Breanna Holden's Week 9 HAL Preview

by Breanna Holden on Dec 06, 2014

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Will the Wanderers break their duck, or the Reds roll on? Will Melbourne City grab a much needed win or Brisbane break through? Breanna Holden previews the remainder fo the weekend's A-League action.

Adelaide United v Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday 6 December, Coopers Stadium
Kick-Off: 7:00pm local (7:30pm AEDT)
Referee: Jarred Gillet

Adelaide United had a first half to forget against Melbourne Victory in round 8. The Reds not only conceded two own goals but were completely taken by surprise by the Victory’s pace and intensity, with the midfield unable to grab a hold of the match and the defence constantly scrambling.

Heading into their Saturday night cash with the Wanderers Adelaide will need to have learnt from last round’s mistakes and increase their intensity from the outset. Western Sydney’s goals have come early in matches this season and a slow start to the game could cost them against a hungry Wanderers side.

Additionally the Reds will have to work on their pace down the wings with Melbourne Victory having too much joy when using their width in attack. With Tomi Juric back alongside Nikita Rukavystya for the Wanderers the Reds will need to improve their speed and desire or we could see the 10th placed side’s first win of the season.

The Wanderers were unlucky not to get the three points against rivals Sydney FC with the woodwork proving their undoing; but just four days later against the Roar Western Sydney looked an entirely different outfit. Lining up without Juric their best chances simply fell to the wrong men and their midfield lacked the creativity and unity that outclassed Sydney FC constantly in round 8.

Although scoring has been an issue this season historically the Wanderers have no problems in front of goal against the Reds managing an average of two a game. However, Western Sydney can’t enter the match expecting to achieve an easy result with Adelaide not only sitting 14 points higher on the table but having also gone an impressive 13 home games without a loss.

Tony Popovic’s men will have to brush off the recent result against Brisbane and focus on the game plan that saw them seriously challenge Sydney FC. With Juric and Rukavystya combing well last weekend their partnership will be integral to a win in South Australia. While the midfield duo of Mateo Poljak and Iacopo La Rocca will have to work hard to eliminate the influence of Sergio Cirio.

My Tip: Draw
The Wanderers may not have put in a fantastic performance on Wednesday night but there are certainly signs the team is moving in the right direction. With Juric back they should threaten up front and given Adelaide’s inability to deal with the Victory early on the tempo could favour the Wanderers enough to see them grab a point.

Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar
Sunday 7 December, AAMI Park
Kick-Off- 5:00pm local (5:00pm AEDT)
Referee: Shaun Evans

The trip across the Tasman was not one to remember for Melbourne City with the side’s positive start falling to pieces and seeing the Victorians concede a whopping five goals with only a penalty in response.

At AAMI park this Sunday the Melbourne side will have to have worked on their mental strength with John van ‘t Schip’s men unable to deal with conceding goals seeing them hand their opposition wins. Positively for City though is their record against the Roar with the home side managing three wins from their five home fixtures and an impressive 3-1 result in their last meeting.

If City are to walk away from the clash with a win the side will have to rely on more than just the work ethic of Damien Duff and creativity of Aaron Mooy. While their insistence on shutting down after missing chances or conceding goals is an issues van ‘t Schip will need to fix or risk the side dropping further down the ladder.

Brisbane’s new coach seems to be having the desired affect with Frans Thijssen picking up a draw and a win in his first week in charge.

Travelling down south to face City the Roar will be hoping their new found confidence will continue and see them grab just their seventh win over Melbourne. That said history isn’t in their favour with Brisbane going without a point since January 2012 when visiting City.

So far this season Brisbane’s positive play has come from their possession however, with Thomas Broich out the remaining Roar midfielders will have to work hard to ensure Massimo Murdocca and Mooy can’t control the game. However, if Thijssen directs his men to attack City early on and break them down mentally before they can get a foothold in the match the absence of Broich could be a non-issue.

My Tip: Melbourne City
Melbourne’s embarrassing performance against Wellington last weekend could well serve as a wake up call and against a Roar side who haven’t managed strong starts to matches this fixture could unfold in City’s favour. If Brisbane sit back and allow Melbourne to pressure their goals it may well see van ‘t Schips side grow in enough confidence to finish off the match.