Western Sydney Wanderers v Adelaide United, Friday 1st November, 7.30pm at Pirtek Stadium
Last year this fixture produced a 6-1 hammering, in favour of the Wanderers, it was the perfect Christmas present for Wanderers fans and signalled the Wanderers as serious title contenders.
Western Sydney Wanderers come into the match having played their best football match to date, against Sydney FC. The Wanderers completely dominated their cross city rivals for the entire 90 minutes, even though the score was only 2-nil, it could have been worse for the Sky Blues.
Adelaide suffered their first loss of the season, 1-nil away last week, to the Central Coast Mariners. United have been playing good football, and are ahead of where most analysts thought they would be, at this stage of the season. Coach Josep Gombau has done a great job with Adelaide, transforming their play to a possession based game.
The Wanderers will most likely deploy their favoured 4-2-3-1 formation and start the same personnel as last week, although coach Tony Popovic will look to give game time to other players in the squad. At the start of the season Popovic indicated international defender Matthew Spiranovic would need, “3 to 4 weeks, to be fit”. If that is the case then Popovic will be seeking to give him some minutes, in this match.
Hersi did leave the game at half time last week, due to an injury and has been in a moon boot this week. He is the only major injury concern for the Wanderers and if he misses the match due to injury, Taj Minniecon or Brendon Santalab, will most likely be the replacements.
Adelaide have had a win, draw and a loss so far this season. They will be playing away for the second week in a row and will be looking to take some points out of this match, after losing to the Mariners last week.
Mark Bridge ran riot against Adelaide in their last encounter at Parramatta and will be looking to open his goal scoring account this week. Bridge has had 5 attempts on goal in the first three games, second highest in the Wanderers line up, but has failed to find the back of the net. If he gets an early goal in the game to boost his confidence, then a brace or a hat trick wouldn’t be out of the question.
The Wanderers did thrash the Reds the last time they met at Parramatta, however the Reds still had the lion’s share of possession (over 60%).
These two teams met in pre-season and shared the spoils, with a 1-1 finish. Adelaide played extremely well as they got back into the match after the Wanderers had a good start. They kept possession for long periods during the match, with the Wanderers looking most dangerous on the counter, exposing Adelaide’s slow central defenders.
This will be a close encounter, if Adelaide can hold out in the first 20 minutes of the match.