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Season Preview 2015/16: Adelaide United

It’s hard to get a read on the Reds at the moment.

During the off-season, they’ve comfortably gone down to Melbourne Victory in the FFA Cup, but on the flip-side they defeated Melbourne City twice and Sydney once in pre-season matches. Adding to the intrigue is that apart from coach Josep Gombau, Adelaide have lost very little from their first-team squad during the offseason; Nigel Boogaard’s move to the Jets being the exception.

On the other side of the transfer coin, the Reds — under new coach Guillermo Amor — have made some shrewd investments. Former Melbourne Heart/City forwards Eli Babalj and Mate Dugandzic have made their way across the border to South Australia, whilst Italian utility Iacopo La Rocca has joined from Western Sydney.

For a team that was there or thereabouts in 2014/15, those signings could be enough to push the Reds further up the table. The issue is, though, with other top 6 teams from last season making savvy transfer moves of their own, perhaps Adelaide have only done enough to stay in contention — and not enough to challenge for silverware.

2014/15 wash-up

Adelaide finished the regular season in 3rd place earlier this year, earning themselves a home final in the process. After defeating Brisbane 2-1 in week 1 of the finals, the Reds travelled to Sydney where they were defeated 4-1 by the Sky Blues.

42015/16 predictions

Our contributors and fans were asked for their ladder predictions going into the new season, and they echoed the view that sees Adelaide finishing in a similar spot to last season. The Reds scored an average ranking of 4.09 amongst respondents, and thus took out 4th place on our adjusted ladder.

Ins & Outs

In Out
Eli Babalj
Mate Dugandzic
Iacopo La Rocca
George Mells
Nigel Boogaard
Paul Izzo
Awer Mabil
Miguel Palanca
Cameron Watson

Fixtures

Split: 13 home, 14 away.
Round 1: Home vs Melbourne Victory (Adelaide Oval).
Rivalries/derbies: Melbourne Victory (1 home, 2 away).
Other Notes: Adelaide start their season off with a bang, hosting bitter rivals Melbourne Victory on Friday night at Adelaide Oval. That should prove to be popular with those lambasting last season’s schedule for a lack of Friday Night blockbusters! Then, the Reds back that up by hosting Western Sydney at Coopers Stadium a week later. Back-to-back away trips to close out the season (vs Sydney FC and Melbourne City) could prove to be difficult.

Key Player

It’s difficult to go past the Argentinian playmaker Marcelo Carrusca as being the key to Adelaide’s success. Sure, Adelaide have a fair bit of firepower up forward through the likes of Cirio, Djite, Babalj and Pablo Sanchez, and in their own right, they’re incredibly important to the make-up of the Reds. But the delivery those players received last season from Carrusca — which saw them score the 3rd most goals of any team — is going to be vital once again to Adelaide’s finals and title aspirations.

Adelaide certainly have the depth up front to score many goals, but Carrusca is almost irreplacable. The fact that Adelaide lost 5 of the 8 games they played without Carrusca last season is a testament to that.

One to watch

Most Australian football fans wouldn’t know too much about George Mells, but the fact that his pedigree includes stints at Southampton and Chelsea’s youth setups as well as appearances for both Australia and Greece’s under 17 sides, only bodes well for the 19 year old’s time at Adelaide. The attacking midfielder will be looking to impress after coming to the A-League in search of game time, but with a strong — and mostly foreign — midfield core at Adelaide, he’ll probably have to be patient.

Obscure trivia

11 players in Adelaide’s squad have, at one time or another, played for an opposing A-League club.

About the author

avatarJustin is a passionate football fan, and the Editor-in-chief of Ultimate A-League.

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