With a distinct tiki-taka feel, SBS ONE’s Lucy Zelic is tipping the Reds to turn on the style in Melbourne when they face a wounded Melbourne City in what might be David Villa's final game in Oz this Friday night.
The in-form Reds head to AAMI Park in cracking form and will be confident of continuing City’s slow start to the new season.
While Spain World Cup winner Villa – playing his last game before heading back to New York next week – is the headline act, Adelaide have their own Spanish sensations in their line-up.
Key players Sergio Cirio, Isaias and Pablo Sanchez are all in the Reds side, while coach Josep Gombau and technical director Guillermo Amor both hail from the famed Barcelona system.
Amor is a legend at Barca and in Spain and even worked with Villa at the Nou Camp during his time as technical director at the club.
And Zelic believe it all adds up to being a football feast in Melbourne on Friday night.
“Absolutely but naturally we expect the Reds to deliver the bulk of the Spanish flare,” Zelic told www.a-league.com.au.
“Josep Gombau’s influence was apparent from the moment he stepped foot into the role with Adelaide and what we’ve witnessed in the last twelve months are the players adapt to an incredibly exciting and entertaining brand of football.
“Gombau’s vision and what he was trying to achieve was always evident, it’s just that now we’re starting to see the fruits of his labour. Expect another high-attacking approach from the former Barcelona youth coach and for David Villa to come out firing in his last match.
“The former Spain international is the type of player who could wreak havoc on Gombau’s favoured 3-4-3 system.”
Adelaide is one of three sides sitting atop the Hyundai A-League ladder alongside Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory as the only unbeaten sides left in the competition.
While Victory and the Sky Blues are many peoples early favourites, Zelic believes the Reds are a serious title threat.
“During the pre-season I tipped the Reds to finish as Premiers and after three rounds of football, it’s not all that difficult to believe,” she said.
“The league has evolved dramatically in season 10 and it’s been thrilling to watch the likes of Sydney FC and the Victory set the standard of what we can expect.
“Hot on their heels though are a Reds side who have started off the season brilliantly and I am predicting it’s going to be a tight race in the lead up to the finals between these three sides.”
Asked how she assessed Villa’s contribution to the Hyundai A-League during his short stint, Zelic said: “It’s not every day that a player of David Villa’s calibre hits the Australian football scene.
“In two games of football, he’s scored twice and his presence on the pitch is always felt by his teammates and the fans. It’s unfortunate that we won’t be able to see more of him because his future with City still hangs in the balance.
“One thing is certain though, he lived up to the hype and we can only hope he gives the fans more of what they wanted to see from him.”
So who’s Zelic tipping in this Friday night fiesta?
“I’m going for Adelaide United to win 2-1.”