Any team that gives the ball away cheaply to Keisuke Honda is not going to win too many A-League games against Melbourne Victory this season.
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With the A-League 2018-19 season on the horizon and the transfer window nearly over for an inconsistent Adelaide United side, read below to see a brief overview of last season and what the ins and outs are.
At the end is a prediction on where this Adelaide United side could finish.
Last season’s position: 5th, 36 goals scored, 38 goals conceded
Finals series: 5th, lost 2-1 to Melbourne Victory.
FFA Cup: 2nd in 2017, currently in quarterfinals of 2018
Last season, Adelaide United finished fifth. They did well in exposing a lot of young players to game time, but they could have improved in their attack, with most of their players failing to find the back of the net on a regular basis.
In the offseason, Adelaide United have lost eight players, defenders Ben Garuccio, Ersan Gulum and Tarek Elrich, midfielders Daniel Adlung, Jordan O’Doherty and Mark Ochieng and attackers Dzengis Cavusevic and Johan Absalonsen. They have replaced these players by signing defenders Michael Jakobsen from Melbourne City and Scott Galloway from Wellington Phoenix, midfielder Mirko Boland from Germany and attackers Craig Goodwin, a former Socceroo from the Eredivisie, Ben Halloran from Japan and Ken Ilso from Malaysia.
Strengths and weaknesses
Adelaide’s strength will be its attack which has been boosted with the return of Baba Diawara, the promotion of Apostolos Stamatopoulos and the signings of Craig Goodwin, Ken Ilso and Ben Halloran. The potential forward line of Goodwin, Ilso and Mileusnic, or Halloran, Diawara and Kitto can cause headaches to any side, especially as most of these players are in form.
Adelaide’s potential weakness is that with departures of key defenders Tarek Elrich, Ersan Gulum and Ben Garuccio, they are defensively vulnerable. New signing Scott Galloway will need to settle in Ben Garuccio’s role, who was one of Adelaide’s finest, being defensively solid and attacking down the flanks with Ryan Kitto and Johan Absalonsen.
Ryan Strain, Adelaide United’s right back needs to step up as well. What’s more, Lions FC hit the woodwork twice against Adelaide and had numerous opportunities to equalise, but Adelaide held on to a tight 1-0 victory. They need to solve their defensive issues before A-League sides punish them. Fortunately, they are more than capable, as Scott Galloway has 100 A-League appearances to his name, Ryan Strain playing well in patches and former Melbourne City skipper Michael Jakobsen being brought in defence.
Player stats from last season: Most goals, Ryan Kitto (7). Most assists, Nikola Mileusnic (5). Most passes, Isaias (1,244). Most minutes, Jordan Elsey (2,427). Player of the season: Isaias
Transfer window grade: Indifferent. Obviously losing a lot of squad players, old and young might have a short-term effect but Adelaide’s goalscoring woes look to come to an end, and their pickups seem decent.
1) Daniel Margush, 20) Paul Izzo, 30) Isaac Richards
2) Michael Marrone, 3) Scott Galloway, 4) Ryan Strain, 5) Taylor Regan, 22) Michael Jakobsen, 23) Jordan Elsey
6) Vince Lia, 8) Isaias, 16) Nathan Konstandopoulos, 28) Kristin Konstandopoulos, 31) Mirko Boland
7) Ryan Kitto, 11) Craig Goodwin, 17) Nikola Mileusnic, 18) Lachlan Brook, 24) Pacifique Niyongabire, 26) Ben Halloran
9) Baba Diawara, 10) Ken Ilso, 14) George Blackwood, 33) Apostolos Stamatelopoulos
Predicted best eleven: 4-3-3 attacking.
3) Scott Galloway, 4) Ryan Strain, 8) Isaias, 10) Ken Ilso, 11) Craig Goodwin, 16) Nathan Konstandopoulos, 17) Nikola Mileusnic, 20) Paul Izzo, 22) Michael Jakobsen, 23) Jordan Elsey, 31) Mirko Boland.
4th. This new Adelaide United squad might need time to gel, but with Marko Kurz’s ability to organise players, Adelaide might finish in between the middle of the road and being a title contender. Positive signs await.