With the grand finalists set and the season almost complete, we head straight into the talking points from the second week of the A-League finals.
After Wellington’s 8-2 triumph over Central Coast, Adelaide dropped down to fifth.
Lurking underneath in sixth and seventh are Melbourne City and a much improved Newcastle Jets side. The question is, with five points ahead of the seventh-placed Newcastle Jets, can Adelaide United hold on for a finals spot?
Adelaide United’s last starting XI vs Sydney (3-4-1-2)
Paul Izzo; Michael Marrone, Isaias, Scott Galloway; Ryan Strain, Vince Lia, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Craig Goodwin; Mirko Boland; George Blackwood, Jordy Thomassen
Normally Adelaide United play with four at the back, two in holding midfield, three in attacking midfield and one up front. Despite this, Adelaide United may need to change to a three at the back formation as they only have two centre-halves in the squad; Jordan Elsey and Michael Jakobsen, both who were absent in Sydney’s clash.
In the back were fullbacks Scott Galloway and Michael Marrone as well as skipper Isaias. Craig Goodwin and Ryan Strain were converted to wing backs as well as Boland, Blackwood and Thomassen in attack.
Key difference makers
Michael Jakobsen is most likely the most critical player for the Adelaide United squad now as he is the only centre back in the squad apart from Jordan Elsey who is injured. His experience, precise passing and solidness has benefitted Adelaide United. How he forms a partnership with Michael Marrone will be vital if Adelaide United are to stop other teams from scoring.
Kitto scored Adelaide United’s last goal against Western Sydney. He was Adelaide United’s top scorer last season and is posing a threat to teams’ defences. Adelaide United could use another player in form and Kitto could provide that.
He mainly comes off the bench, due to the injuries of Ben Halloran and Nikola Mileusnic. In the limited amount of time he has on the pitch, he has impressed especially in the last minute 4-3 victory against Brisbane Roar, in which he grabbed an assist.
Still young and deserving of more gametime, he could be an x-factor for this Adelaide United side and could create opportunities when coming off the bench.
George Blackwood was Adelaide United’s number one striker for most of last season scoring five goals. He has transferred to an unfamiliar attacking midfielder role after Kurz has made Jordy Thomassen the number nine ahead of Blackwood.
Blackwood has threatened defences for a number of weeks and scored a couple of vital goals. As Thomassen is failing to fire, Adelaide United could certainty use a few more goals from Blackwood as the season comes to an end.
Loss, draw, loss, draw, win
The run home
vs Perth Glory (home)
Perth Glory still have everything to play for in this clash as they aim to secure the premier’s place for the first time in A-League history. Adelaide can’t drop too many more points and they haven’t scored in the past two weeks, so they will need a teriffic performance against the strongest team in the league, even with their home fans behind them.
vs Central Coast Mariners (away)
This is a clash that Adelaide should be looking to win as Central Coast Mariners are bottom of the table with one of the worst defences in the league. They could also use this clash to boost their goal difference, which could make a huge difference.
vs Wellington Phoenix (home)
Wellington looks to have turned around their bad form after defeating the Mariners 8-2. However, Adelaide has a far better head to head record against the Phoenix. Both teams have all to play for in this tough clash but you could see this going Adelaide’s way.
vs Melbourne City (away)
Melbourne City’s new recruits, especially Jamie Maclaren, show that City will be tough to defend and score against. Adelaide were unable to hold on for the three points in their last outing and will need another mighty effort if they are to defeat Melbourne City. This should be a real six pointer.
vs Melbourne Victory (home)
Adelaide managed to defeat the Victory in their last outing after a sensational performance. The Victory have slightly fallen but original rivalries are always rippers. It will take another great performance to defeat their bitter rivals.
vs Brisbane Roar (away)
Brisbane Roar’s defence appears vulnerable, especially as Adelaide United came 3-0 down to defeat them 4-3 in their last outing. In their last five outings, they have conceded three or more in four of them. However, Dylan Wenzel Halls is in solid form and Eric Beauthec, Henrique and Alex Lopez are good on their day.
And of course, it’s not a guarantee Adelaide will score three or more against them, especially as they could have defenders return from injury.
In conclusion, this Adelaide United side has issues in defence and attack, although there could be a few players that might be able to score. Hopefully, Adelaide United will be able to cope with only having two centre halves in the squad.
If they will make the finals, it is unlikely they will have the defensive depth to progress very far.