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Unchanged squad; Experts have their say

Training

Adelaide United play its first home match of the Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 season on Saturday night against defending champions and title contenders Melbourne City.

The Reds come into the clash off the back of an enthralling 1-1 draw at Perth Glory, while City held on to claim a 2-1 win against Brisbane Roar.

Adelaide have not suffered a home defeat against their Victorian rivals since December 2018.

In his pre-match press conference Carl Veart believed City have the best attack in the competition, and said the level of intensity and pressure the Reds apply will determine how effective they will be able to stifle Melbourne’s free-flowing game style.


Team news

George Blackwood remains unavailable with a groin issue but is expected to return to training and join the main group soon. Meanwhile, Nick Ansell trained fully this week after being substituted at half-time against Perth as a precaution and has put his hand up for selection.

What the experts say

Simon Hill: I thought the Reds did well against Perth – could have won the match, but equally, could also have lost it. United need to find a regular goal scorer to finish off some of the chances.

Robert Cornthwaite: I thought Adelaide were excellent in their opening round fixture. It is never easy to go to Perth and in front of a big home crowd and the excitement of Sturridge, the boys did really well particularly early on to be able to take control of the match. Better finishing early and the game could have been out of reach for Perth. Plenty of energy.

City can take a game away from you in the space of 5 minutes and they did that against Brisbane. Everyone knows they have fire power. Maclaren would have usually scored some if his opportunities last week so Adelaide be where. He’s due. City look so balanced and settled although Nabbout looks rusty. They have ample back up with Tilio and Colakovski. Not much to not like about City.

Travis Dodd: Early in the season obviously for both teams. Not a lot of competitive matches for either team. City will be encouraged by a win in Round 1 against Brisbane Roar. Leckie will be looking to build up his fitness and continue to get minutes in his legs. Jamo….is Jamo….an angry little ginger. United will be looking to make up for last week where they had the better of glory for long periods of the match but couldn’t capitalise in front of goals.

One to watch

Simon Hill: Isaías is going to be key for this one – his organisational skills against the pre-season favourites are going to be vital.

Robert Cornthwaite: Delianov made some big saves last week and will be needed again against the all-star attack for city. He’s going to need to be at his best against his old side.

Travis Dodd: Yengi. He will need to continue to be a presence leading the line. He will be coming up against two experienced centre-backs in Curtis Good and Nuno Reis. He should be full of confidence after getting off the mark with his opening goal of the season.

Key battle

Simon Hill: Jakobsen v Maclaren. Keeping the golden boot winner quiet will be vital for the Reds.

Robert Cornthwaite: The match up for me is Cavallo at LB v Nabbout for City. I think Nabbout doesn’t look anywhere near his best and if Josh can take him the other way and make him defend then Adelaide could have a real attacking advantage down that side. Josh has never let the team down when called upon since arriving at the club and I think Saturday night will be no different.

Travis Dodd: Key battle is not a 1v1 but 4v3. City’s attack v United’s defence. City are oozing with attacking options and will keep the back four on their toes all night.

One change you’d like to see

Simon Hill: Not tactical per se, but the game against Perth showed how vulnerable the team could be in defensive transition – particularly against pace.

Robert Cornthwaite: I think the boys snatched at a few of their chances. Especially in the first half. Just take that extra half a second to compose or take a touch. They have the ability to hurt teams but they have to bury them when the opportunity presents.

Travis Dodd: It will be GOOD to see GOODWIN get more minutes this week as he will be an important player for United moving forward in both scoring and creating goals this season. Adelaide should look to expose Melbourne City’s weak link, being their left-back. United can look to take advantage of the ageing star.

Head-to-head
Played: 34
Wins: 13
Draws: 9
Losses: 12

Last five meetings
4-1 loss (A)
2-0 win (H)
2-2 draw (A)
3-1 win (H)
2-1 loss (A)

Predictions

Simon Hill: I think this will finish as a 1-1 draw. City are very difficult to keep scoreless with the firepower they have, but with home support, the Reds can make it two unbeaten to start the season.

Robert Cornthwaite: I expect plenty of chances at both ends and plenty of free flowing football. The Reds still have a slightly new look defence and it might take time. 2-2.

Travis Dodd: United will be coming up against an experienced and star studded attack and the back four for United will need to be at their best. Prediction 2-2.

Match details:
Saturday, 27 November vs Melbourne City
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 – Round 2
Kick-off 7.15pm ACDT
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Broadcast: Channel 10
Stream: Paramount+

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