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Reds aiming for three in a row

Adelaide United Women

Adelaide United kick off Saturday’s double header against Melbourne City at Coopers Stadium looking to make it three consecutive wins.

After recording its first away victory of the campaign against Canberra United 3-1 in a resilient display last weekend, the Reds will be determined to continue the momentum and cement a place in the top four.

The Reds return to Coopers Stadium following its 4-2 triumph against Perth Glory a fortnight ago and it is a venue which has been a fortress in recent times with Adelaide unbeaten in its previous six games – its last setback arrived in November 2012.

City themselves have won three matches on the bounce, a run started by defeating Adelaide 3-1 nearly a month ago. Although the scoreline did not tell the full story, with the result flattering the hosts as City made it 3-1 late in injury time.

Team news

Head Coach Adrian Stenta tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week. Assistant Coach Joe Mullen will take the reins with an unchanged squad. Meleri Mullen (knee) and Shay Evans (hip) remain on the sidelines.

What the expert says

Teo Pellizzeri: Melbourne City have to reach a bit deeper into their bench with the international call-ups for Winonah Heatley and Holly McNamara. I would like to see Caitlin Karic get a first start but I suspect City will opt for Darcy Malone. Naomi Chinnama could be a straight swap for Heatley but if TJ Vlajnic is available then that could push Chelsea Blissett from the left into the middle.

I suspect Adelaide won’t change their midfield from the one that started against Canberra because it gives them the best chance to control the game and nullify City’s main creator Rhianna Pollicina.

One to watch

Teo Pellizzeri: Dylan Holmes was best player on the pitch in the first half against Canberra and then faded in the second, coinciding with Canberra taking over central midfield and subsequently taking over the game. I think Holmes missing the Matildas squad could be a blessing in disguise. This is her moment to run games and build an inarguable case to be called up in future. I just hope she is match conditioned to be a 90-minute player sooner rather than later.

Key battle

Teo Pellizzeri: In the first head to head City’s Holly McNamara dominated Adelaide and caused a torrid time for her namesake, Matilda McNamara in defence for Adelaide. That threat being removed should give Matilda some peace of mind if nothing else. Assuming Kayla Sharples primarily marks City’s centre forward Hannah Wilkinson, I want to see McNamara liberated to make interceptions, win headers and repel City attacks.

One change you’d like to see

Teo Pellizzeri: After only playing the second half last week when Adelaide was primarily defending and consigned to the counter attack, I would like to see Emilia Murray playing in a match where Adelaide has at least equal if not more of the ball. I don’t know if this will be that game necessarily but I’d like to see more of what she can do contributing to build-up play given the promise she’s shown in a limited role.

Head-to-head

Played: 7
Wins: 1
Draws: 3
Losses: 3

Last three meetings

2-1 loss (A)
2-1 win (H)
1-0 loss (A)

Prediction

Teo Pellizzeri: I suspect Adelaide will control the midfield in the first half and should they score first, they’ll win. I expect both teams will hit the wall in the second half but Adelaide will get more energy from their bench, and outlast City for a score like 2-0 or 3-1.

Match details:
Saturday, 15 January vs Melbourne City
Liberty A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 7
Kick-off 4.35pm ACDT
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Stream: Paramount+