Hyundai A-League preview: Jets v Adelaide

These two sides seemingly are heading in opposite directions right now, with the Jets on the slide while Adelaide are two wins from two. Who will get the perfect early Christmas present of three valuable points?

MATCH DETAILS

Friday, 18 December 2015

Hunter Stadium, Newcastle

Kick-Off: 7:40 PM (Local) (7:40 PM (AEDT))

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), SBS TWO from 7:30pm AEDT and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)

#NEWvADL

Radio Broadcast: 1233 ABC Newcastle, 891 ABC Adelaide, ABC Local Radio SA, ABC Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. Crocmedia A-League Live (www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio).

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #NEWvADL

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets

Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Cameron WATSON, 7.Enver ALIVODIC, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 9.Milos TRIFUNOVIC, 10.LEONARDO, 14.Mitch COOPER, 17.Radovan PAVICEVIC, 20.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.David CARNEY, 24.Nicholas COWBURN, 25.Brandon LUNDY, 27.Braedyn CROWLEY, 28.Ryan KITTO

**two to be omitted**

Defender Nigel Boogaard watches City score in the first-half on Friday night.

Ins: 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (returns from injury), 14.Mitch COOPER (promoted), 25.Brandon LUNDY (promoted)

Outs: 13.Lee KI-JE (medical, Korea Republic)

Unavailable: 2.Daniel MULLEN (knee – indefinite), 11.Labinot HALITI (knee – season)

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 5.Osama MALIK, 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, 18.Jimmy JEGGO, 19.Eli BABALJ, 20.John HALL (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 23.Jordan ELSEY

**two to be omitted**

Osama Malik

Ins: 5.Osama MALIK (returns from injury), 19.Eli BABALJ (returns from injury)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA (foot – 1 week), 24.Bruce KAMAU (hamstring – 5 weeks)

Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones

Assistant Referee 1: Ryan Gallagher

Assistant Referee 2: James Cleal

Fourth Official: Trent Nash

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

Have the remodeled Jets ran out of fuel?

That’s the question many are asking after their horror 4-0 defeat to Melbourne City on Sunday.

All the positive attributes we’d come to expect from Newcastle over the first two months of the season – work-rate, energy, never-say-die spirit – went missing against City. And they were duly punished.

Scott Miller’s troops haven’t won now in six matches and have gone from the top of the league at the end of October to seventh before Christmas. It’s been quite some turnaround.

Lee Ki-Je’s impending move to Ulsan Hyundai – and talks of David Carney also possibly leaving in January - won’t help their cause to change their fortunes either.

It’s now a different story at the Reds. A fortnight ago they were dead last and talk was coach Guillermo Amor was facing the axe.

Back-to-back wins and they have got their season off life-support, with sights now clearly on chasing down the top six.

Last weekend’s last-gasp 2-1 win over a 10-man Sydney FC wasn’t their prettiest performance but is the type of result which can define a season.

That’s providing they can back it up with another three points on Friday night.

The two sides met just last month, playing out a goalless draw in Adelaide thanks largely to an exceptional performance from Jets custodian Mark Birighitti.

Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti.
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OPTA DATA KEY STATS

  • Newcastle has won four and drawn one of their last seven home Hyundai A-League matches against Adelaide, winning every game in which they’ve scored a goal in that span.
  • After wins against Perth Glory and Sydney FC, Adelaide are set for a third straight win in the Hyundai A-League for the first time since August-September 2010, when they won four on the bounce.
  • The last time the Jets went three Hyundai A-League matches without scoring a goal was in October 2013, a feat they are set to match if they fail to score this weekend.
  • United’s Isaias has leapfrogged Roar’s Corona to the top of the passing table with 669 for the Hyundai A-League season, one more than his Brisbane rival.

ROUTE TO GOAL

Newcastle has struggled for a cutting edge in front of goal over the last month. One goal in their last four matches means it’s just nine for the season so far.

Carney, so dangerous over the opening month, has got more attention from rival clubs while Enver Alivodic and Leonardo (who has battled injury) just haven’t delivered consistently yet.

It’s meant the service to Serbian striker Milos Trifunovic just hasn’t been there. And you can sense the frustration is starting to grow.

The Jets, with Trifunovic the main culprit, were caught off-side 13 times against City last week. It’s an indication either the front four aren’t on the same wavelength or are just being a tad lazy.

Slowly, the Reds’ fluent attack is starting to return.

Pablo Sanchez is looking a real threat while Sergio Cirio – in his best position on the left wing – can cause problems to any defence.

But playmaker Marcelo Carrusca holds the key. Some of his touches against Sydney FC last weekend were dazzling.

When the Argentine is in that mood he’s almost untouchable. If he can produce more of the same against Newcastle, the Reds will get the goals they need to win the match.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Nigel Boogaard. He hasn’t featured since the last time these two sides met just a month ago. And it’s no coincidence Newcastle’s results have slipped in the absence of their inspirational skipper. Now back in the squad against his former club, Boogaard immediately gives the Jets defence a much stronger look.