Hyundai A-League season preview: Adelaide United

Last season, Adelaide United won the Westfield FFA Cup and came within 90 minutes of reaching the Hyundai A-League grand final.

With this in mind, the 2015-16 campaign was looming as the season when the Reds made the step up from nearly men to genuine championship contenders, but the resignation of talismanic head coach Josep Gombau is a major threat to the Reds' steady recent progress.

It's now down to Guillermo Amor, a man with hundreds of La Liga matches for Barcelona but little management experience, to try and continue the good work done by his fellow Spaniard.

Adelaide United's starting XI during their recent friendly with Spanish outfit Villarreal.


        Does Amor have the magic touch of a Gombau?


·         More focus and a ruthless edge is required to progress.


The Reds' FFA Cup defence came to an end in the form of a 3-1 loss to Melbourne Victory in the quarter-finals. They will have a chance for revenge when they host the champions at Adelaide Oval in round one of the new season on October 9. That's followed by the visit of Western Sydney Wanderers to Coopers Stadium, before a trip to take on Perth Glory in round three.


Isaias, Marcelo Carrusca and Sergio Cirio are all gifted technicians, with Pablo Sanchez, Bruce Djite and now Eli Babalj capable of adding the finishing touches to that accomplished build-up play with their collective and individual threat in the final third.

Marcelo Carrusca on the ball.


The departure of ball-playing centre-back Nigel Boogaard could prove to be a big blow to Adelaide's style of play. The Reds liked to build from the back under Gombau, with Boogaard enjoying an extraordinary amount of touches for a defender, frequently receiving the ball from goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic and distributing it accurately to those in more advanced positions. 


It will be up to new signing Iacopo La Rocca to try and fill the void left by Boogaard at the back. 

We have been more used to seeing the Italian in holding midfield during his time at the Western Sydney Wanderers, but he's likely to start in central defence alongside Osama Malik at Coopers Stadium. Will it prove to be an inspired decision to pick up the 2014 AFC Champions League winner?

There are no indications that Amor intends to move away from the tried and trusted 4-3-3 that served the Reds well under Gombau, who occasionally experimented by using a 3-4-3, with mixed results. 


Flying winger Awer Mabil has left Adelaide for Danish club FC Midtjylland, leaving a vacancy for a young, exciting attacker to light up Reds games and entertain supporters with his pace and endeavour. Bruce Kamau, behind Mabil in the pecking order last season, could well be that man. 

Bruce Kamau, 20 - Adelaide United


Adelaide playmaker Marcelo Carrusca, always a lively presence on Twitter, wasn't impressed by the efforts of the match officials during the feisty quarter-final loss to fierce rivals Victory in the FFA Cup. 


Expectations are likely to be slightly lower under Amor than they would have been if Gombau was entering his third season in charge.

However, given their efforts during the past two campaigns and with a strong squad at their disposal, Reds supporters are unlikely to be happy with anything less than a top-four finish and competitive finals display from their team. Another semi-final defeat or even a grand final loss would be no disgrace.

Bowing out at the first hurdle or failing to finish in the top six though will be unacceptable. 

Adelaide United's new Kappa playing kits.

The odds

TAB Hyundai A-League Season 11 Championship Futures

Championship: 7

Premiership: 5

Wooden spoon: 13

Top scorer: Bruce Djite: 10.00

*Market prices are taken as at 23/9/15