A-League preview: Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Heart
The Heart face the A-League's toughest test at present when they travel to the league leaders. Can they pull off any unlikely upset?
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS
Bojic, Sainsbury, Zwaanswijk, RoseMontgomery, Hutchinson, McGlinchey,
Rogic, McBreen, Ibini
Marrone, Gerhardt, Colosimo, Behich
Fred, Garcia, Thompson
Williams, Tadic, Hoffman
The Mariners are strong favourites for the clash but Melbourne Heart have shown signs of improvement, with a three-match unbeaten run back-ended by a 1-0 win against Perth Glory last week.
Last time the two clubs met, in October, Pedj Bojic's stunning free kick ensured Arnold's side returned to New South Wales with all three points.
And, having triumphed 2-0 over Newcastle Jets in F3 Derby 28 on Saturday, Central Coast will be looking extend their own unbeaten run to seven games.
Daniel McBreen claimed a brace in the win over the Jets, and the 35-year-old is now the leading scorer in the A-League with nine goals this season.
The return of attacking midfielder Tom Rogic and first-choice goalkeeper Mat Ryan from Socceroos duty will also help the Mariners, who will enter the match hunting their fourth consecutive win. Oliver Bozanic drops out with minor concussion.
But the hosts also regain some talent, with midfielder Richard Garcia and full-backs Aziz Behich and Michael Marrone to slot immediately back into John Aloisi's XI.
The Mariners have enjoyed a terrific start to the season and it is hard to see that stopping, particularly at home.
Scoring goals has not been a problem for Central Coast - they have a league-high 19 - and Heart goalkeeper Clint Bolton will probably have a busy evening.
Given the Heart have struggled to find the back of the net, finding a way through the Mariners' disciplined approach will prove a monumental effort.
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Top 3 Predictions
Central Coast Mariners 1-0 Melbourne Heart
- 19.23 %
Central Coast Mariners 0-0 Melbourne Heart
- 7.69 %
Central Coast Mariners 5-1 Melbourne Heart
- 7.69 %
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||05/01/2014||Central Coast Mariners 0 - Melbourne Heart 0|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||19/10/2013||Melbourne Heart 2 - Central Coast Mariners 2|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||30/03/2013||Central Coast Mariners 2 - Melbourne Heart 1|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||14/12/2012||Central Coast Mariners 2 - Melbourne Heart 0|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||28/10/2012||Melbourne Heart 0 - Central Coast Mariners 1|
|Central Coast Mariners|
|07/03/2014||Melbourne Victory 3 - Central Coast Mariners 1||AUS1|
|01/03/2014||Central Coast Mariners 2 - Sydney FC 1||AUS1|
|25/02/2014||FC Seoul 2 - Central Coast Mariners 0||ACL|
|21/02/2014||Central Coast Mariners 1 - Wellington Phoenix 4||AUS1|
|14/02/2014||Adelaide United 2 - Central Coast Mariners 0||AUS1|
|6||Patrick Nyema Gerhardt||Defender|
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed