The Reds host Newcastle this week at Coopers, with the desperate Jets looking to bounce-back from their embarrassing 6-1 defeat to Perth Glory. With pride on the line, as well as a valuable three points, here are three Jets that United should try prevent taking flight.
Despite facing an absolute barrage of shots against Perth Glory in Round 15 and conceding an unbelievable six goals, Mark Birighitti was still one of the best on the park for the Jets in what was a miserable performance in front of their home supporters. In the first two matches against the Reds from earlier this season, Birighitti was the difference between the two sides sharing the points and United running away with comfortable victories. Should he be in the same form this Sunday, Adelaide’s task in making it five straight wins at Coopers will be much more difficult.
Total Saves: 6
Shots Faced: 22
Duels won: 85.7%
Goals conceded: 6
Former Red and local South Australian, Daniel Mullen, will need to make his presence felt from kick-off if the Jets intend on leaving Coopers with a positive result, as the absence of Captain, Nigel Boogaard, will be a massive blow for the visitors. An intimidating centre-half, Mullen will need to fill the shoes of Boogaard as an experienced Hyundai A-League defender both with his understanding of the game and with his communication with his teammates. Mullen’s distribution is the greatest out of the Jets’ recognised defenders and he can generate quality movements from the back if necessary.
Passing Accuracy: 90.6%
Ever since joining the Jets earlier this season, Ryan Kitto has fit in well with his new side and has been a consistent performer for Newcastle, despite their inconsistent performances of late. Commanding the left flank against the Glory, Kitto provided good width for the Jets and was able to play a number of neat balls forward that were largely wasted by his teammates. Kitto has the speed and ability to get on the end of chances, himself, and can pop up with a goal if the opportunity was to present itself. The Adelaide-born winger will definitely be eager to put on a show in front of his hometown crowd.
Total Crosses: 1
Shot Assist: 2
Passing Accuracy: 68%
Total Shots: 1
Adelaide United will face Newcastle Jets in Round 17 of the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season on Sunday, 31 January at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 4.30pm ACDT.