Perth Glory and Melbourne Heart will meet in Round 3 of the 2013-14 A-League season at nib Stadium on Sunday October 27 at 5pm AEDT.
Risdon, Pantelidis, O'Neill, Jamieson
Nagai, Maclaren, Sidnei
Hoffman, Kisnorbo, Wielaert, Behich
Dugandzic, Kewell, Williams
Played: 10, Wins: Glory 4, Heart 3, Draws: 3
Heart 2-0 Glory, February 9 2013
Past five matches:
Both the Heart and the Glory need a win to kick-start their season at nib Stadium, but the hosts have more to lose after their sluggish start to the campaign. Alistair Edwards' men played out a disappointing 0-0 draw in Newcastle after losing 3-1 to Adelaide in the opening round. A return to Perth is a welcome relief, especially against a side perhaps still hurting after giving up a two-goal lead in the previous round. John Aloisi's Heart led Central Coast 2-0 before a pair of Marcos Flores penalties helped the Mariners secure a fortunate point at AAMI Park. Heart held city rivals Victory to a scoreless draw in the opening round but will be eager to get a win ahead of tough matches against Brisbane and Western Sydney.
The big issue:
Glory – finding goals without injured star striker Shane Smeltz continues to be an issue for Perth. They managed one through Ryo Nagai in Adelaide but struggled against the Jets, with the trip to Hunter Stadium a winnable affair they failed to take advantage of. Nagai and Sidnei look dangerous while Jamie Maclaren needs to do more up front. Perhaps including teenager Daniel De Silva in the starting line-up may be what the Glory need.
Heart – Aloisi's men are finally put to the test interstate this season. It was their record outside Victoria last season which proved costly. Outside of their home state last season, the Heart played out a draw and remarkably tasted defeat 11 times. That record may improve courtesy of their counter-attacking style, which appears the way Aloisi intends to play regularly. Sitting back and using their pace on the break could suit Heart against a Glory side who like to keep possession.
The game breaker:
David Williams – the Heart speedster scored a brace against the Mariners and probably should have had a hat-trick. Replacing Harry Kewell behind the striker, Williams impressed and is one of several Heart attackers suited by their counter-attacking style. Malta international Michael Mifsud appears likely to start up front and that pace, as well as Williams' energy, has the Heart well-placed to end their dreadful away record.
Prediction: Glory 0-1 Heart
The Heart are yet to concede from anywhere but the penalty spot this season and Aloisi's new set up should make them difficult to break down again. Rob Wielaert and Patrick Kisnorbo have combined well in the centre of defence, while Aziz Behich has been solid at left-back and Jason Hoffman better than most expected on the right. Without Smeltz, Perth have found it difficult to score despite Sidnei impressing. A goal may be all that separates these two teams and Heart may well find it on the break to claim their first win outside Victoria since December 2011.