Preview: Adelaide United vs Wellington Phoenix
Adelaide United hasn't lost to Wellington Phoenix in four contests and back in Round 3 a miserable Ricki Herbert watched on as his team feebly went down 3-0 at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Date: Friday December 5 Kick-off: 7.30pm local (8pm AET) Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium Coverage: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and Sky Sport 1. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is FRESH FM (Adelaide) and Radio Network (Wellington) 1035AM. To purchase tickets visit www.venuetix.com.au.
Head-to-head Past 4 Hyundai A-League meetings: Adelaide United - 3 wins, Wellington Phoenix - 0 wins, Draws - 1.
Previous meeting Adelaide United 3, Wellington Phoenix 0, Hindmarsh Stadium, Round 3, August 30 2008
Past Five Games Adelaide United: Round 9: Adelaide United 2, Perth Glory 1, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 10: Adelaide United 2, Melbourne Victory 3, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 11: Central Coast 3, Adelaide United 0, Bluetongue Stadium Round 12: Adelaide United 2, Sydney FC 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 13: Newcastle Jets 1, Adelaide United 1, EnergyAustralia Stadium
Wellington Phoenix: Round 9: Wellington Phoenix 0, Queensland Roar 1, Westpac Stadium Round 10: Perth Glory 2, Wellington Phoenix 0, Members Equity Stadium Round 11: Sydney FC 1, Wellington Phoenix 2, Sydney Football Stadium Round 12: Wellington Phoenix 2, Newcastle Jets 0, Westpac Stadium Round 13: Wellington Phoenix 2, Melbourne Victory 1, Westpac Stadium
Analysis Adelaide United hasn't lost to Wellington Phoenix in four contests and back in Round 3 a miserable Ricki Herbert watched on as his team feebly went down 3-0 at Hindmarsh Stadium.
The head-to-head statistics are definitely in the Reds' favour but may mean nothing when the teams clash on Friday.
Wellington is the form side of the competition having won against Sydney, Newcastle and Melbourne in the past three weeks while Adelaide's recent form is patchy at best.
The Reds had a breakthrough win against the Sky Blues a fortnight ago but could only manage a 1-1 draw against the struggling Jets on Sunday.
Adelaide has admitted many of its recent problems have occurred in the attacking third where the team's strikers and midfielders are struggling to have an impact. There hasn't been enough crosses or shots and as a result goals have been hard to come by.
Cristiano could be the trump card for the home side with the Brazilian publicly airing his disappointment at starting on the bench in the last two games. If he starts, he'll be doing everything in his powers to regain the trust of coach Aurelio Vidmar.
Fellow Brazilian Cassio was rested with a calf strain in Round 13 but has been included in the squad, adding another steady performer in the middle of the pitch and in defence.
Maintaining focus will be another challenge for United. On Saturday the team will travel to Japan, via Sydney, to prepare for their opening Club World Cup clash against Waitakere United. They'll also be playing with the knowledge that their next Hyundai A-League game isn't until December 26.
The Phoenix's schedule isn't as demanding but the ever-present travel factor and some long white injury clouds over players could affect their chances of success.
Shane Smeltz (calf) and Fred (groin) have strains but are expected to play. Smeltz has been particularly influential this season and scored the match-winner against Melbourne Victory.
It'll be a blow if he misses the game against his old club.
Karl Dodd, who walked through Adelaide Airport anonymously on Thursday, is on standby if either player doesn't come up in time.
The good news is Wellington now have a spread of players contributing, Andrew Durante and Ben Sigmund proving key figures last week, and should be ready for a ding-dong battle with Adelaide.
The Phoenix can move into third position if they win while United may have a brief stay at the top of the ladder if they're successful, so there's plenty to play for.
The home ground advantage should give the Reds the edge but a draw is the more likely result.
Adelaide United Squad. 20.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.ALEMAO, 4.Angelo COSTANZO, 5.Michael VALKANIS, 6.CASSIO, 8.Kristian SARKIES, 10.CRISTIANO, 13.Travis DODD (capt.), 14.Scott JAMIESON, 15.Jonas SALLEY, 16.Daniel MULLEN, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 19.Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 21.Jason SPAGNUOLO, 22.DIEGO, 24.Paul REID, 25.Robert YOUNIS, 30.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk).
*5 to be omitted.
In. Robert CORNTHWAITE, Michael VALKNAIS, Robert YOUNIS, CASSIO.
Wellington Phoenix Squad. 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 2. Jeremy CHRISTIE, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Jon McKAIN, 5. Karl DODD, 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS, 9. Shane SMELTZ, 10. Michael FERRANTE, 11. DANIEL, 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 20. Glen MOSS (gk), 22. Andrew DURANTE (captain), 25. Manny MUSCAT, 27. FRED.
* one to be omitted.
In. 5. Karl DODD (return from suspension).