A-League Alert: Glory go Box Office, Adelaide’s Cause for Concern

21 February, 2024

As the A-League season turns for home, Perth Glory are making a late push for finals football off the back of a red-hot run of form, Meanwhile, Adelaide United’s finals hopes have taken another hit away after their winless run extended to four games on the weekend. This week, we have a look at the numbers behind Glory’s resurgence why the Reds have struggled to reach the heights of seasons past and whether they can turn things around in the final few weeks of the campaign.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 22: Giordano Colli of the Glory crosses the ball during the A-League Men round one match between Perth Glory and Newcastle Jets at HBF Park, on October 22, 2023, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)

Perth Glory: the A-League’s box office team

There hasn’t been a more exciting time in the A-League in recent weeks than Perth Glory. 

Alen Stajcic’s side showed tremendous grit to battle back against Brisbane Roar on the weekend to come away with a 3-2 win at HBF Park on Saturday night, extending their unbeaten run to five straight games and keeping their finals hopes well and truly alive heading into the business end of the season.

Despite not keeping a clean sheet for 14 straight games, Glory have been electric in attack, spearheaded by the red-hot Adam Taggart, who took his tally to 12 goals for the season and by the same token, thrusting himself back into Socceroos contention for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers in March.

Perth have scored at least two goals in each of their last 10 games – with Taggart scoring or getting an assist in each of his last 11 matches.

Despite still sitting in 10th on the ladder, Glory has scored a league-high 35 goals from 17 games this campaign.

During this recent spell, Stajcic’s charges have exhibited a never-say-die attitude that has translated into results, coming from behind in each of their last four games to claim points, albeit surrendering a late lead in their 3-3 draw against Adelaide United a little under a fortnight ago.

In an added boost, Perth’s long-standing ownership issues were finally resolved after the club were bought by the Pelligra Group, who look set to provide much-needed stability following months of uncertainty.

Up next is a huge test against league leaders Wellington Phoenix at home, but on current form, there’s every reason to suggest they can take it right to Giancarlo Italiano’s side and continue to close the gap on the top six.

 

Alarm bells for Adelaide United 

Adelaide’s season is quickly slipping away after another defeat on the weekend.

The Reds lost 2-1 to Sydney FC on Saturday evening at Allianz Stadium, extending their winless run to four straight games, which in turn saw them lose more ground on the top six as they sit six points outside heading into the final straight of the season.

After a red-hot start to the season that saw them win their opening two games by an aggregate score of 9-0 against Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne City, Carl Veart’s side have only won three of their last 15 games, to go with four draws and eight losses.

The most glaring issue is in defence, having not kept a clean sheet since the win over City back in October. This has only been exacerbated by the January departures of Socceroos goalkeeper Joe Gauci and young gun Alexandar Popovic. 

Their swashbuckling attack – which served them so well in the early part of last season and en route to three straight semi-final appearances – has been okay in recent weeks, scoring four goals in four games, but three of those came in one game (a 3-3 draw with Perth Glory).

However, they’re still not scoring with the same freedom of previous weeks, as Veart continues to tinker with his best-attacking unit, especially in the wake of young gun Nestory Irankunda’s absence due to illness and Stefan Mauk’s arrival at the club.

On a positive note, there is still plenty of time for the Reds to turn their season around with 10 games remaining, and they have the perfect chance to do so against sixth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday evening at home.

The Wanderers are also in a slump of their own, going winless in their last three games and only winning two of their last seven matches.

 

Around The Grounds: A-League Round 18 Preview

Brisbane Roar v Western United

Western United will play their third game in a week when they head north to face Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium. Three points is imperative for both sides, particularly for Brisbane who are looking to stay in the hunt for the top six.

 

Sydney FC v Melbourne City

Sydney FC welcomes Melbourne City to Allianz Stadium as they look to continue their ascent up the ladder. The Sky Blues are unbeaten in five straight games, while their opponents City are now winless in three games and need a win to keep pace in the finals race.

 

Adelaide United v Western Sydney Wanderers

Adelaide United face Western Sydney Wanderers at Coopers Stadium in a must-win game for both sides. The Reds need a victory to resuscitate their season, while the Wanderers are winless in three and are equally desperate for three points. 

 

Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix

HBF Park will host the third Distance Derby of the season as Perth Glory face league leaders Wellington Phoenix. It’s set to be an absolute blockbuster with both sides being the competition’s two form sides at the present.

 

Newcastle Jets v Macarthur FC

Macarthur FC head up the highway to take on Newcastle Jets on Sunday afternoon. A win for the Bulls will keep them firmly in the hunt for a top two berth, while Newcastle are capable of an upset but are currently without a win in four.

 

Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners

Melbourne Victory look to turn around their winless run when they face Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park. Tony Popovic’s side have drawn five of their last six games, and face a rejuvenated Mariners side who are firmly in the Premiership race after turning around a slow start to the season.

 

Tips

Brisbane Roar v Western United – Draw

Sydney FC v Melbourne City – Sydney FC to win

Adelaide United v Western Sydney Wanderers – Draw

Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix – Perth Glory to win

Newcastle Jets v Macarthur FC – Draw

Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners – Draw

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