Arnold bullish about Sydney's FFA Cup final chances vs. tired Adelaide
Graham Arnold has backed well-rested Sydney FC to pick apart fatigued Adelaide United in Tuesday's FFA Cup final, while hinting star winger Adrian Mierzejewski could return to the starting line-up.
The Sky Blues enjoyed the perfect preparation for their second Cup decider in as many years, running out a 2-1 win over Newcastle at Allianz Stadium on Saturday to reclaim top spot from the Jets.
While Arnold was pleased his premiers and champions rebounded from last week's Central Coast upset, he was more interested in the advantage of 10 days at home to ready for their treble push.
It's in stark contrast to the Reds, who travelled from Adelaide to Gosford for Thursday's 2-1 win over the Mariners before flying back home for the weekend.
To top off the sapping long-haul schedule, Marco Kurz's team will get back on a plane to Sydney on Monday.
Sydney start as favourites after being handed home-ground advantage, much to the displeasure of Adelaide United chairman Greg Griffin who slammed Football Federation Australia's "Sydney-centric" decision -- despite it being the competition's first final held in NSW.
"It's fantastic, we don't have to travel; they've had to travel twice," Arnold said.
"We've been here, we had a good week. The boys are fit and ready to go and we'll be firing on all cylinders.
"[Luke] Wilkshire I rested obviously, Matty Simon I rested, [Milos] Ninkovic and [Alex] Brosque [played] 60 minutes so they're fine.
"Adrian is a good chance of starting and he'll be fresh. So we've probably got seven or eight fresh players."
Mierzejewski, the Polish talent signed to replace Filip Holosko, has started only two games this season since limping off the field with a hamstring injury in round two.
The 31-year-old returned to the bench on Saturday for a 25-minute cameo in trying conditions.
"It's not easy to come back in and get the rhythm with 20 minutes to go, end-to-end game in pelting down rain and a heavy pitch," Arnold said.
"But he's 100 percent fine and will be ready for Tuesday night.
"It's a trophy this club has never won. I know it's only been around for a couple of years.
"We, as a club, have taken the FFA Cup very seriously compared to other clubs.
"The reason is we want the treble, we want the third trophy.
"And we will get it."