Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers will meet in Round 15 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Coopers Stadium on Sunday, January 19 at 5.00pm AEDT (4.30pm local time).
Played 4 – Wins: Adelaide 1, Western Sydney 3, Draws: 0
Western Sydney 2-1 Adelaide, November 1, 2013
Past five matches
Western Sydney: LWLDW
After a lacklustre performance in their 3-1 loss to Melbourne Victory on Tuesday night, Western Sydney Wanderers will enter their third game in eight days under significant pressure. While the reigning A-League premiers remain second on the table, two defeats in their past three fixtures has put the spotlight on Tony Popovic’s men. It is testament to the incredible success the Wanderers have achieved in their one and a half seasons that most A-League pundits believe Western Sydney have yet to reach their best in the current campaign.
It could be argued that the Wanderers could not face a tougher test on Sunday than a trip to Coopers Stadium to take on Adelaide United. The Reds are the form team in the competition with three wins and two draws in their past five games. Since Josep Gombau had a run in with a local journalist, Adelaide have remained undefeated and claimed their best win of the season last week with a 2-1 triumph away to league leaders Brisbane Roar. While Adelaide remain outside the A-League’s top six, another strong performance this week would enhance their credentials as a dark horse for the championship.
The big issue:
Adelaide – Gombau’s men are on a roll but can Adelaide put in a dominant performance after, arguably, riding their luck against 10 players in the past two matches? Sydney FC went very close to nicking all three points in Round 13 with Corey Gameiro missing two decent chances, while Brisbane kept chasing victory at Suncorp Stadium last week despite Diogo Ferreira’s first-half red card. In Round 4, Adelaide had 62 percent possession away to Western Sydney but lost 2-1. If they can turn that kind of dominance into a comprehensive victory this week, the league will certainly take notice.
Western Sydney – Last season, the Wanderers entered the finals as the equal-third most-prolific scoring team in the A-League despite a genuine lead striker. Western Sydney scored just over 1.5 goals per game but despite new recruit Tomi Juric, who has five goals in nine matches, leading the line brilliantly this campaign, the Wanderers’ scoring threat has actually diminished. Western Sydney have 17 goals in 15 games at 1.13 per match. Popovic needs some of his other attackers to chip in with Mark Bridge, Shinji Ono and Youssouf Hersi yet to reach the scoring heights of last season.
The game breaker:
Ryan Griffiths – Before the versatile attacker left for Beijing Baxy midway through last season, Griffiths was arguably one of the best players in the A-League having scored nine goals in 21 games for Newcastle Jets and created another seven. Able to play out wide, as a central striker and in the hole, Gombau should be able to find a spot for the 32-year-old in his starting line-up and Griffiths’ element of mongrel could be critical against the Western Sydney machine.