The return of Archie Thompson should have the Melbourne Victory full of confidence heading into their Week 13 clash with Gold Coast United. The Victory are the only team to beat United this season and with the A-League's all-time leading scorer back in their ranks would be feeling good about tomorrow night's meeting.
Melbourne flexed their muscle last week with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over the previously undefeated Adelaide United, indicating that they are on their way back to the form they are so used to showing.
In the Gold Coast camp, things are also very positive as they are sitting in fourth place on the table, having not lost in seven matches since taking on this weekend's opponents in Week 4.
Young guns James Brown and Tahj Minniecon are both in out with illness whilst Bruce Djite and John Curtis are injured and won't make the trip but coach Miron Bleiberg, ever the optimist, is confident his team has enough depth to come to Etihad Stadium, where the Victory have won 7 of their last 8 (which includes the drawn Grand Final which they lost on penalties) dating back to January 16, and take the points.
However, the return of Thompson after eight months out with a knee injury will spark the home side to a strong win in front of a healthy crowd.
Verdict: Victory 1-0
Melbourne Victory v Gold Coast UnitedDate: Saturday, 6 November 2010 Venue: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne Local kick-off: 7.00pm local Head-to-Head: All matches (played 4): Melbourne Victory wins 3, Gold Coast United wins 1 (0 draws) Referee: Peter Green
Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1, FS1 HD & Sky Sport 1 (NZ). Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partners are 774 ABC (Melbourne), SEN Digital and ABC Digital (Adelaide). 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, 8.Grant BREBNER, 10. Archie THOMPSON, 11.Marvin ANGULO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 14. Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 19. Evan BERGER, 20.Sebastian MATTEI (gk), 21. Robbie KRUSE 23. Adrian LEIJER, 27. Geoff KELLAWAY *four to be omitted* In: Petar FRANJIC (promoted), Marvin ANGULO (promoted), Archie THOMPSON (returns from injury) Out: Ricardinho (knee - 3 weeks), Diogo FERREIRA (thigh strain) Unavailable: Matthew KEMP (knee - 2-3 weeks)
Gold Coast United squad: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 2.Steve PANTELIDIS, 3.Michael THWAITE, 5.ROBSON, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 8.ANDERSON, 10.Jason CULINA (c), 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 14.Joel PORTER, 16.Kristian REES, 20.Scott HIGGINS (gk), 22.Adama TRAORE, 23.Steve FITZSIMMONS, 26.Ben HALLORAN, 27.Chris HAROLD *two to be omitted* In: Scott HIGGINS (gk) (promoted), Ben HALLORAN (promoted), Chris HAROLD (promoted) Out: Jerrad TYSON [gk] (not selected), James BROWN (ill), Tahj MINNIECON (ill), Unavailable: Daniel Piorkowski (ankle injury - indefinite), Matt Osman (knee injury - indefinite)
Match fact: After scoring in his previous four appearances, Melbourne Victory's Robbie Kruse will equal the Hyundai A-League record for scoring in most consecutive matches if he scores in his next appearance. The current record of scoring in five consecutive matches is held by Joel Griffiths (for Newcastle Jets, December 2007 to January 2008) and Shane Smeltz (for Gold Coast United, December 2009 to January 2010)