Preview: Nothing Less Than a Win
Fresh off an encouraging performance against Perth Glory, our boys head up to the City of Churches on Saturday night to face an Adelaide United side who are high on confidence after securing back-to-back victories against Melbourne Victory and Western United respectively.
Coach Erick Mombaerts said that we can build on Saturday night’s result, highlighting the need to maintain a solid defensive approach whilst balancing efforts to play possession-based football at the same intensity. The Frenchman also emphasised the importance of new signing Markel Susaeta when it comes to our offensive potency.
Whilst it was disappointing not to get the three points against Perth, there’s no doubt our team put in a solid performance, with new signings Jack Hendry and Markel Susaeta especially impressive on their starting debut. The gaffer did, however, call for patience with both of them, eluding to Hendry’s minimal training time with the team and Susaeta’s fitness, indicating there may still be some time before they make the next step.
The gaffer could have a bit of a selection headache this week, as there will be notable ins and outs for Saturday’s game. After picking up his fifth yellow card of the season, captain Scott Jamieson will serve a mandatory one-match suspension, which could pave the way for the versatile Scott Galloway to return the starting line-up.
Our Olyroo representatives will all likely make a return too, with the most notable returnee being Tom Glover, who mightn't slot straight back into the side given the recent form of Dean Bouzanis, who now has two consecutive clean sheets.
Connor Metcalfe, Ramy Najarine and Denis Genreau may also struggle for starting selection given the good form of our midfielders and attackers in their absence.
Our opponents will be no easy beats though, as many fans will agree given they're likely still hurting from our FFA Cup Final defeat in October.
Riley McGree and Nikola Mileusnic loom as the danger men that we must shut down if we’re going to get a result.
During his half-time interview against Western United on Sunday, Mileusnic highlighted his team’s counter-attacking game plan as a big focus to beating the league’s newcomers, a tactic which his side executed perfectly and which we'll need to be wary of when we face them.
If we’re able to shut down Adelaide’s ability to get us on the counter-attack and maintain our defensive solidity, whilst putting in a more clinical attacking performance, we'll be going a long way towards exacting our revenge upon the Reds.
In order to continue fending off Perth and Wellington, who are breathing down our necks, anything less than a win is unacceptable.
Final score prediction: Adelaide United 0-1 Melbourne City