Preview - CC Mariners v Melbourne Victory
The Mariners' mobility in midfield was what really troubled Melbourne in those early games last year, but things have changed a lot at the Victory over the past 12 months. For one thing, we have two kids up front who will run the home side's defence to shreds over 90 minutes in Kruse and Dugandzic, plus Ricardinho.
Date: Friday September 3 Kick-off: 8:00pm AEST Venue: Bluetongue Stadium
Head-to-head Played 15: Wins: Melbourne Victory 7, Central Coast 5, Draws: 3
Previous Meeting Central Coast Mariners 0, Melbourne Victory 3, Bluetongue Stadium, December 2009
Why we don-t like 'em The Mariners inflicted two big defeats on Victory early last year, opening the season with a 2-0 win at Etihad before following that up with a 4-0 walloping on their next visit south. Melbourne got some revenge for that with a 3-0 success at the Bluetongue in December. Interestingly, Melbourne have not lost a match in Gosford since 2007.
Season so far: Central Coast Mariners: R4: Sydney FC 1, Central Coast Mariners 1, SFS R3: Wellington Phoenix 2, Central Coast Mariners 0, Westpac Stadium R2: Central Coast Mariners 1, Adelaide United 1, Bluetongue Stadium R1: Melbourne Heart 0, Central Coast Mariners 1, AAMI Park
Melbourne Victory R4: Gold Coast United 0, Melbourne Victory 1, Skilled Park R3: Melbourne Victory 2, North Queensland Fury 2, AAMI Park R2: Melbourne Victory 0, Perth Glory 2, AAMI Park R1: Sydney FC 3, Melbourne Victory 3, SFS
Decisions for Ernie It looks as if Evan Berger won-t be risked this week after he suffered a corked hamstring but Melbourne otherwise got through the match at the Gold Coast unscathed. Tom Pondeljak will come under consideration, while Billy Celeski is set to resume after his knee troubles of a few weeks back. In a boost for the team, Ricardinho's clearance came through at the last moment.
Behind Enemy Lines Central Coast will be without playmaker Patricio Perez for this match after he was suspended for simulation during the week. The Argentine is a big loss for Graham Arnold, who will look to the likes of Matt Simon to step up. Brad Porter and Matthew Lewis have been included in an extended squad.
Our Hero Grant Brebner - Returned to the side last week after a break and looked very solid in the middle of the park. In what was clearly Melbourne's best defensive performance of the year, the experienced Scot (now Aussie) directed the ball around superbly and helped take the pressure off the back four.
Danger man John Hutchison - Hutch has been one of the A-League's most consistent players over the past five years and is always a threat with the ball. With Perez sidelined, the Mariners will look to him to provide a spark.
Why we will win The Mariners' mobility in midfield was what really troubled Melbourne in those early games last year, but things have changed a lot at the Victory over the past 12 months. For one thing, we have two kids up front who will run the home side's defence to shreds over 90 minutes. Kruse and Dugandzic and really starting to enjoy playing with each other and Carlos Hernandez and it is only a matter of time before things click.
The first 20 minutes of this game will be crucial. If Melbourne manages to find the net as they did last week then they have the experience and composure to absorb pressure from the home side, who are without their playmaker in Perez and have only managed three goals in four games.
Clashes between these two teams have yielded 29 goals in their past seven games but you get the inkling that one or two goals will settle this contest. Victory have the class edge with Hernandez and should run out a strong 90 minutes.
TEAMS: Central Coast Mariners squad: 2 Daniel MCBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 9. Nik MRDJA, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 12. Matthew LEWIS, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 23. Adam KWASNIK, 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk) *two to be omitted*
In: Brad PORTER (returns from injury), Matthew LEWIS (promoted) Out: Patricio PEREZ (suspended - two weeks) Unavailable: Jess VANSTRATTAN (knee - season)
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3.Mate DUGANDZIC, 5. Surat SUKHA, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Grant BREBNER, 11.Marvin ANGULO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 14. Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Matthew FOSCHINI, 19. Evan BERGER, 20.Sebastian MATTEI (gk), 21.Robbie KRUSE, 23.Adrian LEIJER, 27. Geoff KELLAWAY *three to be omitted*
In: 17.Matthew FOSCHINI (promoted), 14. Billy CELESKI (returns from injury), 15.Tom PONDELJAK (promoted) Out: 22.Nick WARD (transferred to Wellington Phoenix) Unavailable: Archie THOMPSON (knee), Matthew KEMP (knee)