Preview: Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory
Melbourne is looking for the quick rebound when it hosts Perth on Saturday night after last week's shock loss to Queensland, Victory's first defeat of the season. Melbourne still commands top spot on the ladder, but needs a win here to re-affirm the championship credentials that Archie Thompson spoke of last week.
Date: Saturday October 4 Kick-off: 5:00pm AEST Venue: Telstra Dome
TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 2 and Sky Sport 2. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is SEN (Melbourne) 1116AM and 6PR (Perth). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketmaster.com.au.
Head-to-head Nine A-League meetings: Melbourne - 3 wins, Perth - 2 wins - Draws - 4
Previous meeting Perth Glory 3, Melbourne Victory 1, Round 15, December 2007
Past five rounds Melbourne: Round 2: Wellington Phoenix 2, Melbourne Victory 4, Westpac Stadium Round 3: Melbourne Victory 5, Newcastle Jets 0, Telstra Dome Round 4: Melbourne Victory 1, Adelaide United 0, Telstra Dome Round 5: Central Coast Mariners 2, Melbourne Victory 2, Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium Round 6: Melbourne Victory 0, Queensland Roar 2, Telstra Dome
Perth Glory: Round 2: Perth Glory 3, Newcastle Jets 3, Members Equity Stadium Round 3: Sydney FC 5, Perth Glory 2, Sydney Football Stadium Round 4: Queensland Roar 3, Perth Glory 0, Members Equity Stadium Round 5: Perth Glory 1, Wellington Phoenix 0, Members Equity Stadium Round 6: Central Coast Mariners 4, Perth Glory 1, Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium
Analysis Melbourne is looking for the quick rebound when it hosts Perth on Saturday night after last week's shock loss to Queensland, Victory's first defeat of the season. Melbourne still commands top spot on the ladder, but needs a win here to re-affirm the championship credentials that Archie Thompson spoke of last week.
Ernie Merrick must have been moving the magnets around the whiteboard all week as he looks to restructure a side without Carlos Hernandez (suspended) and Michael Thwaite (injured) as well as already suspended duo Michael Theoklitos and Ney Fabiano. Merrick admitted on Thursday that he still hasn't settled on a formation, but has emphasised he will continue to attack.
That will likely see Tom Pondeljak start alongside Thomspon and Danny Allsopp up front while Grant Brebner will be used in a more attacking midfield role. Evan Berger's impressive second half last week should see him restored to the starting line-up.
Nick Ward, who has failed to play at all this season, will come onto the bench should he pass a final fitness test on his calf with a good chance Merrick will give him some game time toward the end of the game. Steven Pace also comes into the squad while youth league player Mathew Theodore has been included as cover in case Ward's fitness test doesn't go to plan.
Melbourne has an imposing record against the Glory in Melbourne having never lost, while Victory won the pre-season clash between the two teams. However, Perth boasts bragging rights in the Hyundai A-League having won 3-1 when these two teams met late last season.
David Mitchell's side is coming off a 4-1 hiding from Central Coast and currently props up the table with four points from six games. Former Victory player James Robinson is out for up to 10 weeks with a groin injury and he joins Amaral (1 week), Hayden Foxe (1 week) and Josip Magdic (season) in the medical room. Dino Djulbic has another two weeks to serve of his ban.
Perth has brought Jeff Bright, James Downey, Nick Rizzo and Tando Velaphi into an extended squad.
Melbourne's main worries are Dadi and Nikita Rukavytsya. Dadi may not be the quickest man on the park, but similar to the Roar's Charlie Miller boasts strength and good timing while Rukavytsya's height and athleticism are enough to threaten any defence.
Perth's problems appear to be at the other end however, having conceded 16 goals in six matches. Thompson and Allsopp will be looking to cash in on the space at the back and get Melbourne back on the winners' list.
Melbourne Victory Squad. 2.Kevin MUSCAT (Captain), 4.Steven PACE, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 17.Jose Luis LOPEZ, 18. Leigh BROXHAM, 19.Evan BERGER, 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 22.Nick WARD, 24.Mathew THEODORE, 40.Lou ACEVSKI (gk) *One to be omitted.
In. Steven PACE (promoted), Nick WARD (return from injury), 24.Mathew THEODORE (promoted from Youth). Out. Michael THWAITE (ankle - 3 weeks), Carlos HERNANDEZ (suspended - 1 match). Unavailable. NEY FABIANO (suspended - 4 matches), Michael THEOKLITOS (suspended - 1 match), Sebastian RYALL (international duty - 2 weeks), Nathan ELASI (international duty - 2 weeks).
Perth Glory Squad. 1.Jason PETKOVIC (gk), 2.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 3.David TARKA, 4.Jamie COYNE (c), 5.Jamie HARNWELL, 7.Nick RIZZO, 9.Adrian TRINIDAD, 11.Scott BULLOCH, 13.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, 14.Eugene DADI, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.James DOWNEY, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 20.Frank JURIC (gk), 22.Wayne SRHOJ, 26.Jeff BRIGHT, 27.Stuart McLAREN, 30.Tando VELAPHI (gk). * three to be omitted.
In. Jeff BRIGHT (promoted), James DOWNEY (return from injury), Nick RIZZO (promoted), Tando VELAPHI (promoted). Out. James ROBINSON (groin - 10 weeks). Unavailable. AMARAL (hamstring - 1 week), Dino DJULBIC (suspended - 2 weeks), Hayden FOXE (foot - 1 week), Josip MAGDIC (ankle - season).
Victory memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season are currently available from the Victory Shop, 236 Swan Street, Richmond, by calling 1300 GO MVFC or online by clicking here.