official: Daniel Elder
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.45pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport X (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 891 ABC Adelaide, 774 ABC Melbourne, ABC Local Radio SA/Vic, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, Crocmedia A-League Live ( www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio ), 1116 SEN (Melbourne)
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ADLvMVC
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Adelaide United Squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 5.Taylor REGAN, 7.HENRIQUE, 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Sergi GUARDIOLA, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Sergio CIRIO, 15.Ben WARLAND, 16.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 17.Nikola MILEUSNIC, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.John HALL (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Ryan KITTO, 24.Jordan O’DOHERTY, 25.James HOLLAND
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA (returns from injury), 15.Ben WARLAND (promoted)
Unavailable: 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA (hip – 1 week), 18.Riley McGREE (ankle – 2-3 weeks), 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – season)
Melbourne Victory Squad: 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Marco ROJAS, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Max BEISTER, 10.James TROISI, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Alan BARO, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.James DONACHIE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 23.Jai INGHAM, 40.Matt ACTON (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 11.Mitch AUSTIN (promoted), 16.Rashid MAHAZI (promoted)
Unavailable: 27.Alastair BRAY (shoulder – 3-4 months)
If football was played on paper, you'd be reaching for your favourite betting app and putting a cheeky $50 on the Big V registering three points.
It's the team on the foot of the ladder hosting the red-hot Victory in what appears an easy win for the second-placed boys in blue.
Understandably so, given their regal form over the last six weeks and the Reds' persistent struggles to mount a revival of sorts.
To put that into statistical context, Victory have scored three times the number of goals of the Reds (30-10) this season, with 5 shots on target per game (3.2 for the Reds, in a season of just one win, four draws and eight losses).
But if there's anything we know about the A-League, anyone on any given day can win.
And if history is any guide, this game is generally a ripper to watch for the neutrals.
Last week, we saw the Reds show some ticker and fight tooth and nail in the wind and rain for a precious point in the Kiwi capital.
Adelaide is a decent side, make no mistake, and at home against their biggest rival, they'll know their suffering supporters are due a night to remember.
I like Taylor Regan's addition - he has added some defensive steel and desire to the Reds XI, and with Iacopo La Rocca injured, the former Jet could start again.
But it's in front of goal where they're lacking with just 10 goals.
For Gui Amor’s men, much rests on top scorers Henrique (3 goals) who’s been an excellent pick up, and Sergi Guardiola (3 goals) who, worryingly hobbled off the Westpac pitch last week.
Back at home, the Reds will be desperate not to repeat their Boxing Day mauling at the hands of Sydney FC.
But this Victory outfit looks in mint condition right now.
If the Victory front four are on song on the lush Coopers surface, few teams – not just Adelaide - are able to stop them right now.
ROUTE TO GOAL
The stats suggest the Reds are creating chances – the difference is the clinical finishing.
Victory are in menacing form in when faced with the goal, while the Reds struggle to convert.
For Victory, James Troisi is in top form and he’ll be the creative fulcrum behind the front three of Berisha, Rojas and Ben Khalfallah (with pacy wingers Ingham and Austin likely to come on for added attacking intent).
It’s a Big V attacking force chock full of pace, movement and clever rotations as they pull players out of position, get in behind the full backs and press the back line into mistakes.
It’s hard to play against.
You have to get your shape just right, bully them in possession and start to hurt them at the other end of the park.
Reds full backs Ahmed Elrich and Ben Garuccio will have their hands full with FBK and Rojas. However, if the United duo sense their wingers won’t track them back, an opportunity to push into dangerous positions in the Victory box offers the Reds a handy route to goal.
If they create chances through this avenue – and they can put away those chances, along with any set pieces from Isaias and the returning Marcello Carrusca – the Reds are in with a chance of reigniting their season.
But you wouldn’t bet on it.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK
Bes Berisha. The Victory striker made history in Geelong during the week after his goal against the Jets saw him take over Archie Thompson’s all-time Hyundai A-League goal-scorers’ record with 91 goals.
FORM LINES (last five games)
Adelaide United WLLLD
Melbourne Victory DWWWW
Adelaide United 1-3 Melbourne Victory