Adelaide United will be hoping to establish some continuity following an up-and-down start to the season when it travels to face Western Sydney Wanderers at Marconi Stadium on Friday night.
The Reds edged Wellington Phoenix 1-0 at home last weekend to move to four wins and three losses for the campaign.
Aside from successive triumphs to begin 2022, Adrian Stenta’s side has been inconsistent from a results standpoint – unable yet to build some proper momentum.
Despite this, Adelaide currently occupy fourth spot on the table, while Western Sydney are eighth after losing back-to-back games 1-0 – most recently falling to Perth Glory.
The Reds are unbeaten in their preceding three meetings against the Wanderers, however, have never recorded an away victory over them.
It could be a game of attrition with Catherine Cannuli’s team boasting the second-best defence in the competition, so the Reds will need to remain patient in possession and take their chances when they fall.
Adrian Stenta’s squad has a clean bill of health going into the clash. It is the first time this season, every player is available for selection – a welcomed headache for the Head Coach.
What the expert says
Tom Smithies: Adelaide: frustratingly inconsistent, but this is a huge game to solidify their place in the top four. To take it, United will need to improve on last week’s return of only three out of 16 shots finding the target.
Western Sydney: talk about a team of fine margins – in only one of the Wanderers’ games this year has either side scored more than one goal. Already the gap to the top four looks daunting – another loss would surely end Western Sydney’s finals hopes.
One to watch
Tom Smithies: Chelsie Dawber: with four goals this year she’s joint third top scorer in the league, but hasn’t found the back of the net for the past 230 minutes. United need a fifth from her urgently.
Tom Smithies: Nanako Sasaki v Caitlin Cooper. With two assists to her name, Sasaki will look to pull the strings in midfield for United – but Cooper’s experience and presence for Western Sydney foreshadows a tough contest.
One change you’d like to see
Tom Smithies: With only one clean sheet all season, and one of the leakiest defences, it’s not hard to see what United’s priority should be.
Last three meetings
3-1 win (H)
2-2 draw (A)
3-2 win (H)
Tom Smithies: Adelaide 1-0 Western Sydney. An arm-wrestle will just tilt United’s way.
Friday, 28 January vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Liberty A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 9
Kick-off 7.15pm ACDT
Venue: Marconi Stadium