Round 3 sees the Central Coast Mariners return home to Bluetongue Stadium in the hope of kick starting their season after successive draws in the opening two weeks.
In their way are an improved Adelaide United outfit who opened their season with a home win over Perth followed up with an enthralling 2-all draw to rivals Melbourne Victory, both under new head coach Josep Gombau.
Central Coast enter the match coming off a draw to Melbourne Heart in which new recruit Marcos Flores slotted two second half penalties to earn the Mariners a share of the points. This weekend’s home game is the perfect opportunity for Graham Arnold’s men to claim their first win of season 9.
Despite the Central Coast’s impressive record against the Reds in which they haven’t lost in the last 11 meetings between both clubs, the Mariners will not be taking the South Australian side lightly.
“That’s all history, it would be nice if that record continued but we’ve got to come out tomorrow and put on a good performance for our home fans” Arnold said.
“I’ve been quoted on record in the past that in my view Adelaide has the best squad. They’ve got a lot of quality in their team and the two Spanish boys Josep has brought in (Sergio Cirio and Isaias) have added quality to their squad.”
Arnold who has tinkered with his starting XI in the opening two rounds may again have to make changes in defence.
Marcel Seip was given until Friday’s training session to prove his fitness, and could make way for Zac Anderson who partnered Trent Sainsbury in central defence in the club’s opening game against the Wanderers.
The Mariners will be buoyed by the return of New Zealand international Michael McGlinchey to the starting side. McGlinchey came off the bench last week against the Heart after flying back from Trinidad and Tobago the day before.
For the Reds, Nigel Boogaard will line up against his former club after serving a 1 game suspension, while Spanish recruit Isaias Sanchez also returns.
These two clubs last week benefited from contentious penalty decisions, yet both have strong attacking line ups that have the ability to score plenty of goals from open play. The Mariners press teams into making mistakes and when they do, are one of the best sides on the counter attack. Adelaide on the other hand have been given the opportunity this year to take more risks, and against the Victory played a very high line which allowed Archie Thompson plenty of opportunities to get in behind the defence. If the Reds play the same way this week, they could be exposed in a big way especially with the likes of Flores, McGlinchey, and Duke streaming forward.
The Key Issues:
Mariners: Central Coast needs to find some rhythm and there is no better place to find it than at home against a side they haven’t lost to in their last 8 encounters. Last week against the Heart they didn’t play like the Mariners we are accustomed to seeing. After a focused week on the training track Arnold’s men are keen to put in a strong performance that Central Coast fans can be proud of. Unable to hold on against the Wanderers in round 1, and then allowed out of jail with two debatable penalties in round 2, the Mariners need the 3 points.
Adelaide: If Adelaide see themselves as a team that can win either or both trophies at the end of the season, this is a game they need to win. Adelaide haven’t enjoyed claiming 3 points at Bluetongue since 2009 and will need to produce their best, in order to win. Jeronimo Neumann is in fine form up front, however defensively they could struggle against one of the competitions best attacking line ups.
Michael McGlinchey returns to the Mariners starting line up for the first time this season and what an inclusion he is after coming off a standout season last year which was capped off with selection in the A-League All Star side that played Manchester United. Graham Arnold believes he is one of the top five players in the competition and his partnership with Marcos Flores going forward is vital to how well the Central Coast go this season.
This will be an entertaining contest with neither side giving an inch. The Mariners will be determined to write the wrongs of last week’s showing and claim 3 points in front of their home fans. Central Coast claimed a win the last time they wore pink strips and I believe against the Reds they’ll make it two-from-two. Central Coast to win 2-1.
Central Coast Mariners v Adelaide United
Round 3 – Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford
Saturday October 12, 2013 – 5:30pm
Head to Head:
Played 25 – Wins: Mariners 13, Reds 6. Draws: 6
Last Time They Met:
March 24, 2013 – Adelaide 0 – 2 Central Coast
Central Coast – DD
Adelaide – WD