A-League preview: Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory
The absences of key men for both sides blurs the form line for Friday's match, with perhaps the ability to cover the holes the key factor at AAMI Park
Ferreira, Franjic, Leijer, Traore
Celeski, Finkler, Broxham
Rojas, Flores, Nabbout
Risdon, Pantelidis, V. d. Brink, Heffernan
Dodd, Miller, Ward, ZahraSmeltz, Mehmet
Melbourne Victory will look to continue their unbeaten run - after wins over the Western Sydney Wanderers, Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix and a draw with the Central Coast Mariners in their past four matches - when the Perth Glory visit on Friday.
Victory accounted for the Wanderers 2-0 in Parramatta last weekend, despite the dismissal of Sam Gallagher just 16 minutes into the match.
Ange Postecoglou's men are in third and six points behind league leaders Adelaide United, who meet the second-placed Mariners in a blockbuster clash on Saturday.
Opponents Perth Glory looked the better of the two teams against Wellington but failed to capitalise on their chances in a 1-1 draw at nib Stadium last weekend. Glory are fifth but could slip as low as eighth if beaten in the first of two consecutive games at AAMI Park against the two Melbourne teams.
Both sides have been hampered by international commitments for the fixture, with Scott Jamieson and Michael Thwaite for Perth and Archie Thompson and Mark Milligan for Victory selected for Australia's East Asia Cup qualifiers in Hong Kong.
Thwaite could be replaced in the Glory line-up by Dutchman Bas van den Brink, though Dean Heffernan is more likely to return and will fill the void left by Jamieson.
But Glory have been dealt an added blow, with captain Jacob Burns suspended for picking up his fifth yellow card. Conversely, Victory regain playmaker Marcos Flores from suspension, and Leigh Broxham, Jonathan Bru and Isaka Cernak are in the running to replace Milligan. New signing Jason Geria is in teh squad, but the match may come too soon for the Young Socceroo given he only linked up with his new team-mates on Thursday.
Victory are full of confidence after defying the odds against Western Sydney and already the club's faithful are talking finals, as Postecoglou continues to drive the transformation of the side that finished eighth on the ladder last season.
Glory coach Ian Ferguson questioned the consistency of his side after they had seven more shots than Phoenix but failed to secure the three points.
Ferguson wants quicker delivery up front to the likes of Shane Smeltz and Billy Mehmet.
History suggests this clash is likely to feature more than one goal. The teams have played out just one scoreless draw since they first met in 2005, with a whopping 76 goals produced in 21 contests.
Last season's three meetings alone generated 15 goals and, while Victory have not beaten Perth since 2010, expect the home side to make amends and maintain the pressure on frontrunners Adelaide and the Mariners.
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Top 3 Predictions
Melbourne Victory 8-8 Perth Glory
- 22.22 %
Melbourne Victory 2-0 Perth Glory
- 14.82 %
Melbourne Victory 2-1 Perth Glory
- 14.82 %
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||31/01/2014||Perth Glory 1 - Melbourne Victory 1|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||13/12/2013||Melbourne Victory 2 - Perth Glory 0|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||05/04/2013||Melbourne Victory 2 - Perth Glory 1|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||23/03/2013||Melbourne Victory 2 - Perth Glory 3|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||19/01/2013||Perth Glory 0 - Melbourne Victory 1|
|07/03/2014||Melbourne Victory 3 - Central Coast Mariners 1||AUS1|
|01/03/2014||Melbourne Heart 4 - Melbourne Victory 0||AUS1|
|26/02/2014||Guangzhou Evergrande 4 - Melbourne Victory 2||ACL|
|22/02/2014||Melbourne Victory 4 - Adelaide United 3||AUS1|
|15/02/2014||Melbourne Victory 2 - SCG Muangthong United 1||ACL|
|-||Bas Van den Brink||Defender|
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed