tribalfootball previews this weekend's A-League semi-finals.
In what promises to be one of the biggest games in A-League history, City take on the Victory in the Melbourne derby at Etihad Stadium tonight.
Melbourne Victory's only absence will be first-choice keeper Nathan Coe after he was ruled out almost a month ago following back surgery, and will be replaced by 22-year old Lawrence Thomas.
John van 't Schip's season with City has been plagued with injuries and changes in personnel after the departure of star striker David Villa and the injury of Damien Duff in February. The Dutchman has had trouble implementing his particular style of play throughout the season but will be hoping his side can defy the odds and defeat the minor premiers to reach their first-ever A-League final.
There is no doubt that City's game plan will be similar to last week when they suffocated the life out of a normally free-flowing Wellington Phoenix. Van 't Schip will be hoping his midfielders, headlined by the ever-impressive Aaron Mooy, will be able to cut off the supply to a vibrant Victory attack containing the likes of Besart Berisha and Kosta Barbarouses.
The Victory have looked the most promising team all season, and have combined individual flair with team ethic. Berisha is a real threat in front of goals, no matter who is in defence, and if he can rediscover his best form against City, they could be in for a thumping. The Albanian has managed to find the back of the net four times in his last three derby matches and could again prove to be a key player.
If Victory can manage to continue their outstanding run of form, then I believe they should topple their city rivals, considering City's dreadful form at the Etihad. With that said, City managed to hold off the Phoenix away from home last week, so anything is possible in this clash, especially considering it's a Melbourne derby.