Sunday, January 28, 2007
Adelaide v. Melbourne: A Preview
Adelaide would have to be heavy favourites for the first leg. Following a late win over the champions and a comfortable cruise into second place against the Mariners, John Kosmina’s men will be full of confidence. On the other hand, Melbourne have lost the final two games of the regular season, the second in quite ignominious fashion, and the team shape has been altered considerably.
A couple of fellow tragics have commented to me that they were surprised to see Ernie Merrick making so many changes in the run-up to the finals, given that the season was a short one, and tiredness would not be a significant factor. It’s worth remembering, though, that Melbourne completed a very long pre-season schedule, which included an invitational tournament in Queensland, and several warm-up matches.
With Daniel Piorkowski out for the season, Melbourne’s chief problem is the left side of defence. Travis Dodd is in good form, and is surely likely to cause the premiers some concern on the right wing. Alessandro’s defensive capacities are doubtful, and Adrian Caceres is far more effective in the final third; the choice should probably fall on the trusty jack-of-all-trades Steve Pantelidis.
On the other side of defence, Simon Storey will surely reclaim the right-back spot from Vince Lia, whose deficiencies were brutally exploited by the Newcastle attack.
Otherwise, it should be a familiar Melbourne line-up.
Adelaide face something of a dilemma in attack, with Carl Veart returning. Diego Walsh has been lively and influential, and Kosmina will surely be tempted to start him in the attacking midfield role, perhaps pairing Veart, rather than Fernando Rech, with Nathan Burns in attack. Burns’ partnership with his flatmate Bruce Djite up front looked highly promising last week, however; is it possible that Kosmina will pull an even bigger surprise, and start Djite?
It should be a beauty. I’m tipping 2-0 to the home side this afternoon.
Seriously though yesterdays game highlighted the fact that the A-League doesn't have a single quality finisher in front of goals. Next season the team that can acquire one will win it..