Cornthwaite’s Corner: Reds both exciting and frustrating

You get your money’s worth as an Adelaide United fan, but they are as exciting as they are frustrating.

I spoke last week about how difficult some of these games at unusual times in empty stadiums can be. There’s nothing external to get you excited for the game, and you almost want to get it out of the way and get home.

Adelaide looked like they were still on the bus during the first half with some of the passing, particularly in midfield, aimless. They showed no energy or intent and didn’t really look like they wanted to be there. I didn’t think the Bulls pressed the Reds all that well or with a lot of vigour, but United continually gave the ball away and looked all at sea in defence.

The defence has been talked about a lot over the years, and it doesn’t seem to be an issue that’s going away anytime soon. Either the way the side is being told to defend isn’t working or the players can’t execute Carl’s instructions. I know it was only preseason, but Adelaide proved it could keep clean sheets, so I tend to think it’s the latter.

Carl has changed his back four a lot in previous seasons but has largely stuck to the same four this time around other than at right back. I wonder whether it’s worth a reshuffle.

From a basics point of view, there were a lot of individual errors. Players going to ground is a bugbear of mine, and making a huge lunging challenge is lazy. Get low, move your feet, and don’t sell yourself down the river. If I were a video analyst for another club, I’d be telling my players to fake the shot and get Adelaide’s defence on the floor.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom; the game was there for Adelaide to win despite its defensive frailties. Zach Clough has had a solid start to the season and has earned himself a new contract, even if I was a little surprised to see it confirmed so early in the season. Musa Toure off the bench looks dangerous and is nearing a start, in my opinion.

A Sunday date with the Roar

Brisbane comes to town this weekend under the guidance of Ross Aloisi, a man who knows Adelaide inside and out. The way he has the Roar playing should concern United fans. He’s turned the tide there quickly, and the way they press and spring forward in attack will cause United all sorts of issues if they are careless in defence and in possession.

I love Luka Jovanović, but I’d love to see Hiroshi Ibusuki start on Sunday. Bypass the press in the first half, and don’t allow Aloisi’s men to build any momentum or get on the front foot. It’s not about pumping it long but getting the ball up to Hiro’s head or feet, allowing the midfield to come onto the ball facing forward. They can then look to get up the pitch and play the wide men in. More possession in Brisbane’s back third will be important in pinning them back.

We know what Adelaide has on the bench and how many late goals they’ve scored over the years. We haven’t seen it yet this season but with the right set up, we could see United come home with a wet sail this weekend  

This game is dangerous for the home side, but if I’ve learned anything in the past few seasons, never try to predict the Adelaide United score line.

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