United and Sydney FC could cancel each other out at the Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday.
Adelaide secured their first victory of the season with a narrow 1-0 win at home to hapless Perth last weekend to move off the bottom of the table, though they have played a game more than Perth. Sydney, meanwhile picked up their first win in five games as they were also 1-0 home winners against the Jets. That win moves them back into the top three and level with Victory (who were shocked by the Phoenix), though the Champions do have a game in hand.
For all their troubles this season, Adelaide have lost just once at home, picking up draws against the top two sides in the division, Wanderers and Victory. Four of their five games at the Hindmarsh Stadium have had fewer than three goals (three had fewer than two) as they’ve kept three clean sheets, with the exception being the 4-2 defeat against City. Indeed, as well as keeping the Wanderers and Victory to draws at home this season, Adelaide’s home record to top-three finishers last term was W1-D4-L0 and if we include those results from this season then six of these seven games had fewer than three goals and two were 0-0’s.
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Three draws and a defeat in their last five games has stalled Sydney’s progress somewhat, though the defeat against Victory was their only loss this season and they once again remain in a strong position in the A-League as they look to go one better than their runners-up finish last season. Sydney drew at Perth in their last away game to bring to an end a remarkable run of 10 straight away wins and they’re in fact unbeaten on the road since the start of last season with a W12-D5-L0 record. Half of these wins were by more than one goal and five were without conceding as 10 of the matches had more than two goals. That was largely down to Sydney scoring at least twice in 11 of those away games but the goals have dried up this season following the departure of top scorer Marc Janko. Their record at bottom-half finishers last season was W6-D2-L0, and though only two of those wins were without conceding and three saw at least six goals, their matches this season have seen fewer goals than any other side with three of their four wins coming by 1-0 scores and three of their last five matches finishing goalless.
Adelaide are unbeaten in their four home games against Sydney since 2012/13 and two of the last three of these games were draws. This, together with the strong respective home and away records of both sides and their strong draw trend this season means that they could cancel each other out: Adelaide have drawn three of their five home games while Sydney have had four draws already, the most of any side in the division, and they’ve also drawn the first half in all nine of their matches this season.