Melbourne Heart face Sydney FC in Round 6 of the 2013-14 A-League season at AAMI Park on Friday November 15 at 7.30pm AEDT
Walker, Gerhardt, Wielaert, Behich
Dugandzic/Mebrahtu, Williams, Ramsay
Ryall, Jurman, Petkovic, Bojic
Carle, Emerton, Abbas
Chianese, Del Piero, Garcia
Played: 9, Wins: Heart 3, Sydney 1, Draws: 5
Heart 3-1 Sydney, February 24 2013
Past five matches:
The Heart could use what Sydney managed last week – a win – to ease the pressure on a coach under growing scrutiny. John Aloisi's men are winless this season and their last victory came in February – at home to the Sky Blues. Frank Farina was under pressure heading into his side's clash against the Melbourne Victory, but they came away with a hard-fought 3-2 win despite playing over an hour with 10 men. The Heart are also without a goal in their past three matches and have scored in just one game this campaign. Aloisi and the Heart desperately need a win or the pressure will only grow.
The big issue:
Heart – scoring goals by finishing chances. Aloisi is adamant and right when he says his side are creating enough opportunities to win matches, but if they continue to miss the target their goalless run will continue. Malta international Michael Mifsud has threatened, as have David Williams, Golgol Mebrahtu and Iain Ramsay, but the Heart need goals and they need to test the opposition goalkeeper more often.
Sydney – just whether the Sky Blues can reproduce a similar performance to the one they managed against arch-rivals the Victory. After left-back Marc Warren was sent off, Sydney scored a penalty through Alessandro Del Piero and then held on resolutely as the Victory were unable to break them down. The performance came as the pressure on coach Farina grew and they need to build on the emotionally and physically draining win.
The game breaker:
Alessandro Del Piero – the Italian superstar celebrated his 39th birthday with a winning goal against the Victory. He was fouled 12 times during the clash and has drawn criticism for going to ground too easily. It was his clever body positioning which drew many of the fouls and he showed his class throughout. Del Piero may be yet to reach peak fitness, but his ability to break games open in the attacking third makes him dangerous.
Prediction: Heart 2-1 Sydney
A goal must surely come for the Heart and who better to score one against than a team which has never won at AAMI Park. In seven trips to the Melbourne venue, the Sky Blues have drawn five times and lost on two other occasions. The Heart's last win came against Sydney at home in February this year. An early goal would settle the Heart's and Aloisi's nerves and Sydney's only clean sheet this season came in Round 1 against a poor Newcastle. After a tough run to start the season, the Heart must take advantage of their next few fixtures. Harry Kewell may still be unavailable, but the hosts have enough attacking talent to at least get on the scoresheet against the Sky Blues.