Tonight both sides will be looking to etch their names in history by reaching the final of the FFA cup, Adelaide will be hoping to reach it for the second time since its inception, while the Wanderers will have the added incentive of a Sydney Derby final (hopefully not refereed by Jarred Gillett).
Both sides have opened their A-League campaigns well, remaining unbeaten after 3 games. Also, both sides will be drained from their weekend fixtures, with Adelaide hosting a tough encounter with rivals Melbourne Victory on Friday night and the Wanderers coming off a disappointing draw against Sydney FC on Saturday.
Last season saw the Wanderers get the better of Adelaide across the 3 matches, winning their round 2 clash and drawing in the other encounters.
The surviving members of the 2015/16 Grand final loss will be hoping to get there revenge (or Wevenj for some) on Adelaide by knocking them out of the cup. Although both teams have been mostly knocked down and rebuilt since that encounter and are very different looking sides.
Key Match up
Johan Absalonsen vs Josh Risdon
With 2 goals and 2 assists already this season, Absalonsen will prove to be a dangerous handful on the wings for Risdon, known more for his attacking play than solid defence. With the Wanderers already leaking 5 goals in 3 games this season, this could prove to be a tough challenge and a decisive battle.
On the other hand, Risdon has been remarkable of late, being selected for international duties and constantly improving in both defence and with the ball. However, as said earlier his defence isn’t his strong suit and needs to tighten up his tackling. Having said that, Risdon is great on the ball and can whip in a mean cross, already chalking up an assist in the A-League campaign (in the Derby) and setting up a few goals for Riera in the FFA Cup too.
It will be interesting to see how these two attack-minded players match up.
This may seem a strange choice but Jumpei is almost certain to start (after not featuring on Saturday night) and will either be a bright spark in attack or a complete flop. If he turns it on and provides a dynamic option in and around the box, like he has so far this season, then the Wanderers will be very dangerous and have a great chance of coming away with the win. However, if he has another poor game, like many games last season and in the FFA Cup match against Blacktown City, the Wanderers will struggle to create many chances and may find themselves in danger of being knocked out, particularly as it is unlikely we will keep a clean sheet against Adelaide’s recent potent attack.
On balance and with the home advantage, the Wanderers should be able to get the job done tonight. It will be a close game and I expected a bucket of goals is more likely than a clean sheet for either team. If we can limit Adelaide’s chances and if our hot and cold players in the front third can be more hot than cold, we will give ourselves the best chance at our first ever FFA Cup Final berth.
Wanderers to win 2-1.