Hyundai A-League preview: Wanderers v Adelaide

This should be an absolute belter to start 2016 with two of the competition’s most in-form sides doing battle at Wanderland? Will Amor’s resurgent Reds being able to halt the Wanderers juggernaut?

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MATCH DETAILS

Friday, 1 January 2016

Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta

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 X (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 702 ABC Sydney, 891 ABC Adelaide, ABC Local Radio NSW, 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 #WSWvADL

To purchase tickets visit www.a-league.com.au/tickets

#WSWvADL

Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 3.Scott JAMIESON, 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Romeo CASTELEN, 8.DIMAS, 9.Federico PIOVACCARI, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 14.Golgol MEBRAHTU, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 17.ALBERTO, 18.ANDREU, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 21.Jacob PEPPER, 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 18.ANDREU (returns from suspension), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Nil

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 7.PABLO SANCHEZ, 8.ISAIAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Bruce DJITE, 14.George MELLS, 16.Craig GOODWIN, 17.Mate DUGANDZIC, 18.Jimmy JEGGO, 19.Eli BABALJ, 20.John HALL (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 23.Jordan ELSEY, 25. Ruon TONGYIK

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA (returns from injury), 19.Eli BABALJ, 20.John HALL (gk)

Outs: 20.Daniel MARGUSH (gk)

Unavailable: 5.Osama MALIK (quadricep - 2 weeks), 24.Bruce KAMAU (hamstring - 3 weeks)

 

Referee: Ben Williams

Assistant Referee 1: Owen Goldrick

Assistant Referee 2: Greg Taylor

Fourth Official: Matthew Cropper

Federico Piovaccari celebrates after scoring his first goal for the Wanderers.

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

What a way to start the New Year with two of the Hyundai A-League’s form sides going head-to-head at a pumping Wanderalnd!

The Wanderers start 2016 as the team to beat, top of the league and on a nine-game unbeaten run after a 2-0 win over the Jets on Christmas Eve.

Tony Popovic has no major injury concerns, his side is playing some exceptional football and there’s a real aura around the team right now.

Every time they step out on the pitch, they believe they will win which can be a hard thing for opposition sides to overcome.

But Adelaide heads into the New Year full of optimism.

The comfortable 3-0 win over Wellington on Saturday was a fourth straight game without defeat and they are now within striking distance of the top six.

If Wellington don’t beat the Mariners on NYE, the Reds could jump into the finals places with a win here.

It took a late Andreu goal for the Wanderers to salvage a 1-1 draw when the two sides met back in round 2 but both are in much better form right now.

It should make for an absolute belter at Pirtek Stadium on Friday night.

OPTA DATA

-Western Sydney is undefeated against Adelaide on home soil (W3, D1), outscoring them 10-3 in the process.

-Adelaide United has won three and drawn two of their last six matches against Western Sydney Wanderers in the Hyundai A-League, though they are without a win in their last two.

-The Wanderers have scored exactly two goals in each of their last six Hyundai A-League fixtures.

-A win for Adelaide would be their fifth straight without loss in the A-League, their longest streak since November 2014.

ROUTE TO GOAL

Looking at the attacking talent in both these sides, goals seem assured at Pirtek.

The Wanderers attack has been purring of late, scoring at least two goals in each of their last six matches.

And it’s not just one or two players that have been the reason but Popovic’s side really do attack as a unit.

Each of them know their role to a tee and the likes of Castelen, Nichols, Vidosic and especially Bridge seem to be at the top of their game, while fullbacks Jamieson and Neville provide great support out wide.

What a challenge it will be for the Reds’ defence to keep that attacking contingent quiet.

At least Adelaide have tightened up at the back of late, conceding just once in their last four games. It should be no surprise that has coincided in the return to the side of skipper Eugene Galekovic.

It’s at the other end where they now need more productivity.

The return to full fitness of Marcelo Carrusca has given a bit more creativity to their attack but it’s a consistent goal-scorer coach Amor really craves.

Pablo Sanchez has done a decent job when asked to lead the line but more is needed out of strikers Bruce Djite and Eli Babalj.

The battle between the Wanderers fullbacks and Adelaide’s wingers Cirio and Goodwin will definitely be worth watching.

Marcelo Carrusca celebrates after scoring the winner against Sydney FC.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Mark Bridge. The classy attacker just can’t stop scoring right now. His last five starts has seen him net a goal in each and you wouldn’t bet against him continuing that run against the Reds at Pirtek.

FORM LINES

Wanderers: WWWDW

Adelaide: LWWDW

 

PREDICTION 

Western Sydney Wanderers 3-2 Adelaide United