Hyundai A-League preview: Reds v Wanderers

Harvey Norman Friday Night Football has a Hyundai A-League grand final rematch to kick off Round 2, featuring a couple of big clubs desperate to garner three points to kick-start their seasons.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Adelaide United v Western Sydney Wanderers FC

Coopers Stadium, Adelaide

Kick-Off: 7:20PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEDT))

Referee: Shaun Evans

Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream

Assistant Referee 2: Paul Cetrangolo

Fourth Official: Rick Schneider

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), SBS TWO from 7.30pm AEDT and Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 891 ABC Adelaide & ABC Local Radio SA, 702 ABC Sydney & ABC Local Radio NSW, 666 ABC Canberra, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, Crocmedia A-League Live (www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio), EON Sports Radio (eonsportsradio.com), FIVEaa (1395AM), Hawkesbury Radio

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

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au

Danny Choi

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 7.HENRIQUE, 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Sergi GUARDIOLA, 11.Sergio CIRIO, 12.Mark OCHIENG, 15.Ben WARLAND, 16.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 18.Riley McGREE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.John HALL (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Ryan KITTO, 24.Jordan O’DOHERTY, 25.James HOLLAND, 45.Danny CHOI

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 12.Mark OCHIENG (promoted), 45.Danny CHOI (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 2.Michael MARRONE (achilles – 11 weeks), 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA (foot – 6 weeks), 17.Nikola MILEUSNIC (quad – 5 weeks), 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – season)

Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 2.Shannon COLE, 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Steve LUSTICA, 8.Dimas (c), 9.Kerem BULUT, 10.Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 18.Robbie CORNTHWAITE, 19.Jacob MELLING, 20.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 2.Shannon COLE (promoted), 3.Jack CLISBY (promoted), 19.Jacob MELLING (promoted)

Outs: 17.Aritz BORDA (suspended – 1 week)

Unavailable: 21.Mario SHABOW (national duty – 3 weeks), 23.Lachlan SCOTT (national duty – 3 weeks), 25.Liam YOULLEY (national duty – 3 weeks), 26.Jackson BANDIERA (national duty – 3 weeks)

Sydney Derby gallery lead

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

A Hyundai A-League grand final rematch to begin Round 2? Yes, please!

Adelaide United will look to get their premiership-championship defence going against the team they defeated 3-1 to lift the championship in May, with the Reds having not lost in five consecutive home games against Western Sydney Wanderers.

In fact, the Wanderers have only won once in their past nine meetings with Adelaide.

Those are troublesome stats for Tony Popovic, who watched his Wanderers slump to a 4-0 defeat against Sydney FC in the derby in Round 1.

Adelaide didn't start the new season brilliantly either, however, and needed a defensive blunder to claim a 1-1 draw away to Newcastle Jets last week.

It will take time for Guillermo Amor's new players to gel after a season of upheaval at Coopers Stadium but with the back four, plus goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic, fairly settled, expect the Reds too remain difficult to beat.

And they’ve added former Jets defender Taylor Regan to bolster their defensive roster.

Western Sydney have again gone through a squad overhaul and, although not every new player impressed against the Sky Blues, Japanese winger Jumpei and Argentine midfielder Nicolas Martinez look to be real finds for Popovic.

But they’ll be missing captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley who’s been granted a release from the club to pursue an overseas opportunity.

OPTA DATA

Hyundai A-League stats preview: Round 2

ROUTE TO GOAL

The forward third could be where Adelaide fans need to be their most patient over the next month, with the likes of Bruce Djite, Pablo Sanchez, Bruce Kamau and Craig Goodwin all having departed since last season.

Recent arrivals Sergi Guardiola, Henrique and Jesse Makarounas showed bits and pieces against the Jets but it remains to be seen whether Amor has signed the right players up front.

But keep an eye out for Danny Choi - the FFA Cup star has been signed as cover for Marcelo Carrusca and could be an eye-catching acquisition. 

By contrast, Tony Popovic looks to have the right building blocks to create an impressive front four in 2016-17 with Kerem Bulut likely to be supported by Mitch Nichols, Jumpei and Martinez.

Jumpei's dribbling caught the eye at ANZ Stadium last week and Martinez added a spark off the bench, so if Bulut can get his radar right, Western Sydney will score plenty of goals.

Adelaide United players celebrate their equaliser against Newcastle in Round 1.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Wanderers skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley. He’s been granted a temporary release by the club to ‘pursue and overseas opportunity’.

FORM LINES

Since their grand final triumph at the Adelaide Oval, the Reds have won just three of eight matches - whether in friendlies, FFA Cup ties or last week's A-League fixture.

Those victories came against a club from South Australia's third tier, plus two Malaysian clubs, which does leave some doubt over whether Amor's men really are ready to defend their silverware.

The Wanderers haven't been in brilliant form either heading into the new campaign but that shouldn't concern Popovic.

Western Sydney have never won in the opening two rounds of the A-League - and have only won in the third round once - but have reached the grand final in three of their four seasons in the competition.

Last week Wanderers lost 4-0 to Sydney FC. The Reds drew 1-1 in Newcastle.

PREDICTION

Adelaide United 2 Western Sydney Wanderers 2