Preview: Melbourne Victory v Queensland Roar
The momentum is building at Victory after an awesome start to the season which has seen the team go unbeaten through the first five games.
Date: Sunday September 28 Kick-off: 5pm AEST Venue: Telstra Dome
TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 2 and Sky Sports 1. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is SEN (Melbourne) 1116AM. To purchase tickets visit www.ticketmaster.com.au
Head-to-head Nine A-League meetings: Melbourne - 5 wins, Queensland 3 wins - Draws - 1
Previous meeting Queensland Roar 1, Melbourne Victory 2, Round 19, January 2008
Results so far Melbourne: Round 1: Sydney FC 0, Melbourne Victory 0, SFS 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
Queensland: Round 1: Wellington Phoenix 1, Queensland Roar 1, Westpac Stadium Round 2: Queensland Roar 1, Adelaide United 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 3: Queensland Roar 2, Central Coast Mariners 4, Suncorp Stadium Round 4: Perth Glory 0, Queensland 3, Members Equity Round 5: Queensland Roar 0, Newcastle Jets 1, Suncorp Stadium
Analysis The momentum is building at Victory after an awesome start to the season which has seen the team go unbeaten through the first five games. Three wins against Wellington, Newcastle and Adelaide have been bookended by draws against Sydney and the Central Coast. The result sees Melbourne on top of the table and full of confidence going into this Sunday's match against Queensland.
The character shown by the players in the past two games has been very pleasing to Ernie Merrick. Having had players sent off, Melbourne has had the mettle to secure three points against Adelaide and one against the Mariners.
Merrick has shown plenty of faith in his young keeper Mitch Langerak this week, saying the sky's the limit for his back-up stopper ahead of his home debut. Confidence is a massive thing, and playing behind Muscat and Vargas must give the 20-year-old plenty of belief in his ability.
Elsewhere on the field, there will be few changes. Merrick has brought Leigh Broxham into the squad, while he said he is prepared to use Tom Pondeljak as an additional striker if needed late in the match. Lou Acevski comes in on loan as a back-up goalkeeper.
Merrick continues to back his players to attack and it's little wonder given Archie Thompson's double last week. After an interrupted start to the season, Thompson has hit form in the past 2-3 weeks and seems to be getting better as the season wears on.
That's bad news for Queensland, with Craig Moore and co likely to have their hands full with Melbourne's attacking force. Up the other end, Charlie Miller has been doing a great job of scoring goals and it appeared for a brief moment this week that Telstra Dome had named an end after him (it turned out to be VFA legend Jim 'Frosty' Miller).
Sergio Van Dijk and Reinaldo are also likely to form part of a very attacking Queensland line-up, while Matt McKay and Massimo Murdocca can also pepper the goals. It looks like a very entertaining evening of football, with both sides likely to go on the attack.
Melbourne Victory Squad. 2.Kevin MUSCAT (Captain), 3.Michael THWAITE, 5.Sebastian RYALL, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Jose Luis LOPEZ, 18. Leigh BROXHAM, 19.Evan BERGER. 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 40. Lou ACEVSKI (gk) *One to be omitted. In. Leigh BROXHAM, Lou ACEVSKI (on loan) Out. Michael THEOKLITOS (suspended) Unavailable. Nick WARD (calf - 1 week), Ney FABIANO (suspended)
Queensland Roar Squad. 1 Liam REDDY (gk), 2 Andrew PACKER, 3 Luke DEVERE, 4 Craig MOORE, 6 Dave DODD, 7 Michael ZULLO, 8 Massimo MURDOCCA, 9 Sergio VAN DIJK, 10 Charlie MILLER, 11 Reinaldo, 12 Tahj MINNIECON, 15 Matt McKAY, 16 Hyuk-Su SEO, 18 Danny TIATTO, 20 Griffin McMASTER (rgk), 23 Tim SMITS. *one to be omitted. In. Tim SMITS (promoted). Out.Nil. Unavailable. 5 Josh McCLOUGHAN (hip injury), Robbie KRUSE (injury).