A-League preview: Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
The A-League's 'Big Blue' returns on Saturday, with the hosts keen to atone for their thumping last week and the visitors out to continue their winning feeling
Grant, Ryall, Griffiths, Fabio
Emerton, Reid, Abbas
Yau, Del Piero, Lovrek
Ferreira, Franjic, Leijer, Traore
Milligan, Finkler, CeleskiRojas, Flores, Thompson
It is the league's original marquee match and this massive rivalry is the showpiece game of Week 5.
But while this game is between the A-League's biggest clubs, it also brings together the two most fragile teams.
Both have had volatile starts to the season. And if the Sky Blues put in another performance like they did in their 7-2 hammering by the Mariners', then Allianz Stadium could be Sydney's most dangerous place on Saturday.
The Victory looked to have shed any psychological scarring from their 5-0 humiliation against Brisbane in Week 2 in the first half last Monday against Wellington, but had their lead threatened by two late Phoenix goals.
Victory manager Ange Postecoglou was left furious after the match, so his players will undoubtedly be out to make amends for their lapse.
Postecoglou has had more success with his game plan in the past few weeks, however, and Sydney FC need to be wary of being caught out flat at the back.
But the game will be decided by the attackers, and if Alessandro Del Piero is declared fit to play it will greatly improve a Sky Blues attacking which looks dull without him.
At the other end of the pitch, Archie Thompson, Marcos Flores and Marco Rojas have shown the danger they pose to opposition defences.
All three are versatile and able to play high, drop back or move wide when needed, and Sydney FC Ian Crook will have trouble containing the trio.
Crook has been forced to defend allegations his players gave up in the game against the Mariners, so one can be sure to see a fiery beginning to the clash.
Crook is likely to resist playing Jason Culina against the Victory in what would have been his first game in almost two years, though he has been named in the squad.
Defender Adam Griffiths is one week short of a return, but former Victory left-back Fabio, Dutch central defender Pascal Bosschaart and Del Piero all return to the squad.
Victory coach Ange Postecoglou, meanwhile, could go into the match with an unchanged XI from the one that impressed for much of the win against the Phoenix.
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Top 3 Predictions
Sydney FC 8-0 Melbourne Victory
- 17.24 %
Sydney FC 2-0 Melbourne Victory
- 12.07 %
Sydney FC 2-1 Melbourne Victory
- 8.62 %
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||09/11/2013||Sydney FC 3 - Melbourne Victory 2|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||16/03/2013||Sydney FC 1 - Melbourne Victory 1|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||26/01/2013||Melbourne Victory 3 - Sydney FC 1|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||10/11/2012||Sydney FC 2 - Melbourne Victory 3|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||10/03/2012||Sydney FC 1 - Melbourne Victory 0|
|30/11/2013||Sydney FC 2 - Newcastle Jets 0||AUS1|
|23/11/2013||Sydney FC 2 - Wellington Phoenix 1||AUS1|
|15/11/2013||Melbourne Heart 0 - Sydney FC 2||AUS1|
|09/11/2013||Sydney FC 3 - Melbourne Victory 2||AUS1|
|02/11/2013||Perth Glory 1 - Sydney FC 0||AUS1|
|-||Alessandro Del Piero||Striker|
|-||Mark Daniel Milligan||Defender|