Adelaide’s Carrusca headache

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Adelaide United fans will be devastated; Marcelo Carrusca, that brilliant Argentine playmaker that has been the thorn in every other A-League side this season, is injured.

A tear in his quad has confined the attacking-midfielder to the pines for two to four weeks, leaving United boss Josep Gombau with the headache of trying to fill the gap ahead of Saturday’s season-making clash with Sydney FC.

So what are Gombau’s options? He needs to find someone that can replace Carrusca’s pace and skill, without trying to lose the creative flair he injects into the side.

Furthermore, with Bruce Djite failing to fire on all cylinders in the season at hand, Carrusca’s goal-sneak capabilities have been crucial to so far, and as the league enters the finals race with the top half of the ladder all within a few points of each other, finding an adequate alternative is paramount.

The first option is to put Pablo Sanchez into a second striker role, leaving the rest relatively unchanged. Sanchez’s form in the league has improved dramatically since the Asian Cup break, and he can consider himself unlucky not to be a regular starter given Djite’s indifference in front of goal.

Alternatively, Awer Mabil is back in the United setup following his own injury spell, and whilst he is more adept on the right wing, putting him into an attacking midfielder role might suit the young prodigy. The problem with this solution, though, is that Mabil is without much game time, and even when he was fit he was almost always starting on the bench and coming on after about an hour.

Mid-season signing Miguel Palanca also fits this mold. Whilst his early form in Australia was underwhelming, against Melbourne Victory a fortnight ago fans were given an insight into what he was capable of. An opportunity like this might be exactly what he needs to find the form Gombau believes he is capable of before the finals begin.

The final suggestion – and possibly the most sensible one – is to take Sergio Cirio off of the wing and into Carrusca’s position. Cirio could then be replaced by Palanca on the wing, leaving Mabil to come off the bench after half-time. Cirio told The Football Sack earlier in the season that he prefers to play in front of goal, and he can almost match Carrusca for pace. The only downside would be Palanca’s tardiness, but Mabil can come on and solve that.

In any case Carrusca’s absence is the Sky Blues’ joy, but Adelaide must make do. Championship winning football sides don’t just rely on one player.

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