4th April, Hindmarsh Stadium, 7:00pm local time, 7:30pm AEDT
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It’s United vs. City – and unlike in Manchester, the Reds are the firm favourites.
Adelaide and Melbourne go into this match at opposite ends of the table, with Adelaide able to move into second place with a win, while a hefty enough loss could see Heart handed the wooden spoon a week early. United is the team with everything to play for, while Heart will only be playing for pride, and to avoid their first ever wooden spoon.
Despite Heart players needing to prove their worth to coach John Van ‘t Schip, who will have the backing of one of the largest clubs in the world when he chooses his side for next season, few stood up and really excelled against Brisbane last Friday night. Heart played well, going down 2-1 to the Premiers, meanwhile Adelaide only needed a Carrusca penalty conversion to overcome Wellington on Sunday.
Adelaide was missing two key attacking players against the Phoneix, and struggled to get goals on the board. This week they’re missing players up the other end of the park, with two starting defenders missing. If Heart’s misfiring forwards can put the pressure on goal they’ll really test the Adelaide defence.
Adelaide have spent the season working on coach Josep Gombau’s playing philosophy, which seems to have paid off in 2014, with Adelaide rising as dark horse contenders to lift the A League trophy. Gombau, former FC Barcelona youth coach, has been forced to deny rumours that he is leaving Adelaide at the end of the season, with the Herald Sun recently linking him to an offer for the Melbourne City job next season. The last few weeks of the season will be the biggest test of just how effective Gombau’s possession based strategy has been, and of how big a threat Adelaide will be in 2014/15.
United were the first team Heart played after the Manchester City announcement, a match Heart were unlucky to not win, conceding a late goal to finish 2:2. Heart went on to win their next five games.
Played: 11, Adelaide 5, Heart 2, Draws, 4
Adelaide 2-2 Heart, January 25, 2014
Past five matches:
Adelaide: Jon McKain, Cassio (both injured)
Melbourne: Harry Kewell (injured) Editors comment 🙁
Adelaide: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 21.Tarek ELRICH 23.Jordan ELSEY 5.Osama MALIK, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 22.Fabio FERREIRA, 7.JERONIMO, 11.Bruce DJITE
Melbourne: 20.Tando VELAPHI (GK), 24.Patrick KISNORBO 3.Robbie WIELAERT (C), 6.Patrick GERHARDT, 16. Aziz BEHICH, 4.Orlando ENGELAAR, 8.Massimo MURDOCCA, 19.Benjamin GARUCCIO, 21.Stefan MAUK, 22.Nicholas KALMAR, 15.David WILLIAMS
The battle of the big forwards – Jeronimo Neumann should be back, pending a final fitness test, Bruce Djite has shown red hot form over the past few weeks, while at the other end David Williams, who has the second highest number of shots in the league, is still within touching distance of the golden boot.
Tando Velaphi – having already earned a contract next year, he will need to show something impressive to put on the number 1 shirt for Melbourne City. He didn’t impress against Brisbane last week, making a few key errors. With Adelaide the highest scoring team in the league at home, any goalkeeping errors will be punished swiftly.
Adelaide 2:0 Heart (HT 1:0)
Despite missing some key defenders, Galekovic in goal and Adelaide’s very capable midfield will make up for it, and not allow Heart to find their flow. Heart are looking to next year, and to saying goodbye to one of Australia’s best footballer’s in the final round, so are unlikely to throw everything at this match.
Adelaide has yet to win a game this season after going behind. Heart has scored first in their last two games, only to go down 2-1 in both.
Adelaide is unbeaten in eight matches at home. Melbourne Heart has only won once away from home so far this season.Google+