No time for Adelaide United to flag

Tactical frustrations are already surfacing but there is still much to be positive about as the Reds prepare for their Sydney clash, writes Spiro Karanikos-Mimis.

Adelaide United is reported to have voted against the FFA's Sydney finals deal at a special meeting of A-League clubs. Photo: Adelaide United Football Club

Adelaide United is reported to have voted against the FFA's Sydney finals deal at a special meeting of A-League clubs. Photo: Adelaide United Football Club

I know it’s only two games, but is anyone else feeling supremely frustrated by what we’ve witnessed so far from Adelaide United?

The draw against Wellington should have been a win and the loss against MacArthur should have (at least) been a draw.

Against MacArthur, United won all the statistics: possession, shots at goal, passes and pass accuracy. Except of course, the one stat that truly matters – goals scored.

In two games, the Reds have delivered 66 crosses and have only one goal to show for it. Sure, they technically scored three against MacArthur but all three were correctly ruled out.

And herein lied the rub for me: what is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I have been saying for a long time now that United is tactically predictable.

If there is a Plan B, I’m yet to see it (and not just this season, but last season also).

Good clubs have figured out how they play, and better teams will know exactly how to repel attacks.

If you’re not going to change tactics, then at least you need to make smart substitutions to affect a game.

But alas, we again saw Isaias moved to centre-back to accommodate the arrival of Juande from the bench.

Isaias. Photo: AAP/James Elsby

Isaias has played more than 200 games for Adelaide, and I dare say I have enjoyed nearly every single one of them, except for those games where he has slotted in central defence.

For as good as he is in midfield, he is no defender and I was not surprised to see MacArthur score as soon as that change happened.

What really gets me really annoyed is Juande was signed to be the makeshift central defender in these circumstances and the player who is infinitely more comfortable slotting into the back-four.

And that’s not even mentioning the fact that Javi Lopez can play there, and that Harry Van der Saag could’ve come on to play right-back if Lopez had moved centrally.

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But it’s not all doom-and-gloom because for as insanely frustrating as it’s been this last fortnight there is still much to be positive about.

Like the emergence of another talented youngster in Asad Kasumovic, for example.

Having scored 10 in the local league for United last season, the 21-year-old (who played juniors for Parafield Gardens and Croydon, before senior stints at West Adelaide and Adelaide City) seems ready to start giving Veart a selection headache.

I believe he’s ready to start rather than being an impact substitute, especially now that Zach Clough is out until the new year and Bernardo is also injured.

Nestory Irankunda had an insanely good few weeks playing for the Joeys and also seems ready to take his development to the next level.

Josh Mori now also gets his chance to show if he’s able to take the next step, having been signed yesterday as an injury replacement player.

And so, the Reds head to Allianz Stadium on Sunday to face a new-look Sydney FC, laden with talent.

The Sky Blues (or Bling FC as we like to call them) have looked very good in their first two matches, even in that loss to Melbourne Victory in the first rounds of the season.

If you haven’t seen Sydney yet this season, watch out for some of their new recruits: Slovenian Robert Mak who’s scored twice in two games and Englishman Joe Lolley who played 27 times for Nottingham Forrest last year in their promotion season.

And if you want to know a damning statistic, since the 2015/16 season Adelaide have only beaten Sydney four times (with six draws to boot).

Thankfully, the last time these two teams met the Reds did have a win in Sydney.

It won’t be easy but lets hope the Reds can find a way to get more points on the board.

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