What Adelaide United need to change for next season

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After falling 16 agonising minutes short of an A-League Men grand final berth, what can Adelaide United change for next season to get them over the hump? 

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Time to lock in a number one goalkeeper 

Coming into the season, James Delianov was Adelaide’s number one in net, starting the first six games of the season before a shoulder injury ruled him out for the entirety of the season. 

Adelaide yet again looked towards their back-up in Joe Gauci to replace Delianov for the second time in consecutive years.  

Delianov started the first 10 games for United in the 2020/21 A-League Men season, until Gauci took over for the next 10 games. 

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Again, Gauci became Adelaide’s number one goalkeeper, and his stats speak for themselves. 

From the 31 appearances Gauci has made for the Reds, they have won exactly 50 per cent of their games, and secured points in 78% of them. 

The Reds only lose 22% of the time when Gauci is in net, compared to Delianov’s 42% losing rate in net. 

The stats speak for themselves, so is it time for Adelaide to make their hometown hero Gauci number one in net? 

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Number nine, number nine when will United find their number nine? 

The discovering of a number nine has been a long-time coming for Reds fans, as the club has struggled to find a centre forward since the departure of the club legend Bruce Djite at the end of their 2016 campaign.  

Many have come, but none have stayed. Baba Diawara, Tomi Juric and now Kusini Yengi are just a few of the tried and tested centre forwards that eventually departed the club. 

Now it is time for the Reds to find a centre forward that can be their guy for the next five years. 

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The Reds have some options from within, George Blackwood and Hiroshi Ibusuki proved this year they can score goals when it mattered most.  

But no longer can Adelaide continue to chop and change their main man up top. It is time to find their out-and-out striker that can deliver them a championship.  

Score first, think later? 

Adelaide’s sleepy starts sure did make for an exciting season, as time and time again they came back from the brink of a loss to find points.  

But the continuous rolling of the dice and letting your opponent score first and control the game is not a consistent winning formula. 

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Only one side conceded the first goal of the game more than Adelaide, as the last-placed Perth Glory conceded the first goal 18 times to Adelaide’s 14 times. 

It is time for the Reds to shake off their sleepy starts and score first, allowing them to control the game how they see fit. 

That is what will be the difference between a fourth-placed finish this year, and a top-two finish next season.  

Featured image credit: Jordan Trombetta

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Cameron Ottenhoff
Sport, media and communications student at Flinders University in Adelaide. I was forced to hang the boots up at a young age after discovering I'm no good at sport, so now I just talk about it instead.

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