More Than Just A Top Five Tussle Images/Mark Nolan
Marcelo Carrusca is a key for Adelaide. Image courtesy of: Images/Mark Nolan

After a disastrous start to the 2013/14 season, during which Adelaide United went eight games without a win, the club has certainly turned things around. Since mid-December, the Reds have notched five wins and three draws, with their only loss a 2-1 result against the in-form Wellington. Last week they thumped Sydney 3-0 in a most impressive road trip.

Adelaide is one of just three teams to topple competition-leader Brisbane after a 2-1 upset at Suncorp Stadium on January 11. At home, the Reds’ victims this campaign include Western Sydney 1-0 , Perth 3-1 and the Mariners 4-0 . Interestingly, the big win on December 14 was Adelaide’s first over Central Coast in 12 previous encounters, dating back to September 2009. 

In round three, the Mariners enjoyed a 1-0 victory at Gosford, which plunged the Reds into a dark period from which most thought they’d struggle to overcome. While they've emerged from the dark days, the champions have encountered their own problems. Following a period of consolidation, which included a 2-1 win over Perth and 3-0 against the Jets, the Mariners have again gone off the boil. They've started this month with losses to Roar and Victory.

As we head into the last third of the A-League season, coaches are looking to finalise combinations and build momentum. Phil Moss is no different at the Mariners and would love for his players to find the form which brought them success last season. However, many troops from that squad have moved on and Moss is still trying to make his mark after taking over from Graham Arnold. Moss does potentially have an ace up his sleeve following the arrival of Korean play-maker Kim Seung-Yong. Nick Montgomery returns from suspension.

At Adelaide, Josep Gombau is only now starting to produce consistent results. The Reds are fifth, just three points behind the Mariners (third) and this is going to be a good test of their finals prospects. With his defense solid, Gombau will be looking for Marcelo Carrusca to supply some midfield magic.

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