Hyundai A-League preview: Reds v Phoenix

This time last year Adelaide United started an incredible, intoxicating run to the Hyundai A-League double. Can the Reds give themselves some hope by registering their first win of the season against Wellington Phoenix?

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix

Coopers Stadium, Adelaide

Kick-Off: 6:30PM (Local) (7:00PM (AEDT))

Referee: Stephen Lucas

Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream

Assistant Referee 2: Paul Cetrangolo

Fourth Official: Daniel Elder

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 6.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: ABC Grandstand, EON Sports Radio (eonsportsradio.com)

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ADLvWEL

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 5.Taylor REGAN, 7.HENRIQUE, 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Sergi GUARDIOLA, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 12.Mark OCHIENG, 13.Marc MARINO, 14.George MELLS, 16.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 17.Nikola MILEUSNIC, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.John HALL (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Ryan KITTO, 25.James HOLLAND 
**two to be omitted**
 
Ins: 12.Mark OCHIENG (promoted), 13.Marc MARINO (promoted), 14.George MELLS (promoted) 

Adelaide United players celebrate their equaliser against Brisbane on Friday night.

Outs: 18.Riley McGREE (ankle – 3 weeks)

Unavailable: 11.Sergio CIRIO (knee – 2 weeks), 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – season), 24.Jordan O'DOHERTY (ankle – 3 weeks)

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 2.Jacob TRATT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Ryan LOWRY, 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 11.Hamish WATSON, 12.Adam PARKHOUSE, 13.Marco ROSSI, 14.Alex RUFER, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Vince LIA, 18.Ben LITFIN, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 14.Alex RUFER (promoted), 18.Ben LITFIN (promoted)

Alex Rufer.

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 10.Michael McGLINCHEY (knee – 6-7 weeks), Tom DOYLE (hamstring – 1-2 weeks)

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

Here we are again.

Adelaide are winless through the first eight rounds of the season and head into Round 9 on the bottom of the Hyundai A-League table where they will host the second-bottom side.

The similarities with 2015/16 are uncanny.

Adelaide United players celebrate their equaliser against Brisbane on Friday night.

Last season, Guillermo Amor's side defeated Perth Glory 1-0 at Coopers Stadium to kick-start their campaign and eventually win the premiership-championship double.

On Sunday, the Reds will again meet Hyundai A-League's ninth-placed side - Wellington this time - and looking to end their winless start to the season.

No one would dare predict that Adelaide could pull off such an incredible comeback again but the omens are interesting to say the least.

The home side will have to do without Amor, however, with the Spaniard having been banned from the bench for a second game for touching a match official in Adelaide's 3-1 loss at Perth in Round 7.

Adelaide claimed a scoreless draw away to league leaders Sydney FC last week, while the Phoenix will arrive in South Australia on the back of a 2-1 road loss to Melbourne City.

Both credible performances if not the results either coach would have wanted.

Phoenix players celebrate Roy Krishna's penalty at AAMI Park.

Wellington do appear to be on the right track though, with Ernie Merrick's side having had their chances against City following on from two straight wins.

If either of these teams are to make the finals, you get the sense they have to win this match.

OPTA DATA

Who are the Hyundai A-League's top tacklers?

ROUTE TO GOAL

The Phoenix have one of the most in-form strikers in the A-League at the moment, with Roy Krishna (5 goals, 1 assist) having been involved in every one of Wellington's goals this term.

Merrick needs his two big off-season recruits - Kosta Barbarouses and Gui Finkler - to begin directly impacting the scoreboard.

Kosta Barbarouses was a standout as Wellington Phoenix downed Newcastle Jets 2-0 at Westpac Stadium.

The ex-Melbourne Victory pair have combined for just one assist - to Barbarouses - in 2016/17.

Apart from Sergio Cirio, who is still out with a knee injury, Adelaide have the majority of Amor's preferred attacking line-up fit again with Marcelo Carrusca and Henrique - the latter off the bench - joining Sergi Guardiola in the forward third last week.

Adelaide's young forwards such as Ryan Kitto and Nikola Mileusnic have impressed this season but Amor will surely want to see his more experienced attackers start to command starting positions over the coming weeks.

Adelaide United striker Sergi Guardiola opened his Hyundai A-League goal account in Round 4.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Alex Rodriguez. The Phoenix midfielder has a passing accuracy of 88.4 per cent in the opposition half this season - the best of any player in the A-League with a minimum of 15 passes.

FORM LINES

Adelaide United: LLDLD

Wellington Phoenix: LLWWL

PREDICTION

Adelaide United 2-1 Wellington Phoenix