The Victory are the only team to have saluted over the A-League’s tear away leaders so far this season so it will be interesting to see what sort of approach they take this time around.
It is a well known fact that Melbourne needs points to stay in the finals race as the teams below start to pick up their form but tonight they take on a Brisbane Roar outfit who have been running rungs around their opponents.
Sunday’s 5-1 demolition job of fourth-placed Central Coast Mariners suggests that the Roar are capable of scoring goals against anybody, so a leaky Victory should not prove too much of a problem.
However, Ernie Merrick’s men always seem to get themselves up for the big matches when it really counts so I am sensing a positive result for the two-time champions.
The loss of Adrian Leijer to suspension is a massive blow for Melbourne as he could have been the man to mark the dangerous Thomas Broich but Massimo Murdocca’s absence from the Roar line-up is equally as important as he, along with skipper Matt McKay, sets the scene in midfield.
This fixture promises to be a beauty but I cannot split the pair, purely due to the fact that the Victory, at their best, can get the job done but the Roar have so far proven very hard to beat.
Verdict: 2-2 draw
Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar
Date: Friday, 3 December 2010
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Local kick-off: 8.00pm
Referee: Peter Green
Head-to-head: All matches (played 17): Melbourne Victory wins 10, Brisbane Roar wins 5 (2 draws)
Match fact: After scoring eight goals in its past two matches, Brisbane Roar are now averaging 1.84 goals per match for the season (35 goals in 19 matches), and are closing in on the Hyundai A-League's record goals per game ratio for a home-and-away season. This record is currently held by Melbourne Victory who averaged 1.95 goals per game in the 2006/07 season (41 goals in 21 matches).
Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1, FS1 HD and Sky Sports 2 (NZ). Hyundai A-League club broadcast partner is 774 ABC (Melbourne) and SEN Digital. To purchase tickets visit www.ticketmaster.com.au
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 2. Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3. Mate DUGANDZIC, 4. Petar FRANJIC, 5. Surat SUKHA, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 7. Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 10. Archie THOMPSON, 11.Marvin ANGULO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 13. Diogo FERREIRA, 14. Billy CELESKI, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 19. Evan BERGER, 20.Sebastian MATTEI (gk), 21. Robbie KRUSE 27. Geoff KELLAWAY *three to be omitted*
In: Geoff KELLAWAY (promoted), Matthew KEMP (returns from injury), Surat SUKHA (promoted), Petar FRANJIC (promoted).
Out: Adrian LEIJER (susp.) Tom PONDELJAK (back – 1 week)
Unavailable: RICARDINHO (knee - 3 weeks)
Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH, 3. Luke DEVERE, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 9. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 11. REINALDO, 12. Matt MUNDY, 15 Matt McKAY (c) 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Milan SUSAK
In: 18. Luke BRATTAN (promoted)
Out: 8. Massimo MURDOCCA (groin – 1 week)
Unavailable: 4. Shane STEFANUTTO (hamstring – 3 weeks), 10. HENRIQUE (broken arm – 4-6 weeks)