What a difference a year makes! Adelaide United host Western Sydney Wanderers in a rematch of last season's Hyundai A-League grand final with only the visitors set to compete beyond this week.
A little under a year ago, the Reds defeated the Wanderers 3-1 in front of over 50,000 fans at the Adelaide Oval to claim their maiden Hyundai A-League championship.
Fast forward to tonight and Adelaide's defence of 'the Toilet Seat' will officially come to an end as they have failed to qualify for the 2016/17 finals.
It has been a rapid fall from grace for Guillermo Amor's side, while Western Sydney are only in slightly better shape having snuck into the top six thanks to a late season surge.
The Wanderers are unbeaten in five A-League matches and could even finish fifth with a win in South Australia if Melbourne City defeats Perth Glory on Sunday.
Both sides had AFC Champions League (ACL) commitments on Tuesday night with Adelaide securing a superb win away to Jeju United to stay in contention for a berth in the Round of 16, while Western Sydney lost 3-2 at home to FC Seoul to exit the continental competition.
The home side will be looking to maintain their good form ahead of another must-win ACL game away to Gamba Osaka on April 25, while the Wanderers need to bounce back ahead of next week's elimination final where they are likely to face either City or Brisbane Roar.
The Red-and-Black drew 0-0 at home against Melbourne Victory last week despite having an extra player for over half an hour, while Adelaide lost 1-0 away to City.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic is likely to bring veteran Brendon Santalab back into his starting XI for the trip to South Australia.
Santalab sat on the bench against Seoul as Lachlan Scott played 90 minutes up front, with the teenager producing an impressive header in second-half stoppage time as Western Sydney mounted a late - if futile - charge.
Popovic's side have found their scoring touch in all competitions since mid-March and Santalab has been critical to that, with the 34-year-old scoring five goals, while Scott, Terry Antonis, Jaushua Sotirio and Rob Cornthwaite have each added two.
Despite two wins and two draws in their past five A-League games, Adelaide remains the worst scorers in the competition with just 23 goals from 26 matches.
The Reds have been dangerous from set-pieces recently though, with centre-back Dylan McGowan having scored in three of their past four games in all competitions, while mid-season recruit Baba Diawara has four in 10.
In the 3-1 win over Jeju, Kim Jae-sung scored a cracking opener, while McGowan and Riley McGree hit the back of the net in the second half to secure three points in the ACL.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Lachlan Scott. The 19-year-old scored his fourth goal in all competitions when he nodded Nico Martinez's cross inside the near post against Seoul to continue his promising debut season.
Saturday, 15 April 2017
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Kick-Off: 7:20PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEST))
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream
Assistant Referee 2: Paul Cetrangolo
Fourth Official: Daniel Elder
Video Assistant Referee: Craig Zetter
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.45pm (AEST) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Grandstand Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, Hawkesbury Radio
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ADLvWSW
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 5.Taylor REGAN, 7.Jae-sung KIM, 8.ISAIAS, 9.Baba DIAWARA, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Sergio CIRIO, 12.Mark OCHIENG, 15.Ben WARLAND, 17.Nikola MILEUSNIC, 18.Riley McGREE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 24.Jordan O’DOHERTY, 30.Daniel MARGUSH (gk), 92.Eli BABALJ
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 12.Mark OCHIENG (promoted), 15.Ben WARLAND (promoted), 24.Jordan O’DOHERTY (returns from injury)
Outs: 21.Tarek ELRICH (knee – season)
Unavailable: 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – season)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 2.Shannon COLE, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 7.Steven LUSTICA, 8.DIMAS (c), 10.Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 17.Aritz BORDA, 18.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21. Mario SHABOW, 24.Terry ANTONIS, 26.Jackson BANDIERA, 28.Stefan ZINNI, 29.Ryan GRIFFITHS, 49.Abraham MAJOK
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 2.Shannon COLE, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 17.Aritz BORDA, 21.Mario SHABOW, 26.Jackson BANDIERA, 28.Stefan ZINNI, 29.Ryan GRIFFITHS, 49.Abraham MAJOK
Outs: 3.Jack CLISBY, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 23.Lachlan SCOTT (all rested)
Unavailable: 19.Jacob MELLING (back – indefinite)
This article was originally published at: www.a-league.com.au/article/hyundai-a-league-preview-adelaide-united-v-western-sydney-wanderers/1xvu9v5gpc7k01h1j3y9qo9ylk