Central Coast Mariners will have plenty of confidence coming into this bottom of the table clash with Adelaide United following an impressive 2-0 win over Perth Glory. It was only their third win of the season but it was enough to lift them above their opponents, sending them to the bottom of the table once again. They will improve drastically in attack this week with O’Donovan returning to the line-up after serving his suspension against Perth, but the squad is still missing both Faty and Tavares who are still ruled out through injury. The team has really missed Tavares in the centre of the pitch and have struggled to dominate games without their key midfield player. Central Coast are likely to be a bit more direct than usual as they try and attack a Adelaide side that have been stripped by a transfer window which has seen three key players leave. Mariners will look to use the pace of the attacking three behind O’Donovan to cause panic in the away defence. If they find themselves ahead they are likely to move to a more counter attacking style which will see the likes of Pain and Buhagiar playing on the shoulder of the last defender as they hope to hit on the break quickly and get behind the Adelaide defence.
Adelaide United fell to the bottom of the league last weekend despite their last gasp draw against Wellington Phoenix. Confidence has been low at the club and with several key players leaving in the transfer window they look a little light on players, especially in attacking areas, although the club have confirmed three players are coming in this week. Carrusca returns from injury, which will be a big boost but Henrique Silva has joined the list of players leaving the club this transfer window and they now look even weaker in attack and could really struggle to make an impact against a Central Coast side that have shown signs of improvement in recent games. Adelaide United are likely to try and control the game through the middle with Isaias trying to get on the ball as much as possible and looking to spread the ball wide trying to make the pitch as big as possible and create space in the Mariners defence. The club are likely to transition between 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 this weekend as they move into a more attacking shape. Marino will act as a target man at times and will look to bring Cirio and Garuccio into the play as much as possible with the wide players key to Adelaide’s success.
Verdict & Prediction
Central Coast will be buoyed by their win over Perth Glory last weekend, a victory which put them above their opponents once again and cut the deficit to the playoffs to 7 points as they try and make a late surge for the top 6, although their chances look slim. Despite their good win against Perth they have been struggling overall this year, being unable to stop leaking goals and any momentum they’ve gained has quickly been lost with only three wins all season, a figure too low for playoff football. Central Coast will be looking for the win as they hope to increase their lead over Adelaide to 5 points, attempting to give themselves some breathing room at the foot of the table.
Prediction: Central Coast Mariners +0.75 AH
Odds: 1.87 Pinnacle