News Live Scores

Why Kuwait could shock the Socceroos in Graham Arnold's second coming

8:38 PM EDT 10/14/18
Graham Arnold Socceroos
The green and gold will face a surprisingly stern first test in Arnold's return to the national team

Don't let their low FIFA ranking fool you, Kuwait are more than capable of spoiling Graham Arnold's first game back in charge of the Socceroos

After a two-year FIFA ban, the now world number 159 returned to competitive action late last year and have quickly shaken off the cobwebs of their exile.

Currently on a four-game unbeaten run, Kuwait have picked up wins against Palestine and Lebanon, while also holding Egypt and Iraq to respectable draws.

Full of confidence, home-ground advantage also looks set to play into Kuwait's favour with a temperature of 30°C expected at Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium when the game gets underway at 7.30pm local time (3.30am AEDT).

Throw in 62 percent humidity and the Socceroos, most of which play their club football in Europe, must adapt quickly if they are to keep their opponents at bay for the full 90 minutes.

After struggling for goals at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, new coach Graham Arnold is desperate to breathe new life into the Socceroos attack but Kuwait will be equally keen to suffocate them.

Conceding on average just one goal across their past ten games since returning to international action, Kuwait certainly won't be easy pickings for Australia moving forward. 

Without all-time leading goal scorer Tim Cahill or inspirational skipper Mile Jedinak, the Socceroos will be relying on new faces to find the back of the net. 

Apostolos Giannou is expected to earn a rare start leading the line and is yet to score for the national team, but Arnold is backing his team to deliver. 

"I have complete trust that these boys will make a great statement on Monday night," Arnold said.

"We've been working hard on the style we want to play - the style we will play - and it's about playing players to their strengths."

Should the Socceroos fail to fire up front however, it could leave them more exposed at the back with Arnold stressing he plans to get more of his players into the final third during attacking situations. 

"We'll go wide but have three or four (players) in the box, not one," he said. 

Though Australia were 4-1 winners last time they met Kuwait in 2015 on home soil, the green and gold did leak an early goal before battling back - something they might not be able to rely on this time around in the heat of Kuwait.

While Arnold will be desperate to start his second tenure in charge of the Socceroos on the right note, Kuwait loom as a potential early banana skin that can't be written off lightly.