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Sep 18, 2017   |  1:36AM AET

Hyundai A-League season preview: Adelaide United

Hyundai A-League season preview: Adelaide United

A new coach, a host of fresh players and the departure of some club icons will make this a fascinating season to observe in South Australia.

Can Marco Kurz do what Guillermo Amor achieved so spectacularly two seasons ago and win silverware in his first season at the club?

Ins and outs

Ins: Paul Izzo, George Blackwood, Ersan Gülüm, Johan Absalonsen, Vince Lia, Karim Matmour.

Outs: Dylan McGowan, George Mells, Sergio Cirio, John Hall, Jesse Makarounas, John Hall, Eugene Galekovic, Riley McGree, Kim Jae-sung, Iacopo La Rocca, Marcelo Carrusca, Eli Babalj.

The burning questions

Can the Reds find a goalscorer?

Who will replace Marcelo Carrusca’s creativity?

How much influence did now-departed goalkeeper and club icon Eugene Galekovic have at the club?

Lesson learnt from last season

History doesn’t always repeat: In 2015/16, the Reds came from last after eight rounds to incredibly claim a Premiership / Championship double. At the same stage last season they were bottom again, but couldn’t repeat the dose, instead spending the remainder of the season in the bottom three.

Road ahead

The Reds start the season on the road with trips to Wellington and Brisbane before what is sure to be a highly-anticipated first home game against traditional rivals Melbourne Victory at the Adelaide Oval. The following week, Melbourne City visit Coopers Stadium. 

Expected strengths

The Reds may well be the fittest squad in the competition once the 2017/18 Hyundai A-League starts, with Kurz driving his charges hard in a number of gut-busting pre-season sessions.

Defensively, the early signs are good with the side yet to concede a pre-season goal and one of Australian football’s rising stars, goalkeeper Paul Izzo coming aboard to replace Galekovic between the sticks.

Potential weakness

Goals were a major issue for Adelaide United last season, with centre-back Dylan McGowan winning the side’s Golden Boot!

The departure of experienced attackers Sergio Cirio and Marcelo Carrusca leaves Kurz placing his front-third faith in the likes of newly acquired Algerian Karim Matmour and Dane Johan Absalonsen along with the relatively unproven George Blackwood, Baba Diawara and Nikola Mileusnic.

Tactical approach

Adelaide’s players have already spoken in glowing terms about Kurz’s approach, the German favouring a structured system with a defence which is hard to break down and his players pressing their opposition high up the pitch.

In possession, Matmour and Absalonsen will be key to the Reds’ attack.

Spaniard Isaias will sit at the base of midfield, filling that role as effectively as any other number six in the competition, while Hyundai A-League veteran Vince Lia may also have an important part to play.

Breakout star

Nikola Mileusnic: After just seven starts and only one goal last season, the 24-year-old striker looks set to play a far greater role in 2017/18 and has already caught the eye with a hat-trick in the Reds’ Westfield FFA Cup win over Heidelberg United.

Best-case scenario

The South Australian faithful will accept nothing less than a return to finals football and once there, Adelaide’s players will believe they have the ability to compete with – and beat – all of the other Hyundai A-League sides on any given day. A smokey for the Westfield FFA Cup, too.