The Newsroom previews each team in the 2014/15 Hyundai A-League.
Under Josep Gombau, the Reds played arguably the most attractive football in the league last season, matched only by Brisbane. Unfortunately the results were quite disappointing as the players took a while to get used to the Tiki-taka style. Now with a full season under Gombau, his players are used to his philosophy and are ready to make a charge at the title.
Last Season: 6th
Ins: Pablo Sanchez (CD Lugo), James Jeggo (Melbourne Victory), Dylan McGowan (Heart of Midlothian), Craig Goodwin (Newcastle Jets)
Outs: Jacob Melling (Melbourne City), Jake Barker-Daish (released), Daniel Bowles (Brisbane Roar), Jeronimo Neumann (Newcastle Jets), Jonathan McKain (released), Michael Zullo (FC Utrecht, end of loan)
Strengths: A strong team across the park, the South Australian team scored the most goals last season (45) thanks mostly to the flair that players such as Marcelo Carrusca, Fabio Ferreira and Sergio Cirio bring. The acquisition of Craig Goodwin gives the side another attacking element when Bruce Djite is playing up front. Goals win games and these players will be a vital cog in Gombau’s machine.
Weaknesses: There’s no denying Adelaide’s strengths in the final third, but it was their defence which caused the most headaches for Gombau. Now with the loss of Jon McKain, Australian youth international Dylan McGowan will be issued the task of replacing him. If Adelaide go back to the 3-4-3 formation they could find themselves in the same position they were at the beginning of last season.
Key Player: Marcelo Carrusca has been a shining light of the A-League over the last two seasons, scoring some cracking goals and providing assists as well as leading the way for Gombau’s men. One of the most talented foreigners in A-League history will be vital for Adelaide’s championship chances.
Manager: The 38-year-old Spaniard has been taught to replicate the way Barcelona have made a worldwide name for themselves. Tiki-taka, the pass and move system which dominates possession, proved to be very effective once the players grew accustomed to the style. Last season Gombau’s side took a while to understand the method, but once they did it was joy to watch. He will have a huge task this season of getting the Reds to consistently play like that for 27 rounds.
Prediction: They have learned from last season’s mistakes and can competently play the way the Spanish manager wants to play. They should be pushing for a top four finish this season. – Chris Matthews-Darby
Top photo from Helen K’s photostream.