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Australian Football: Plenty at stake for Reds and Wanderers

Adelaide United versus Western Sydney Wanderers is the only A-League game to take place on Sunday but it is a big one as both sides currently sit in the top four.

It is tight near the top but before Saturday’s games took place Adelaide were sitting in third place on the ladder with Western Sydney just two points and one place below them.

Melbourne City look to have the minor premiership in the bag and are priced at to win it, but finishing second on the ladder is an advantage when it comes to playing finals. With that in mind the race is on to get there and a host of teams are involved.

Just three points separate Central Coast Mariners in second and Sydney FC in sixth. It makes the game between the Reds and Wanderers even more important and there is plenty on the line.

So let’s take a closer look at the match-up and team news with kick-off at Coopers Stadium in Adelaide fast approaching.

What:Adelaide United v Western Sydney Wanderers
When:Coopers Stadium
Where:15:00 (AEST) Sunday 19th February 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Adelaide 13/10, Draw 12/5, Wanderers 21/10

Reds on a roll but need to tighten up

Adelaide United are bang in form and are currently undefeated in the last five games. Since suffering a 4-0 defeat against the Central Coast Mariners they have gone on to win three and draw two to cement their place in the top six. Adelaide showed tremendous fighting spirit when coming from behind to beat Western United at AAMI Park last Saturday.

The Reds looked dead and buried as they trailed Western 2-0 with 22 minutes left on the clock. However inspired by Craig Goodwin they came fighting back to win the game 3-2.

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It was Socceroos ace Goodwin that kept his cool to slot home a penalty kick in the 86th minute to seal the three points. What will please coach Carl Veart most is the spirit shown by his players that should serve them well if and when they make finals this season.

More of the same could be needed against Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday. What may be of concern to Veart though is the fact that his side have been leaking too many goals this season. They conceded two last weekend and three against Melbourne City in a 3-3 draw plus four against the Mariners.

The Reds have conceded 24 goals in total this season, the highest amount out of the teams in the top four and it is something they need to tighten up on. More than 2.5 goals being scored in Sunday’s game can be backed at 4/5, but in fairness Western Sydney Wanderers do bot score many.

Just 17 all season. They do not concede many though so a tight game could be on the cards. Under 2.5 goals is available at 1/1. Adelaide will be able to stick with a familiar line-up as Veart has no fresh injuries or suspensions to deal with.

Goodwin will again be the main danger and can be backed at 11/5 to score a goal at any time during the game.

Wanderers need to respond

Western Sydney will have been licking their wounds all week after being edged out 1-0 in a highly-charged derby clash against Sydney FC last week.

The Wanderers put it all on the line in that game and were still the better side despite being reduced to 10 men in the second half. But goals win games and Western Sydney could not find a way through. It has been an issue all season.

They are averaging one a game and only Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory have scored less. That has to be a concern for coach Mark Rudan even if they are keeping things tight at the other end when conceding just 13.

They still remain right in the mix though and have shown they can win on the road with victories over Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC earlier in the season.

Draws have been a common theme also, with six to their name this season and a 1-1 draw on Sunday is priced at 11/2. The Wanderers are forced into one change against Adelaide with Yeni Ngbakoto serving a two-match suspension following his red card in the fiery derby clash.

Amor Layouni has been promoted into the squad to make up the numbers.

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