Adelaide United v Western Sydney Wanderers
Sunday May 1, 4:00pm
Adelaide United cruised to a 4-1 win over Melbourne City whilst the Western Sydney Wanderers had to endure extra time to win 5-4 over Brisbane Roar. The Wanderers were down 3-0 after 23 minutes courtesy of a needless penalty, an own goal and a deflected goal, random events and mistakes I doubt we will see again.
I’m not one to suggest that teams play in a particular formation as the reality of it is that they are fluid from attack to defence and match circumstances, especially Adelaide. Essentially however they are virtually identical. 4-2-3-1 formations with Adelaide slightly more vertical in the centre of midfield with Stefan Mauk playing a slightly higher line than his direct opposite Andreu.
Both like to play with width demonstrated by the fact they are the number 1 (Adelaide) and number 2 (WSW) in terms of total crosses in the competition. That said Adelaide have been a little narrower in recent weeks with their ranking from rounds 21-27 seventh in the league.
The similarity in systems is a key factor in my conclusions for the match.
Head to head this season the teams have played 3 draws (1-1, 0-0, 0-0)
In matches such as this I like to take heed of history when analysing the current match. Some key historical facts drawn from the 10 A-League seasons.
- Seven of eight Home Ground grand final teams have lifted the Cup, five in normal time, one after extra time and one on penalties. The only team to win away were the minor premiers to win on penalties.
- Eight of 10 higher ranked teams have won the Grand Final.
- Two Grand Finals have been won by the lower ranked team both at Neutral venues
- Seven of 10 Grand finals have seen less than 2.5 goals and scoreless first halves.
Note for the sake of my analysis I have determined this to be a NEUTRAL venue. This is a personal perspective and as such the historical sample of only two matches is not particularly helpful especially when one considers that the other neutral matches have been in Sydney between NSW based clubs.
Key Statistics (Regular Season Only)
* excludes penalties and own goals
** excludes “home” match drawn against the Victory played at Adelaide Oval
*** consistently ranked third post round 10, dragged down by early form
Statistically there is nothing between these teams and as stated earlier structurally there is also very little difference. Adelaide have been the better team over the final 2/3rds of the season whilst the Wanderers have been up with the most consistent teams all season.
Neutral fans won’t like it but at the prices it is hard to suggest a bet but I think the value lies in the Wanderers lifting the cup if a play on the result of the match is what one desires.
The clear best trading philosophy for the match is to focus on a low scoring match.