The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers take on Adelaide United this Friday night. Here’s the lowdown on Guillermo Amor’s side.
Guillermo Amor’s Adelaide United started the 2015/16 campaign with a gritty 0-0 stalemate against champions Melbourne Victory at Adelaide Oval on Friday in a lacklustre, combative opening round affair.
The Reds lacked drive and cutting edge in the final third, and managed to create just the once chance in a prime area: and that was Sergio Cirio’s effort in the 92nd minute.
Whilst the former Barcelona man Amor appears less of an eccentric character than former Reds boss Gombau, the new manager has looked to retain the elegant possession-based blueprint that his Spanish compatriot left behind, which means a staggered 4-3-3 system.
Amor has some tough decisions to make in defence, with nailed-on first teamers Eugene Galekovic and Tarek Elrich both returning from international duty. You would anticipate a shuffle in personnel, yet with a back four of Marrone, McGowan, Malik, and Goodwin all providing a solid shield for stand-in goalkeeper John Hall against Victory, there’s every chance the new Reds boss will continue in this fashion.
Adelaide boast one of the most diverse and effective midfield triangles in the country, one that should remain untouched for the Wanderers’ visit on Friday night.
James Jeggo is the engine room in this trio, a player who possesses the defensive nous to cover key spaces in midfield but also the industry to snap into challenges and make positive forward runs to stretch the defensive lines.
Jeggo’s no-frills diligence is complimented by the silky South American flair of Marcelo Carrusca who offers a huge threat drifting into dangerous spaces between the lines. The Argentine has scored three goals against the Wanderers – only Besart Berisha (6) and Archie Thompson (4) have scored more.
Isaias sits deeper in midfield to round off the midfield three, providing balance to the defence but also acting as the chief architect of Adelaide’s crisp passing game. The evasive Spaniard was a little wayward against Victory, managing just a 71% passing accuracy (which usually stands at 80%, 84% of which are forward passes) but normally orchestrates the rhythm of play effectively, something the Wanderers will try to disrupt as Victory did in Round 1.
Further forward, Sergio Cirio is excellent at travelling with the ball and continually sought to take on Melbourne Victory fullback Daniel Georgievski last weekend. The diminutive Spaniard can use his pace and trickery to get to the by-line and cross, where he created two key chances in Round 1, but is equally as dangerous when cutting back infield onto his stronger right foot.
This action was more or less responsible for Adelaide’s 2-1 win over the Wanderers in February this year where he popped up on the edge of the box to slide home a 92nd minute winner to break Wanderers hearts.
Although stationed on the left of Adelaide’s front three, Cirio held the most advanced position on the pitch against Victory. This was largely because of the impact of the Red’s new man up front, Eli Babalj, who frequently came short to receive the ball and move it on.
Babalj, flanked by the dangerous Cirio and the enigmatic Mate Dugandzic, gives Adelaide a solid ‘Plan B’: the AZ Alkmaar loanee has a solid aerial presence in the box and he’ll lead the line looking for his first Hyundai A-League goal since his return from the Eredivise.
You can watch the action this Friday from 7:40pm on Fox Sports 505 and SBS2 or listen on ABC Digital Radio.