Melbourne Victory - Melbourne City Preview
Carl Valeri Melbourne Victory Nicolas Colazo Melbourne City A-League
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After a tough few weeks for both sides, Saturday night's Melbourne derby provides a big opportunity to reboot and gain some momentum

Both Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City are in scratchy form heading into their fourth derby of 2016-17 in all competitions but three points could kick-start either team's title bid.

SQUADS

Melbourne Victory squad: 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Marco ROJAS, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Max BEISTER, 10.James TROISI, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Alan BARO, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22.Stefan NIGRO, 23.Jai INGHAM, 40.Matt ACTON (gk)

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 4.Nick ANSELL (promoted), 11.Mitch AUSTIN (promoted), 22.Stefan NIGRO (promoted)

Outs: 17.James DONACHIE (suspended – 1 match)

Unavailable: Nil

Melbourne City squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 6.Osama MALIK, 8.Neil KILKENNY, 9.Nicolas COLAZO, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 12.Nick FITZGERALD, 14.Daniel ARZANI, 17.Tim CAHILL, 18.Paulo RETRE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 21.Ruon TONGYIK, 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI (c), 26.Luke BRATTAN, 27.Fernando BRANDAN

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 2.Manny MUSCAT (promoted), 14.Daniel ARZANI (promoted) 18.Paulo RETRE (promoted)

Outs: 3.Josh ROSE (omitted)

Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (ACL – season), 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI (ACL – season)

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

Three Melbourne derbies down this season - one in the FFA Cup and two in the A-League - and the record reads two wins to City and one to Victory.

It seems a long time since City crushed Victory 4-1 at Etihad Stadium in Round 2 but if Michael Valkanis' men can repeat that performance at the same venue on Saturday night, they will give their season an almighty boost.

City have only won two of nine league fixtures since they lifted the FFA Cup in early November and two defeats in their past three games has seen them drop to fourth in the table.

Another loss this week might end their hopes of winning the championship.

No team has ever won the A-League grand final after finishing outside the top two spots and defeat at the hands of the Big V would leave City nine points adrift of Victory with nine matches remaining.

Coach Valkanis has dropped defender Josh Rose and promoted Manny Muscat, Daniel Arzani and Paulo Retre into an extended squad, but whether City's boss can spark his forward set-up will be critical to the derby result.

City have scored just one goal in each of their past four matches but they will hope they can rediscover their mojo against a Victory side that has lost three games on the trot.

Victory (32 points) could have both third-placed Brisbane Roar (27) and City (26) breathing down their neck by the end of the weekend if they lose their third derby of the campaign.

The Big V will be without defender James Donachie after his red card in last week's 2-1 home loss to leaders Sydney FC.

Nick Ansell is the obvious replacement for Donachie, while Mitch Austin and Stefan Nigro have also been added to Kevin Muscat's extended squad.

ROUTE TO GOAL

What has happened to Victory's forward third?

Despite still being the A-League's second-best attacking side this season - Victory have scored just one less goal than leaders Sydney - Muscat's men have only managed two goals in their three straight defeats and one of those was a penalty.

The positive is that Besart Berisha, James Troisi, Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Marco Rojas looked brilliant in patches against Perth Glory and Sydney over the past fortnight but they need to be more clinical.

City are in a somewhat similar position and their go-to excuse that opponents are simply "parking the bus" won't cut it anymore.

Valkanis and his coaching staff need to find a way for City to break down defences, with midfielder Luke Brattan claiming this week that they lack flair, cross the ball too often and need to move the ball quicker.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Max Beister. After just nine A-League appearances, the winger is heading back to Germany on "compassionate leave" and isn't expected to return. It all started so well for the 26-year-old with a goal on debut but his Victory stint ends in disappointment after only 123 minutes of action.

FORM LINES

Melbourne Victory: WWLLL

Article continues below

Melbourne City: DWLWL

PREDICTION

Melbourne Victory 1-1 Melbourne City

Melbourne Victory

form

All
MVC 1 - 4 WTU
L
WTU 0 - 1 MVC
W
SYD 1 - 4 MVC
W
MVC 3 - 1 WEL
W
BRR 1 - 1 MVC
D
MAC 1 - 4 MVC
W
NEW 1 - 2 MVC
W
MVC 0 - 0 BRR
D
MVC 3 - 0 MCY
W
MVC 1 - 1 WSW
D
Melbourne City

form

All
MCY 0 - 2 WTU
L
MCY 2 - 1 ADE
W
ADE 0 - 0 MCY
D
MCY 2 - 1 WEL
W
PER 2 - 0 MCY
L
UTC 0 - 3 MCY
W
MCY 0 - 0 PAT
D
JDR 1 - 1 MCY
D
MCY 2 - 1 JDR
W
PAT 1 - 1 MCY
D
Head to Head
20 Matches (7 Draws)
6 Total wins 7
2 Home wins 2
4 Away wins 5
Last 5 Matches
1 Wins
3 Draw
1 Wins
MVC 3 - 0 MCY
MCY 1 - 1 MVC
MCY 2 - 2 MVC
MVC 1 - 1 MCY
MCY 7 - 0 MVC
7 Goals Scored 11
Games Over 2.5 Goals 3 / 5
Both Teams Scored 3 / 5
Team Comparison
  • Attack
  • Defence
  • Distribution
  • Discipline
Player Comparison

Match Facts

  1. Melbourne Victory have won four of the last seven Melbourne Derbies, including a 2-1 victory in the last iteration which saw them snap a three-game winless streak in the fixture.
  2. Melbourne City won the last Melbourne Derby at Etihad Stadium 4-1 in Round 2 this season, snapping a four-game losing streak at the venue which had seen Melbourne Victory score 14 goals against them.
  3. A 2-1 loss to Sydney FC at Etihad Stadium in Round 18 leaves Melbourne Victory on the precipice of consecutive defeats at the venue for the first, and only, time since November 2005.
  4. Melbourne City have lost only one of their last 11 games played on a Saturday, though the last time they won such a fixture was in Round 2 in a 4-1 rout of Melbourne Victory.
  5. Melbourne Victory have scored 25 goals when playing on home soil so far this season, nine more than any other team in the competition.
  6. Melbourne City have conceded just 22% of their goals from set pieces this season, the lowest percentage of any team in the competition and nine percentage points fewer than Victory.
  7. Besart Berisha has scored 10 goals in his last 12 games against Melbourne City, including seven goals in his last eight Melbourne Derbies.
  8. The competitions two leading goal scorers, Besart Berisha (13) and Bruno Fornaroli (12) face off.
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