A-League preview: Melbourne Heart v Melbourne Victory
The city rivals face off again, with last time's victors having had a far tougher time of it than the boys in blue. So which side will take bragging rights this time at AAMI Park?
Marrone, Gerhardt, Colosimo, Behich
Fred, Garcia, Thompson
Hoffman, Tadic, Williams
Ferreira, Ansell, Leijer, Traore
Celeski, Milligan, FinklerRojas, Flores, Thompson
Red and blue will fill the stadium in what is sure to be another memorable night in Melbourne.
Heart claimed bragging rights after toppling their city-rivals 2-1 in October's season-opener at Etihad Stadium, but rookie coach John Aloisi has experienced a mixed bag of results since that memorable night, which attracted more than 40,000 spectators.
Only two wins have been recorded following that result, leaving Heart just two points clear of bottom spot, although they are within five points of third-placed Victory.
While Heart have stagnated since the pair's previous meeting, Victory have gone from strength to strength.
The dual A-League champions appear to have finally come to terms with Ange Postecoglou's game plan, collecting eight points from a possible 15 in their past five fixtures.
Victory have found wins against Heart hard to come by, but their record of three defeats from 20 previous games at AAMI Park should fill them with confidence.
Heart's biggest concern is likely to be their attacking threat. In 90 minutes of football at Bluetongue Stadium last Friday, Heart could only manage two shots on goal against the Mariners.
Central Coast were fantastic but more was expected from the red half of Melbourne, even allowing for the absence of Croatian striker Josip Tadic.
Tadic should return to the squad, while Argentine midfielder Jonatan Germano could feature for the first time this season after finally recovering from a calf injury.
One area Victory coach Postecoglou would love improvement in is the conceding of silly goals.
In what has become a regular issue this season, Victory have experienced a number of defensive lapses that have resulted in goals.
Victory have brought Spase Dilevski, Theo Markelis and Jason Geria into their extended squad, while it will be intriguing if Postecoglou persists with 18-year-old central defender Nick Ansell after handing him his debut against the Roar.
Midfielder Billy Celeski is battling a back complaint and appears to be the most concerning matter for Victory.
Whether it is under the guidance of former coach John van't Schip or Aloisi, Heart always seem to rise to the occasion, regardless of their form or standing in the table.
However, Victory is building to something big and will be as determined as ever to get one over their rivals.
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Top 3 Predictions
Melbourne Heart 3-2 Melbourne Victory
- 25 %
Melbourne Heart 5-6 Melbourne Victory
- 12.5 %
Melbourne Heart 2-2 Melbourne Victory
- 12.5 %
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||02/02/2013||Melbourne Victory 2 - Melbourne Heart 1|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||22/12/2012||Melbourne Heart 1 - Melbourne Victory 2|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||05/10/2012||Melbourne Victory 1 - Melbourne Heart 2|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||04/02/2012||Melbourne Heart 0 - Melbourne Victory 0|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||23/12/2011||Melbourne Heart 3 - Melbourne Victory 2|
|30/03/2013||Central Coast Mariners 2 - Melbourne Heart 1||AUS1|
|24/03/2013||Brisbane Roar 2 - Melbourne Heart 0||AUS1|
|16/03/2013||Melbourne Heart 1 - Western Sydney Wanderers 3||AUS1|
|11/03/2013||Melbourne Heart 0 - Adelaide United 2||AUS1|
|03/03/2013||Wellington Phoenix 1 - Melbourne Heart 0||AUS1|
|6||Patrick Nyema Gerhardt||Defender|
|-||Mark Daniel Milligan||Defender|
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed