With several missing players and the threat of an Emile Heskey-led Newcastle Jets, are Victory too short for Friday's clash at AAMI Park?
|By PAUL GOUGH
Melbourne Victory could be vulnerable at short odds for Friday's A-League home clash with the Newcastle Jets to complete Week 13.
Victory are short-priced favourites for this one at $1.67 at sportsbet.com.au and $1.82 at Betfair, with the Jets paying around the $4.50 mark while the draw is priced at $3.85 at Betfair.
But there are several compelling reasons to steer clear of taking the Victory on at the short price on Friday.
The Victory are sitting in third spot and are on a high after last week's last-minute 2-1 win over Melbourne Heart - their first derby win in just over two years.
But not only is the possibility of a letdown after such an emotional win a worry heading into this game against the sixth-placed Jets, but more so the fact the Victory will be without two key players following the win over Heart.
Key man Mark Milligan, perhaps the Victory's most important player given both his ability to score and to protect the defence in his midfield role, is out suspended for punching Heart midfielder Jonatan Germano in the derby.
And Victory skipper Adrian Leijer is also out suspended after picking up yet another yellow card against the Heart.
The absence of those two, and in particular central defender Leijer, could leave the Victory's defence vulnerable against a Jets attack led by former England striker Emile Heskey.
|Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets to draw at $3.85 at Betfair
||Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets to draw 2-2 at $13.50 at Betfair|
Heskey was back on the scoresheet in last Friday's 2-1 win over Sydney to give the big target-man his sixth goal of the season.
And the Jets also have a fantastic recent record against the Victory, with wins in three of their past four meetings, including a 3-1 win in Melbourne last season.
You can get the massive odds of $44 at Betfair on the Jets winning by that scoreline again on Friday, but Victory are a much-improved side this season under Ange Postecoglou.
But with Leijer and Milligan suspended, we fancy a draw in this one and a score draw at that, given both teams' shaky defences this season.
A 1-1 draw is perhaps the most likely result and is paying $8 at Betfair, but we like the look of a 2-2 draw at the attractive odds of $13.50 at Betfair.
* Note prices subject to change