Preview: Melbourne Victory v Gold Coast United
Victory are building quite a strong record against Gold Coast, winning three of the four matches the two teams have played in.
Date: Saturday November 6 Kick-off: 7:00pm AEDT, (6:00pm AEST) Venue: Etihad Stadium Television: Live and exclusive on Fox Sports 1 from 6:30pm. Radio: 774 ABC (Melbourne), SEN Digital Match Centre: www.melbournevictory.com.au
Head-to-head Played 4: Wins: Melbourne Victory 3. Gold Coast 1
Previous Meeting Gold Coast United 0, Melbourne Victory 1, Skilled Park, August 2010
Why we don't like 'em Victory are building quite a strong record against Gold Coast, winning three of the four matches the two teams have played in, including the most recent, a tough 1-0 win at Skilled Park in August, their only defeat of the season so far. Robbie Kruse did the job, avenging the tough treatment he received at the hands of Steve Pantelidis when these two teams met late last season.
Past five matches: Melbourne Victory R12: Melbourne Victory 2, Adelaide United 1, Etihad Stadium R11: Brisbane Roar 2, Melbourne Victory 1, Suncorp Stadium R10: Melbourne Victory 3, Sydney FC 0, Etihad Stadium R9: Melbourne Heart 2, Melbourne Victory 1, AAMI Park R8: Newcastle Jets 0 Melbourne Victory 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium
Gold Coast United: R12: North Queensland Fury 1, Gold Coast United 2, Dairy Farmers Stadium R11: Melbourne Heart 0, Gold Coast United 0, AAMI Park R10: Gold Coast United 0, Adelaide United 0, Skilled Park R9: Gold Coast United 3. Wellington Phoenix 1, Skilled Park R8: Sydney FC 1, Gold Coast United 1, SFS
Decisions for Ernie Striker Archie Thompson is banging on the selection door, demanding to be recalled for his first game since March's grand final but while he has been picked, coach Ernie Merrick won't make a final decision on Thompson until at least Friday.
Other ins are Peter Franjic and Marvin Angulo but Ricardinho (knee) and Diogo Ferreira (thigh) are both out, the pair joining Matthew Kemp (knee) on the sidelines.
Behind Enemy Lines Miron Bleiberg has some selection worries of his own at Gold Coast United with both Tahj Minniecon (illness) and James Brown (illness) in doubt for the trip after they missed training on Thursday.
Goalkeeper Scott Higgins returns on the bench as back-up at the expense of Jerrad Tyson while Ben Halloran and Chris Harold are also back but Bruce Djite, John Curtis, Daniel Piorkowski (ankle) and Matt Osman (knee) both remain unavailable.
Our Hero Robbie Kruse - Who else but red-hot Robbie who has been banging them in consistently in recent weeks, continuing a run that has now reached four goals in as many games with a superb strike from outside the box inside Eugene Galekovic's near post last week. If he scores this week he will match the A-League record of five successive goal-scoring games held by Joel Griffiths and Shane Smeltz.
Danger man Jason Culina - With Djite sidelined and doubt about Minniecon and Brown, much responsibility will rest on the shoulders of Culina, who the Victory will be keen to keep a close eye on to ensure he doesn't hurt them on the scoreboard.
Why we will win With Kruse in super touch in recent weeks and the possibility of his inspiration Thompson also returning, combined with the fact that the visitors could be missing a host of their frontline stars, Victory will be eyeing off another win here.
With two wins from as many games at Etihad Stadium this year, Merrick last week called on his men to maintain the rage following the come-from-behind win over Adelaide United, saying such wins would mean nothing if they could not go on a point-scoring run.
Melbourne would also fancy their chances knowing that they have won three of the previous four battles between the teams including earlier this season when they had made a slow start to the campaign.
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, 15.Tahj MINNIECON, 16.Kristian REES, 18.James BROWN, 20.Scott HIGGINS (gk), 22.Adama TRAORE, 23.Steve FITZSIMMONS, 26.Ben HALLORAN, 27.Chris HAROLD *three to be omitted*
In: Scott HIGGINS (gk) (promoted), Ben HALLORAN (promoted), Chris HAROLD (promoted) Out: Jerrad TYSON [gk] (not selected) Unavailable: Daniel Piorkowski (ankle injury - indefinite), Matt Osman (knee injury - indefinite)