After almost a week in Melbourne, Gary van Egmond and his Newcastle Jets return to familiar surroundings as they play host to second-placed Adelaide United on Saturday evening.
Date: Saturday January 5, 2013 Kick-off: 5:30pm AEDT Venue:Hunter Stadium, Newcastle Head-to-head Played: 23, Wins: Newcastle Jets 7, Adelaide United 10, Draws: 6
Previous encounter Adelaide United 2 Newcastle Jets 0, October 7 2012
Form: Past five matches: Newcastle Jets: LLWLL Adelaide United: WLLWW
The Game After almost a week in Melbourne, Gary van Egmond and his Newcastle Jets return to familiar surroundings as they play host to second-placed Adelaide United on Saturday evening.
The Jets' time in Melbourne was not an enjoyable experience, suffering defeats to both Victory and Heart, having arrived in the state with confidence following a dominant win over Sydney FC.
Five goals were conceded in two games at AAMI Park, meaning the Jets have failed to keep a clean sheet all season, further highlighting the team's defensive frailties.
The Hunter Valley-based outfit sit in eighth position, a solitary point adrift of a finals berth despite a dreadful run of results, which consists of five defeats from six games.
As for Adelaide United, they continue to march toward their first top-two finish since the 2008/09 season.
John Kosmina's team were beaten in consecutive matches for the first time this term, when they were annihilated 6-1 by new boys Western Sydney Wanderers and 1-0 at the hands of defending champions Brisbane Roar five days later.
But the Reds bounced back on New Year's Eve, comfortably accounting for cellar-dwellers Sydney FC 3-0.
And they are now firmly entrenched in the top two, two points behind pacesetters Central Coast Mariners and five points clear of Western Sydney with 14 rounds completed.
The big issue Newcastle Jets - Newcastle's defence. In 14 games the Jets have shipped 28 goals, the second-highest amount in the A-League behind Sydney FC (30). Van Egmond has chopped and changed his back four this season to no avail but he will he need to stick to his guns to find the right formula. And with Scott Neville expected to miss Saturday's fixture, pressure will be on whoever is selected to perform at Hunter Stadium. Coincidently, the Jets have not kept a clean sheet since defeating the Reds 2-0 in February last year.
Adelaide United- How will Adelaide United fare in their first away trip since that thrashing against Western Sydney? The Reds promised so much in the lead up but were ripped to shreds by a rampant Wanderers side, losing 6-1 on December 21. Adelaide were a shadow of what we have come to expect this season. Strong defensively and in the attacking third, the Reds are capable of sweeping all before them but need to snap a two-game losing streak away from home, with seven of their final 13 regular season games on the road.
Gamebreaker Dario Vidosic - If the attacking midfielder was not in contention for a return to international duty before this season, he definitely is now. Vidosic has sizzled this season, netting eight goals, including a first-half brace against Sydney FC. And while he has found the net regularly, his ability to bring team-mates into the contest has been even more impressive. An opportunity to add to his 14 Socceroos appearances beckons.
Prediction Newcastle 1-2 Adelaide. The Reds ran out 2-0 winners in the teams' season opener in Newcastle, ending a four-game winless run against the Jets and they should be good enough to claim all three points against a leaky defensive unit.