Adelaide United kick-off a New Year’s Day double header at Coopers Stadium against Perth Glory in Round 5 of the Liberty A-League 2021/22 season.
The Reds will be aiming to get back to winning ways after suffering a 3-1 loss to Melbourne City nearly two weeks’ ago.
The scoreline arguably flattered the hosts in that game with Adrian Stenta’s side putting City under immense pressure in the second-half before they scored a stoppage time sealer.
Adelaide has one win and two defeats from its opening three matches and Stenta is targeting more consistency from his team over the course of the entire 90 minutes.
Perth Glory are a much-improved side having begun the season with successive triumphs over Brisbane Roar.
The Glory finished bottom last season without a victory but have started this campaign strongly.
However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions, Perth have not played since December 10, potentially impacting the momentum they have created.
United are also unbeaten in its previous six meetings against them, prevailing in both matches last year, while its most recent setback occurred in December 2016.
New signings Dylan Holmes and Kayla Sharples could make their first appearances for the season, while Isabel Hodgson is still out with a hamstring injury. Natasha Brough is unavailable.
What the expert says
Grace Gill: The Glory have had an ideal start to their campaign and with the exception of their slight halt in proceedings this last week due to COVID delays, they’re running with a good bit of momentum. Two wins from two is a perfect start. It will be key to Perth if they can keep their strikers De Vanna and Crane fit for the season, as they’re both potent for Perth’s attack. At the other end of the field, Aquino has been really solid and has started her season brilliantly.
For Adelaide, their start has been a little more shaky but not without huge promise. To come back from a tough opening game against Victory to then grab the three points v Canberra, shows the type of fight Adelaide have. An in-form Dawber, Worts and Condon is a frightening prospect for any opposition. Fingers crossed for the Adelaide side that Isabel Hodgson is returning fit to play.
One to watch
Grace Gill: Fiona Worts. Fiona has been a stand out in Adelaide’s opening games – she’s been creating fantastic opportunities for herself and her teammates and she’s looking dangerous in the final third. I expect we’ll see more goals from her this season.
Grace Gill: I’m really interested to see the midfield match-up between these two sides, particularly how the experience of Stanbury plays out against a younger player in the likes of Sofia Sakalis. While they may not be direct opponents on the field (or they could be!), Sakalis has had a really bright start and is looking sharp for Glory, and equally Stanbury adds an element of intensity and work rate that is crucial in Adelaide’s midfield.
One change you’d like to see
Grace Gill: For Perth, I’d like to see Hanna Lowry get on the ball a bit more. She’s such a talented young player and I think she’s been quieter in the opening matches for Perth. Tactically, it will be about how quickly the group can adapt back to this level of football – the break can put the brakes on the good momentum they had.
For Adelaide, it will be about building on their last performance and moving toward a more complete performance. I don’t think they need to change much in the way of formation, but will need to be astutely aware of the threat of Perth’s speed up front.
Last three meetings
1-2 win (A)
1-0 win (H)
2-2 draw (H)
Grace Gill: At home, I think Adelaide will have the step on this one – as mentioned, Perth will be looking to pick up where they left off and Adelaide have a lot to prove.
Saturday, 1 January vs Perth Glory
Liberty A-League 2021/22 – Round 5
Kick-off 4.35pm ACDT
Venue: Coopers Stadium