Sunday, September 12, 2010


Back in Control

So Adelaide sit alone on top of the A-League ladder after six rounds, and few could argue that they don't deserve to be there.

A very controversial choice for the coaching job given the popularity of long-time assistant Phil Stubbins, Rini Coolen has done a fine job injecting some organisation and self-belief into a side which looked truly rudderless in 2009/10.

There have been several factors in their revival, and chief among them has been the presence of a real attacking focal point in Sergio van Dijk. The Reds have struggled to acquire such a forward ever since the departure of Shengqing Qu; Cristiano was always more of a second striker, Robbie Younis never settled at Hindmarsh, and Lloyd Owusu's name features prominently in the list of the worst-ever A-League imports.

The continuing good form of Matthew Leckie has also been a boon, although Coolen was right to state, at the press conference following last week's victory over Sydney, that the youngster still has to work on some aspects of his game if he is to have a successful crack at Europe. He can drift in and out of proceedings, and the habit of sticking too stubbornly to the touchline alights on him now and then.

Another impressive feature of Adelaide's performances this season, which has been notable in their last two outings, is their newfound ability to bring the game back under control after periods under the cosh. In the second half against Sydney, Stephan Keller's set-piece goal (and near-miss soon afterwards) were the high points of a Sydney revival, in which the hosts threatened Eugene Galekovic's goal on several occasions. In response, Adelaide refused to lose their heads; instead, they slowed down the pace of the game, and deliberately set out to blunt the Sydney initiative via a period of sustained possession. It worked superbly, and the fact that they barely threatened Sydney's goal during that spell hardly mattered: they had re-established their dominance.

Last night against Newcastle, the same story. The Jets were looking increasingly likely to break through around the hour mark: once again, the Reds simply began to work the ball around patiently, not looking for openings every time the ball reached the midfield, but rather aiming to take the wind out of the Jets' sails. Although the strategy did result in a bizarre goal for the visitors, Cassio trying a bit too hard to be elegant in possession at the back, the job was nearly done by that stage.

The last time Adelaide did this on a regular basis was way back in the first A-League which they won the premiership.

Not sure that was a real comeback from Sydney; no real challenge for United there Mike but agreed the Reds are great to watch with a potent attack.
I think Adelaide's dominance is unfortunate for the future of the A-League. A team 'under administration' is able to buy 2 of the A-League's top strikers - van Dijk and Flores. How is that?

Meanwhile, the private owners in Brisbane battle on U15 'playing out from the back.'
You are defintely right when you say that the improvement in the overall strikeforce has been the major factor in the form reversal at AU. Actually this ties in with your previous post where you suggested that Jamieson has been ordinary since his first season back home. TBH that's not really true.

While it's true that after season one Jamo's attacking runs seemed to stop to a large degree and he also struggled at times with his positional play (still his biggest weakness IMO), the fact is he continually provided top quality delivery in every season he was with the Reds.

The former AU strikeforce of Cristiano, Owusu and co was laughable at best (as you noted) and that was the real reason there was seemingly never any end product. AU should've scored a lot more goals last year and the majority of those chances came from the left. Despite his current form, Jamieson certainly cannot be considered as mediocre recruitment.

Anyway as far Sydney go, I don't understand why Lavicka doesn't switch the Korean fella to RB, put Jamo to LB and push Cole up into midfield. Wouldn't that solve three problems in one?
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