Adelaide United’s longest winless streak in club history came to an emphatic end last week, as the Reds crushed Central Coast Mariners 4-0. The eight games without a victory and nine games without a clean sheet brought about a range of questions, many of which were partly answered on Saturday evening.
The Reds attack benefited from a shift in tempo, looking to get the ball forward earlier to catch the Mariner’s defence out. Sergio Cirio finally found some end product and Bruce Djite deservedly got himself on the score sheet. Fabio Ferreira may have been somewhat lucky with his finish but he put in a good all-round performance, and unfortunately will be out for two weeks with an abductor strain. Jeronimo Neumann bagged a late goal to complete the rout to send the Adelaide fans home happy.
United kept their foot on the pedal against the Mariners and reaped the rewards, scoring early in the second half and cruising to the win. This hasn’t been the case so far this season however, as the they’ve specialised in deteriorating physically and throwing away points late in games. The positive intent shown after half time bodes well for the future. Even though the goal came from a Liam Reddy mistake, it was Cirio’s effort and desire that allowed him to capitalise upon the error.
Adelaide’s high defensive line was exposed on multiple occasions by the Mariners but poor finishing let United off the hook, with Danny McBreen particularly wasteful. United are still coming to grips with how to play this way but there are some signs of improvement. The high line looks as though it’s here to stay so there could be plenty of space for the likes of Perth’s Sidnei to exploit this weekend.
While Adelaide were battering the Mariners last round, Perth had a slightly less enjoyable time. Their loss to Melbourne Victory culminated in player unrest, infighting, allegations of nepotism and ultimately, the sacking of Alistair Edwards. The club appears in crisis but the players will want to use this game as an opportunity to show their fans that they are still determined to get something from the season, so look for the Glory to bounce back in a huge way.
Ferreira has started every game for United this season so it will be interesting to see how Gombau fills his spot on the right side of attack. Could Jeronimo or Awer Mabil start out wide? Will we see a shift in formation to allow Djite to partner Jeronimo up top?
Glory keeper Danny Vukovic has been in terrific form this season and could prove key again on Sunday night, while at the other end of the pitch Perth’s main attacking threat will come from Ryo Nagai and Jamie Maclaren, who have each scored twice so far. Sidnei’s hamstring injury will likely keep him out of action this week which is a big blow to the Glory’s chances.
United should continue to move the ball at a quicker pace and exploit Perth’s patchwork defence, because if the Reds can get at the Glory early they could capitulate. Adelaide can then use their possession football to kill the game off and force the home side to chase the ball. The longer Perth remain in the game, the more danger for United as the crowd will come into play and urge the Glory on.
Perth’s official twitter feed has been using the hashtag #purpleswag so far this season, and the Glory players need to find their swagger in front of goal. Maybe Adelaide’s high line will give them that opportunity.
Adelaide must build on the positives from last game and work on fixing the issues that still remain if they are to emerge from NIB Stadium with all three points. The Reds have not won in their last five trips out west but now might be the perfect time for United to take on the Glory.