A-League preview: Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
The Big Blue is back, with an Italian legend part of it for the first time. Both sides are in form, and would love nothing more than to get one over the old rivals
Ferreira, Ansell, Leijer, Traore
Broxham, Milligan, CeleskiRojas, Flores, Thompson
Grant, Ryall, Tiago, Fabio
Emerton, McFlynn, Culina
Yau, Del Piero, Abbas
While Victory are 10 points and four places higher than the Sky Blues, both sides have picked up the same number of points from their past five games, meaning there should be very little between them.
Ange Postecoglou's side came away from the tough trip to Perth last Saturday with a solid 1-0 win and welcome back in-form midfielder Billy Celeski from suspension.
Defender Nick Ansell missed the Glory clash with a groin injury and is racing the clock to make a return, but has been included.
Celeski will replace the injured Spase Dilevski in midfield, while Ansell - if fit - will take the place of stand-in Leigh Broxham. New signings Francesco Stella and Jess Makarounas have both been included in the matchday squad and will be eyeing their debuts, with Jimmy Jeggo unable to assume his berth in midfield due to injury.
If the Victory were impressive in their win, then Sydney FC were sensational as they crushed a hapless Wellington 7-1.
Marquee man Del Piero was the star with four goals, and his partnership with new striker Joel Griffiths should only get stronger.
Griffiths and Rhyan Grant are both carrying minor knocks for the Sky Blues, who remain hopeful they will be passed fit to play.
The former's brother Adam is available again after a knee injury and could win a spot on the bench, while midfielders Paul Reid and Terry Antonis are both back in the squad.
But it is hard to see Frank Farina making any changes to his starting side after their best performance in some time.
The Victory came from two goals down to win 3-2 in the last meeting between the teams, with then-Sky Blues boss Ian Crook stepping down as coach less than 24 hours later.
If there's half as much drama and excitement as that match, then this promises to be one of the games of the season in front of a sell-out crowd.
The Sky Blues have won their past two to sit just outside the top six and, while they were superb against Wellington, this will be the true test of whether they are officially 'back'.
Given both sides' strong form, it is hard to pick a clear winner but one thing appears certain - there should be a few goals.
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Top 3 Predictions
Melbourne Victory 1-3 Sydney FC
- 9.59 %
Melbourne Victory 1-2 Sydney FC
- 8.22 %
Melbourne Victory 0-2 Sydney FC
- 8.22 %
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||26/01/2014||Melbourne Victory 0 - Sydney FC 5|
|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|
|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|
|-||Mark Daniel Milligan||Defender|
|-||Alessandro Del Piero||Striker|