Kevin Muscat's hosts will look to make amends for a disappointing home loss in their last outing, while the visitors from WA are seeking a first away victory of 2013-14
It's a recurring theme for the powerhouse club, but Victory need to start turning their dominance of possession into more goals and wins. They controlled proceedings away to the Central Coast Mariners in Round 8, but were unable to breach the champions' defence. It was a similar story last time out, with James Troisi's well-worked goal all they managed despite spending the majority of the game camped out in the Jets' half. There are issues at the back too, where expensively acquired Chilean marquee defender Pablo Contreras continues to underwhelm, and was specifically at fault for Nathan Burns' winner on Sunday.
There is plenty to like about Perth Glory. Their crop of talented youngsters, touted so publically as the future of the club by coach Alistair Edwards in pre-season, have performed admirably when called on to replace the likes of Scott Jamieson, who has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign with a torn Achilles, and Steve Pantelidis, allowed to move to Malaysia club Selangor FA. Brazilian wide forward Sidnei Scolari gets better every week, and made the difference with two goals in a 4-2 win over Wellington Phoenix last week. But the Glory looked shaky away to Brisbane Roar in Round 8, up against a team with similar technical ability to Victory. Do they have what it takes to keep their shape and repel what are sure to be numerous waves of navy blue and white attacks?
A rugged, no-nonsense defender who has been in solid form so far in 2013-14, the performance of Michael Thwaite could prove to be decisive in the outcome. With the likes of Jack Clisby, Riley Woodcock and Matthew Davies sorely lacking in first-team experience, Glory will need the leadership and know-how of Thwaite to guide them through a testing encounter. It will be all about positional discipline for the visitors if they are to follow the Jets' example in stifling Victory's 4-2-4 formation, and Thwaite must lead by example at the back, breaking up attacks, using the ball well when he receives it and keeping a cool head throughout.
Although both teams have a number of promising, callow youths in their ranks, the Glory are a few steps behind the Jets in their development as a team, and may be unable to repeat their feat of beating Victory in their own backyard. Proven to be vulnerable on the road, they will be up against it when they face a Victory team who will surely be determined not to make the same mistakes they did last Sunday. Muscat's players looked somewhat flat against Newcastle, with Mitch Nichols and James Troisi - crucial to the success of Victory's tactics - not quite matching their usual high standards of work rate and intelligent movement. That is unlikely to be the case this week, or the men in navy blue and white will be in for a serious spray from their passionate head coach, as well as the displeasure of their fanatical supporters.
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