There are ominous signs from the Victory who are beginning to get back to their all-conquering best with much-improved performances in the past few matches.
Last week’s 3-1 derby win over Melbourne Heart followed up a desperately unlucky 3-3 draw with league leaders Brisbane Roar, indicating that Ernie Merrick’s men have their groove, at least in the attacking third, back.
10 goals in four matches suggests that things are flowing along nicely between Archie Thompson and Robbie Kruse up front and their understanding can only get better as they become more comfortable in the partnership.
Tomorrow they take on a Perth Glory outfit who seemed revitalised last Sunday after a week off. Ian Ferguson had his team playing with much more spirit and creativity and they should have been rewarded against Central Coast Mariners expect a late non-decision by the referee cost them full points.
The Glory are one of the only clubs to have a positive head-to-head record against the Victory which will give them confidence but the two-time A-League champions seem to have found an extra leg at AAMI Park in recent times and may be in good enough form to edge a win here.
Verdict : Victory 2-1
Melbourne Victory vs. Perth Glory
Date: Saturday, 18 December 2010
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Local kick-off: 7:00pm
Referee: Matthew Breeze
Head-to-Head: All matches (played 17): Melbourne Victory wins 6, Perth Glory wins 7 (4 draws)
Match facts: - Melbourne Victory midfielder Matthew Kemp is set to make his 100th Hyundai A-League appearance.
- Perth Glory veteran Jamie Harnwell is set to make his 250th Australian national league appearance; all of Harnwell’s Australian national league appearances have been with Perth Glory.
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 2. Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3. Mate DUGANDZIC, 5. Surat SUKHA, 7. Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9. RICARDINHO, 10. Archie THOMPSON, 11.Marvin ANGULO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 13. Diogo FERREIRA, 15. Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 19. Evan BERGER, 20. Sebastian MATTEI (gk), 21. Robbie KRUSE, 22. Geoff KELLAWAY 23. Adrian LEIJER *three to be omitted*
In: RICARDINHO (returns from knee injury)
Out: Billy CELESKI (suspended)
Unavailable: Leigh BROXHAM (calf – 1 week)
Perth Glory squad: 1. Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2. Josh MITCHELL 3. Jamie COYNE, 5.Jamie HARNWELL, 7.Jacob BURNS (C), 9.Robbie FOWLER, 11. Branko JELIC, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Tommy AMPHLETT, 14.Steven McGARRY, 15.Howard FONDYKE, 16. Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17. Todd HOWARTH, 18.Brent GRIFFITHS, 19. Naum SEKULOVSKI, 20. Alex Pearson (gk), 21.Mile STERJOVSKI, 22.Anthony SKORICH, 24. Josh RISDON *three to be omitted*
In: Jacob BURNS (c), Brent GRIFFITHS (returns from suspension), Naum SEKULOVSKI (returns from suspension), Mile STERJOVSKI (returns from suspension).
Unavailable: Andy TODD (hip – 1 week), Chris COYNE (on loan -January), Victor SIKORA (Hip – season)