Preview: Adelaide United v Newcastle Jets
The Reds may be sitting in seventh on the table but find themselves just two points adrift of top spot with a massive opportunity to press the frontrunners when they host Newcastle Jets on Monday afternoon.
Date: Monday October 5 Kick-off: 4:30pm (5:00pm AEDT) Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 1 and Sky Sports 3. To purchase tickets visit www.venuetix.com.au
Head-to-head Played 13: Wins: Adelaide 6, Newcastle 4. Draws: 3
Previous meeting Adelaide United 2, Newcastle Jets 0, Hindmarsh Stadium, Round 19, January 2009
Last five matches: Adelaide United: Round 4: Adelaide United 3, North Queensland Fury 3, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 5: Wellington Phoenix 1, Adelaide United 1, Westpac Stadium Round 6: Adelaide United 1, Central Coast Mariners 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 7: Adelaide United 0, Melbourne Victory 2, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 8: North Queensland 0, Adelaide United 2, Dairy Farmers Stadium
Newcastle Jets: Round 4: Newcastle Jets 1, Gold Coast United 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 5: Melbourne Victory 1, Newcastle Jets 1, Etihad Stadium Round 6: Newcastle Jets 0, Brisbane Roar 3, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 7: Sydney FC 2, Newcastle Jets 1, Sydney Football Stadium Round 8: Newcastle Jets 0, Perth Glory 1, EnergyAustralia Stadium
Analysis: It's been a funny old year for Adelaide United. The Reds may be sitting in seventh on the table but find themselves just two points adrift of top spot with a massive opportunity to press the frontrunners when they host Newcastle Jets on Monday afternoon.
Adelaide, though, has a bit of a hex to overcome if it's to earn maximum points, having not won two games in a row this season. Indeed, every time it appears the Reds are building some winning momentum, some obstacle stops them in their tracks, like half their players going down injured or a freak goal like the one scored by Melbourne's Nick Ward a fortnight ago. But coach Aurelio Vidmar will be determined to take the form shown during the second half of last week's 2-0 win over North Queensland into this game, although there's still a few issues to overcome.
For instance, Vidmar will be wanting his side to hit its straps from the word go as opposed to just playing the second period. If it weren't for a sensational goalkeeping performance by Eugene Galekovic the Fury could have been eight goals ahead last week as Daniel McBreen attacked at every opportunity. Adelaide's midfield appeared somewhat listless going forward as both skipper Travis Dodd and Lucas Pantelis laboured a little, while Lloyd Owusu continued to look isolated as a lone striker up front. But, as soon as Dodd opted to lift his game, he seemed to take his team-mates along for the ride, with Pantelis lifting to score a great goal before youngster Matthew Leckie brought the house down with one of the season's great individual efforts.
Fortunately for Vidmar, there have been no further injuries this week and instead, he's welcomed back Alemao and Fabien Barbiero, along with the promoted Francesco Monterosso. Leckie's effort last week may also have convinced him to play two strikers for at least some period of the game as Leckie's pace complements Owusu's cunning, while his defence appears more settled by the week as Iain Fyfe and Mark Rudan are coming together nicely.
Branko Culina's Jets are a complete contrast to the Adelaide picture, though, but Vidmar certainly won't be taking them lightly. A Newcastle squad depleted by injury and the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, may have lost three matches in a row, but outplayed both Sydney and Perth in the last two games, only to fall victims to late penalties.
The Jets' main problem has been a lack of clinical finishing, as demonstrated by last week's 1-0 loss to Perth where they created plenty of chances without putting any away. But Newcastle's strike power has been immensely boosted this week as Sasho Petrovski returns from injury to face his former club, while Culina is playing new signing Michael Bridges, along with the experienced Jobe Wheelhouse.
Culina will be certainly hoping his side's luck changes as it's slipped to ninth on the table after a bright start to the campaign. If it could only put away some early chances and force the opposition to attack the game, then it just might. But whether the depleted Jets can do find a way through Adelaide's impressive rearguard remains to be seen.
Adelaide United Squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.ALEMAO, 4.Iain FYFE, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 8.Kristian SARKIES, 9.CRISTIANO, 10.Adam HUGHES, 11.Lloyd OWUSU, 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Scott JAMIESON, 15.Francesco MONTEROSSO, 16.Inseob SHIN, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 19.Mathew LECKIE, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 21.Mark RUDAN
*three to be omitted*
In: ALEMAO (returns from injury), Francesco MONTEROSSO (promoted), Fabian BARBIERO (promoted)
Unavailable: Daniel MULLEN (international duty), Paul REID (thigh/quad - 2 weeks), Michael MARRONE (knee - 3 weeks), Joe COSTA (knee - indefinite)
Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Angelo COSTANZO, 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 7. Jin-Hyung SONG, 8. Matt THOMPSON (c), 9. Sasho PETROVSKI, 10. Donny DE GROOT, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 14. Michael BRIDGES, 17. Fabio VIGNAROLI, 19. Jason NAIDOVSKI, 20. Neil YOUNG (gk), 22. Kaz PATAFTA, 25. Labinot HALITI, 26. Ali ABBAS
*three to be omitted*
In: Sasho PETROVSKI (returns from injury), Jobe WHEELHOUSE (returns from injury), Michael BRIDGES (new signing)
Unavailable: Ben KANTAROVSKI (international duty), Shaun ONTONG (Achilles - indefinite), Sean ROONEY (international duty), Jason HOFFMAN (international duty), Marko JESIC (knee - indefinite)