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Australian Football: Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix

The two in-form sides of the A-League get Matchday 21 up and running on Friday night when Adelaide United and Wellington Phoenix clash at Coopers Stadium.

Adelaide sit second on the ladder having won three out of the last five games, including a 4-2 victory over Melbourne City in Matchday 19. They now sit six points behind the ladder-leaders and could half that gap with another victory over the Phoenix. That would put the pressure on ahead of City’s clash with Macarthur on Sunday.

But it will be far from easy against a Phoenix side that look to be peaking at just the right time with finals fast approaching. Three wins out of four games have got Ufuk Talay’s men on the up but the clash against Adelaide will be a true test of their Grand Final credentials.

Both sides can score and concede a fair few goals so we could be in for a high-scoring, thrilling affair on Friday night.

With kick-off fast approaching, let’s take a look at both sides heading into the game.

What:Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix
Where:Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
When:19:45 (AEST) Friday 17th March, 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Adelaide 1.95, Draw 3.60, Phoenix 3.40

Same again for Adelaide

Adelaide have lost just the one A-League game on home soil this season and that came way back in December against the Newcastle Jets. Since then they have gone from strength-to-strength and as things stand are the form team in the competition, even ahead of Melbourne City.

The Reds are finding their form at just the right time and hope to go at least one stage further than last season when they lost to City in the semi-finals. Carl Veart’s side are earning a reputation as entertainers in the process when scoring goals for fun.

They have now bagged 16 goals in the last four games so the Phoenix defence could be set for a torrid night. Nestory Irankunda continues to thrive and scored another in the 4-2 at Newcastle last weekend. He can be backed at 2.40 to score at anytime during the Phoenix game and 6.50 to score last, which is what he did against the Jets.

Such is the strength in the Adelaide squad, Irankunda is having to settle for a place on the bench, but what a weapon they have to bring on later in the game when the opposition is getting tired. Over 2.5 goals scored in the game can also be backed at 1.53.

Veart has no fresh injury worries heading into the game and looks set to name a very familiar line-up, which can only be a good thing. The fact they are without a host of big names through injury, yet continue to shine, just shows the strength-in-depth in this Adelaide squad.

Adelaide (probable): Gauci; Lopez, Barr, Popovic, Kitto; D'Arrigo, Alagich; Halloran, Clough, Goodwin; Ibusuki.

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Despite the fact that Adelaide are going so well, Wellington could go level on points with them if they can spring a surprise and pick up the three points at Coopers Stadium. And their away form is not too shoddy either having picked up wins away at Brisbane, Sydney FC and Western United already this season.

They also picked up a point in a 1-1 draw at Central Coast Mariners. So a trip to Adelaide will not scare them at all. They can play without fear as if there is any pressure in this game it will be on the Reds with them being the home side.

Oskar Zawada is the big dangerman for the Phoenix and he scored again when grabbing the only goal in a 1-0 home win over Sydney last week. 

He can be backed at 7.50 to score the first goal or 2.75 anytime. With the form he is in at the moment there is a good chance he will add to his tally. The Phoenix do have a couple of injury issues to deal with though. Clayton Lewis is missing with a knee problem, while Sam Sutton is out with a hamstring issue.

Phoenix (probable): Sail; Elliot, Wootton, Laws, Sutton; Sasse, Rufer, Ugarkovic, Old; Ball, Zawada.

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