Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold refuses to back away from his 'win-first' mentality, so expect the Sky Blues to fight tooth-and-nail against form side United on Friday night.
Friday, 5 February 2016
Adelaide United v Sydney FC
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Kick-Off: 7:10 PM (Local) (7:40 PM (AEDT))
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream
Assistant Referee 2: Paul Cetrangolo
Fourth Official: Daniel Elder
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), SBS TWO from 7:30pm AEDT and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 891 ABC Adelaide, 702 ABC Sydney, ABC Local Radio SA, ABC Local Radio NSW, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. Crocmedia A-League Live (www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio). 5RTI (Adelaide)
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ADLvSYD
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 6.Stefan MAUK, 7.PABLO SANCHEZ, 8.ISAIAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Bruce DJITE, 14.George MELLS, 15.Ben WARLAND, 16.Craig GOODWIN, 17.Mate DUGANDZIC, 20.John HALL (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 23.Jordan ELSEY, 24.Bruce KAMAU
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 15.Ben Warland (promoted), 24.Bruce KAMAU (promoted)
Unavailable: 19.Eli BABALJ (knee – season)
Sydney FC squad: 1.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 2.Seb RYALL, 5.Matt JURMAN, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Christopher NAUMOFF, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 19.Jacques FATY, 20.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 22.Ali ABBAS, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 24.George BLACKWOOD, 27.Mickael TAVARES
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 11.Christopher NAUMOFF, 17.David CARNEY (new signing), 18.Matt SIMON (promoted)
Outs: 3.Alex GERSBACH (transferred)
Unavailable: 14.Alex BROSQUE (returning to full match fitness – 1 week)
This is one of Sydney's least favourite away trips in the A-League with the Sky Blues not having won at Coopers Stadium in almost four years.
Adelaide have won five of their past seven A-League meetings with Sydney, while they enter this fixture with back-to-back wins against Arnold's side, having overcome them 2-1 in the A-League and Westield FFA Cup last year.
Even if the Sky Blues ignore their poor recent form in Adelaide, they will still need to be wary of the A-League's form team.
The Reds haven't lost in nine matches, winning seven of those games including their past four.
Last week, Guillermo Amor's men defeated Newcastle Jets 1-0 but the Spanish coach may be tempted to rest a couple of his key players with an AFC Champions League (ACL) play-off on Tuesday. Adelaide need to overcome Shandong Luneng at home to reach the ACL's group stage.
Sydney will arrive in South Australia on the back of two consecutive defeats, including last week's 3-1 loss at home to Brisbane Roar.
Amor's team will leapfrog fifth-placed Sydney if they knock off the Sky Blues.
Arnold has selected new signing David Carney at the first time of asking after the winger joined from Newcastle Jets.
Matt Simon and Chris Naumoff have also been promoted but captain Alex Brosque remains a week off, while Amor has brought Ben Warland and Bruce Kamau into an extended squad.
Sydney will be looking to avoid three straight defeats for the first time since November 2013.
The Sky Blues have yet to beat a club from outside New South Wales this season.
These two clubs have hit the woodwork more often than any other A-League team this season (10 each).
Adelaide have kept a clean sheet in three of their last five matches against Sydney.
ROUTE TO GOAL
While Adelaide have signed former striker Sergio van Dijk this week, the Dutch-born Indonesia international will be unavailable for this game having only signed a contract for the Reds' ACL campaign.
Amor may have been desperate to bring in Van Dijk a couple of months ago, with the centre-forward having scored 50 A-League goals in his career.
But the past four matches has seen Adelaide score 11 goals, relieving the pressure on the Reds' previously under-performing attack.
In fact, Adelaide have scored an average of 2.13 goals per game during their undefeated streak, with Marcelo Carrusca (4 goals) and Craig Goodwin (3) leading the way up front.
By contrast, Sydney's misfiring attack continues to earn criticism with Arnold's defensive tactics also earning the ire of fans and pundits alike.
Arnold lashed out at critics on Thursday, claiming that focusing on entertainment is "a load of crap".
Sydney are desperately missing captain Brosque, who may return to action against Perth Glory next week.
Brosque has scored five goals - equal with Filip Holosko as the Sky Blues' most effective striker this term - but Arnold will be hoping Carney, Simon and Naumoff can make an impact against the Reds.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
David Carney. The former Jets winger has returned to his first A-League club and claims Sydney's A-League title ambitions and greater quality lured him to the Harbour City.
Adelaide United: DWWWW
Sydney FC: DWWLLPREDICTION
Adelaide United 2-1 Sydney FC