Strap yourself in, this should be a doozy. Two unbeaten sides, fabulous football styles with star players and high-class coaches. What more could you want when the Reds host the Sky Blues in the City of Churches.
Friday, 7 November 2014
Adelaide United v Sydney FC
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Kick-Off: 7:15 PM (Local) (7:45 PM AEDT)
Referee: Alan Milliner
Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream
Assistant Referee 2: Paul Cetrangolo
Fourth Official: Daniel Elder
Live Coverage on SBS HD & SBS One from 7.30pm AEDT
Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 4HD & FOX SPORTS 4 from 7.30pm (AEDT), and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: Grandstand Online/A-League Live Mobile phone app
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ADLvSYD
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (c) (GK), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 5.Osama MALIK, 6.CÁSSIO, 7.PABLO SÁNCHEZ, 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Bruce DJITE, 16.Craig GOODWIN, 17.Awer MABIL, 18.Jimmy JEGGO, 20.Paul IZZO (GK), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 24.Bruce KAMAU, 32.Nathan KOSTANDOPOULOS
***two to be omitted***
Ins: 6.CÁSSIO (promoted), 7.PABLO SÁNCHEZ (promoted)
Unavailable: 14.Cameron WATSON (toe – 2 weeks), 15.Ben WARLAND (ankle – 3 weeks), 22.Fabio FERREIRA (hamstring 1-2 weeks), 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – indefinite)
Sydney FC squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (GK), 2.Sebastian RYALL, 3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 4.Pedj BOJIC, 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 7.Corey GAMEIRO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9. Shane SMELTZ, 11.Bernie IBINI, 12.Hagi GLIGOR, 13.Christopher NAUMOFF, 14. Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH, 17.Terry ANTONIS, 19.Nick CARLE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK), 21.Mark JANKO, 22.Ali ABBAS.
***two to be omitted***
Ins: Shane SMELTZ (promoted), 12.Hagi GLIGOR (promoted),
Unavailable: 5. Matthew JURMAN (knee).
We've got ourselves a Mexican stand-off at the top of the Hyundai A-League table, with three teams level on 10 points after four rounds of the season. Melbourne Victory are top courtesy of their superior goal difference and with Kevin Muscat's men not playing until Saturday night, the teams in second and third, Sydney FC and Adelaide United respectively, will scrap for the right to sit top of the pile at the final whistle on Friday night.
OPTA DATA STATS
We all think of Adelaide as a team that likes to build from the back, but they're also comfortable playing a quick ball forward.
Goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic sees plenty of the ball at his feet and had 53 touches in the 2-1 win away to Melbourne City on Friday night. Sydney's Vedran Janjetovic had just 35 touches in his team's 2-0 victory at home to Central Coast on Sunday, although that may have been a consequence of the Mariners' lack of threat at Allianz Stadium.
Galekovic played 38 passes at AAMI Park, 68.4 percent of them long, with 60.5 percent accuracy. Janjetovic played just 21 passes and only 23.8 percent of them were long, contributing to his impressive accuracy of 90.5 percent.
Keep an eye out for the Sky Blues' gloveman feeding the ball out short to his centre-backs or fullbacks, while the Reds' shot-stopper will attempt some more ambitious passes to whoever is free, particularly the floating Marcelo Carrusca or any of Adelaide's wide forwards.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Sydney FC's goals have arrived in unusual fashion in the last two rounds, particularly the 2-0 win away to Brisbane Roar. Take nothing away from Marc Janko's speculative strike from range or Milos Dimitrijevic's stunning effort, but a team on top form would be disappointed to concede both, arriving as they did from a combination of defensive errors, poor positioning from the goalkeeper and a general lack of urgency in midfield.
At home to Central Coast on Sunday, Terry Antonis lashed one home from long range that you won't see every week, while the second was scored with the aid of a deflection following a scramble in the box that started with a set-piece.
The Reds have proven themselves to be vulnerable from set-pieces, conceding goals to Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City from corners in Round 2 and Round 4.
Cut out those dead-ball opportunities and Adelaide may ask the first serious questions posed of the Sydney FC frontline this season.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS SEASON?
Antonis' good form early in 2014-15 has seen him rewarded with a call-up to the Socceroos squad for the friendly with Japan in November. It remains to be seen if the 20-year-old will add to his three full international caps, but he deserves the recognition.
Antonis named NAB Young Footballer of the Year nominee for October
Now it's up to the creative midfielder – judged the NAB Footballer of the Year October nominee - to maintain his high standard of performance throughout the domestic season. Do that, and the Sky Blues stand a decent chance of featuring at the business end of proceedings in April and May.
Adelaide and Sydney are both unbeaten so far in the league. The Reds won 2-1 away to Brisbane in Round 1, followed by a 1-1 draw at home to Victory, a 2-0 win at home to Perth Glory and a 2-1 triumph at Melbourne City last Friday.
The Sky Blues opened their campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to City, followed by a 3-2 win over Western Sydney, and 2-0 victories away to Brisbane Roar FC and at home to Central Coast respectively.
Josep Gombau's men needed extra-time to beat 10-man Sydney 3-1 in the quarter-finals of the FFA Cup on on October 21. How much influence will that result have on the coaches' plans going into this one?
DID YOU KNOW?
Sydney haven't beaten Adelaide away from home on their last three visits to South Australia. Their previous win on the Reds' turf came in February 2012. Ivan Necevski, Rhyan Grant and Nick Carle are the only survivors still with the Sky Blues from that matchday squad.
Result: Adelaide 2-0 Sydney
This is a tough one to call, but we think Adelaide demonstrated the model for an ideal home win in their 2-0 victory over the Glory in Round 3.
Gombau's men controlled possession, starved the visiting team's forwards of chances and keeping it tight at the back. If they can repeat the feat, paying particular attention to set-piece defending, the Sky Blues may struggle to make an impact.
For Graham Arnold's men, it's an opportunity to show what they can do against confident, in-form opponents - arguably their first of the campaign.
The outcome will be instructive.