Melbourne Heart and Western Sydney Wanderers will meet in Round 5 of the 2013-14 A-League season at AAMI Park on Friday, November 8 at 7.30pm AEDT
Walker, Gerhardt, Wielaert, Behich
Dugandzic, Ramsay, Williams
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
Polenz, T-Stanley, Beauchamp, D'Apuzzo
Poljak, La Rocca, OnoSantalab/Haliti, Juric, Bridge
Played: 3, Wins: Heart 0, Wanderers 3, Draws: 0
Melbourne Heart 1-3 Western Sydney Wanderers, March 16, 2013
Past five matches:
Harry Kewell was set to make his first appearance since round one after battling whiplash, but was withdrawn from the squad on Wednesday with an ankle injury. Heart are languishing at the bottom of the table with just two points from four games, after being dealt a 3-0 loss by the Brisbane Roar on Sunday. The result was somewhat unfair given Heart's plethora of first-half chances, but they failed to bury them. Kewell's continued absence will do them no favours this weekend, as they have just two goals in four games - both from the boot of David Williams. Heart will be boosted by the fact their two appearances in their home state this season have both been meritorious, although failing to beat either rivals Melbourne Victory or the Central Coast Mariners.
Wanderers are hitting their straps, with back-to-back victories taking them to second on the table behind Brisbane Roar. A gritty last-start win over Adelaide United exemplified the club's spirit, and they will be hungry to maintain their winning history over Heart. Wide forward Youssouf Hersi will remain on the sidelines for Tony Popovic's side as he continues to recover from a foot injury.
If trends are anything to go by, then one of the sides will not have 11 men on the park come the final whistle. The two previous clashes between them in 2013 saw the respective hosts finish a man down.
The big issue:
Melbourne - finishing. You can't fault Heart's ability to create chances. You can, however, crucify them on the topic of putting the ball in the back of the net. In three of their four games this season they have failed to score. Only Williams has found the back of the net, and fittingly his brace should have been a hat-trick against the Mariners - however he missed a sitter which would have earned them three points.
Western Sydney - complete performances. Impressive as they have been in general, the Wanderers have only pieced together one brilliant 90-minute effort - against Sydney FC - and have appeared patchy in their other three outings. It's only a minor blip on the radar, but Popovic will be keen to see the red-and-black brigade go all out and bury a Heart side that could be ripe for the picking.
The game breaker:
Tomi Juric - the centre-forward shone in the 2-1 comeback win at home to Adelaide United last week, offering a focal point for the hosts throughout, upsetting Adelaide with his physicality and netting both goals as Tony Popovic's team rallied to claim all three points. Expect him to trouble a Heart defence which will be without injured centre-back Patrick Kisnorbo.
Prediction: Heart 1-2 Wanderers
Heart have to score this week, but in fashion typical of the club, it won't earn them a much-needed point. The confidence of the two teams is at the opposite end of the spectrum, reflected by the table, and the Wanderers can continue to put smiles on the dials of football fans Australia-wide with another victory.
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