Boxing Day football is back this year with Sydney FC hosting Adelaide United at Allianz Stadium. Both sides have been pegged back of late following long unbeaten runs to open their respective A-League campaigns.
A win will be crucial to either side’s hopes of staying in touch with ladder leaders Perth Glory. The Sky Blues have not won any of their last three home games, scoring a single goal in that time from the penalty spot.
Alex Brosque will be given every chance to prove his fitness after missing the Wellington game with a groin injury. The Sky Blues need as many experienced heads in the team as they can with so many key players ruled out through injury.
The crisis deepened further this week with confirmation that veteran defender Sasa Ognenovski will play no further part in the current A-League season – the fourth senior player to have his season ended before the halfway mark. The injury list has left Graham Arnold with a paper thin squad to work with, and a reliance on young layers to fill in at least until the transfer window opens in a fortnight.
Despite their problems Sydney still have enough firepower up front to score their way out of trouble, and in Milos Dimitrijevic and Terry Antonis they have perhaps the best central midfield partnership in the A-League this season.
The current Situation is exactly the kind that Arnold thrives on. He established Central Coast Mariners as consistent title challengers by playing on their status as the smallest club in the league. A backs against the wall mentality is one that Arnold will be keen to foster in these troubled times, setting a challenge to his squad to fight their way to every point possible.
Adelaide United’s form has also stuttered in recent weeks, suffering three defeats in their past four league games. In that time they were lifted by their FFA Cup final win over Perth Glory, and an extra couple of days rest since their last game could prove telling against a weary Sydney side.
Friday 26th December, Allianz Stadium Moore Park 19:45
Sydney FC v Adelaide United
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