The excitement around the start of the Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 season is palpable as Adelaide United are preparing for its tricky away trip to Perth Glory on Saturday night.
Adelaide has won just one of its preceding nine encounters against the Glory and has not secured three points at HBF Park since January 2018.
The Reds have also not recorded a win in the opening round of a season since 2014 and will certainly be determined to flip that script and begin the campaign on a positive note.
Carl Veart is anticipating a tough match but is confident is side can come away with the three points.
United’s squad has been bolstered after the additions of Isaías, Nick Ansell, Jacob Tratt and George Blackwood, while dynamic winger Bernardo had an impressive pre-season and could experience a breakout campaign in the league.
Several other youngsters will also be looking to build on promising campaigns from the previous year including Kusini Yengi, Mohamed Toure, and Louis D’Arrigo.
It is no surprise much of the offseason for Perth Glory has been dominated by the signing of former England international and Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge. The 32-year-old is arguably the biggest name to venture to Australian shores since the arrival of Alessandro Del Piero. But it is not just the Englishman that the Glory have signed.
Brandon O’Neil returns following a stint overseas, while goalkeeper Brad Jones and Spanish winger Adrian Sardinero are some of the other high-profile recruits. However, Richard Garcia’s side has not played a competitive match this pre-season due to ongoing border restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not ideal preparation for Perth, who are looking to improve on a ninth place finish last season.
Carl Veart has a full squad to choose from except for George Blackwood, who misses the clash through a groin injury. Stefan Mauk and Craig Goodwin have missed the majority of pre-season, recovering from respective injuries post-surgery. However, the pair have been training for the last few weeks and have been named in the extended squad and are expected to feature in some capacity come Saturday night. Michael Jakobsen is also included after missing the two FFA Cup games. Young gun Bernardo is also in line to make his league debut.
Last five meetings
2-1 loss (A)
1-2 loss (H)
5-3 loss (A)
5-3 win (H)
3-0 loss (A)
Ones to watch
Kusini Yengi has the added responsibility of being the main marksman up front this season. The 22-year-old is embracing the weight that comes with wearing the number nine shirt, so look out for him to be raring to go. The striker will not be afraid to throw his weight around make his presence known to the Glory defence and coupled with his eye for goal, acceleration and quick foot skills – he will certainly be one to keep an eye on.
For Perth, Sturridge is the obvious answer as it is needless to highlight the superlatives to describe the ex-Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City attacker. He will likely make his debut for Perth tomorrow, but it will not just be Glory fans who will watch with interest to see how he fares. No doubt the entire competition will definitely be taking note.
Saturday, 20 November vs Perth Glory
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 – Round 1
Kick-off 9.35pm ACDT
Venue: HBF Park