Preview: Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
This is becoming the pre-eminent classic rivalry in the competition.
Date: Saturday October 16 Kick-off: 6:45pm AEST Venue: Etihad Stadium Television:Live and exclusive on Fox Sports 1 from 6:00pm. Radio: 774 ABC (www.abc.net.au/melbourne) and (www.sen.com.au)
Head-to-head Played: 19. Wins: Melbourne Victory 6, Sydney 4, Draws: 9
Previous Meeting Sydney FC 3, Melbourne Victory 3, SFS, August 2010
Why we don't like 'em Take your pick. Is it the fact we thrashed them 5-0 in season one, the controversial match early in 2006 where Melbourne won 3-2 after Mark Rudan was sent off, while Fred was later banned for a sly elbow on Mark Milligan or later that season when a record 50,333 turned out to watch the teams play? Then there's the match in December 2008 where Melbourne came back from 2-0 down inside three minutes win 3-2.
Of course there's always last season's events, where Melbourne lost the Premier's Plate on the final day of the season, knocked off Sydney over two legs in the semi-final and then lost the final on penalties. This season, they have already shared a remarkable 3-3 draw. This is becoming the pre-eminent classic rivalry in the competition.
Past five matches: Melbourne Victory R9: Melbourne Heart 2, Melbourne Victory 1, AAMI Park R8: Newcastle Jets 0 Melbourne Victory 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium R7: North Queensland Fury 0 Melbourne Victory 0, Dairy Farmers Stadium R6(mw): Melbourne Victory 0 Wellington Phoenix 0, AAMI Park R6: Melbourne Victory 3, Brisbane Roar 0, AAMI Park
Sydney FC: R9: Sydney FC 1. Adelaide United 2, SFS R8(mw):Sydney FC 1, North Queensland Fury 1, SFS R8: Sydney FC 1, Gold Coast United 1, SFS R6: Wellington Phoenix 2, Sydney FC 2, Westpac Stadium R5: Sydney FC 1, Adelaide United 3, SFS
Decisions for Ernie Surat Sukha could miss this match after injuring his back in last week's loss to Heart, with Marvin Angulo, Peter Franjic and Diogo Ferreira added to an extended squad. Mate Dugandzic is pushing for a spot in the first XI, Kevin Muscat looks fully fit after his ankle injury, while Grant Brebner got through with his broken toes last week, despite the best efforts of Gerald Sibon. Archie Thompson and Matthew Kemp are both training with the team but are not expected to return for another month.
Behind Enemy Lines Sydney will get back marquee man Nicky Carle for this match after a period on the sidelines with a toe injury. That's a huge gain for a team which has failed to register a win in nine matches so far this season. Matthew Jurman sits this one out with the flu while Antony Golec is left out.
Our Hero Kevin Muscat - The Melbourne skipper has always been a key player in the big matches against Sydney over the years and having had 90 minutes under his belt last week, will be fired up to have a major impact there. If he backs up his words with actions, then Sydney could be in for a torrid night.
Danger Man Stuart Musialik - While Sydney are yet to notch a win this season, no blame can be laid at the feet of Musialik, who has been one of the Sky Blues better players this season. His composure and direction in midfield is crucial to Sydney's hopes of getting a hold of this match and putting Melbourne under pressure.
Why we will win Melbourne's biggest headache at the moment is an inability to score goals, with just one in the past four matches. Ricardinho now has four games under his belt and you would expect the Brazilian to start having a greater impact which should help open things up for Carlos Hernandez who has endured a tough time from opposition defenders.
With Mate Dugandzic and Robbie Kruse both fit, it should clear the way for a much more dynamic looking attacking set-up, with much more pace and movement. The midfield should then have more options going forward, enabling Victory to create better chances. If that happens, then goals will certainly follow.
Sydney have been unlucky this year and deserved to have at least one or two wins so far this season. But when your luck is out, it's out and nothing appears to be going right for Vitezslav Lavicka so far this season.
The team went away for a bonding session this week in a bid to turn things around and that could prove a catalyst for a return to form. However, Melbourne will be equally determined having not tasted success in over a month. A return to Etihad, where the club has had some of its biggest success, will be a galvanising force as well.
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 2. Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3. Mate DUGANDZIC, 4. Petar FRANJIC, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.RICARDINHO, 11.Marvin ANGULO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 13. Diogo FERREIRA, 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 *three to be omitted*
In: Petar FRANJIC (promoted), Diogo FERREIRA (promoted), Marvin ANGULO (promoted) Out: Surat SUKHA (back - 1 week) Unavailable: Archie THOMPSON (knee - indefinite), Matthew KEMP (knee - indefinite)
Sydney FC squad: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3. Stephan KELLER, 5. Hayden FOXE, 6. Hirofumi MORIYASU, 7. Brendan GAN, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 9. Bruno CAZARINE, 10. Nicky CARLE,12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN (c), 19. Mark BRIDGE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 21. Scott JAMIESON, 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN *one to be omitted*
In: Nicky CARLE (returns from injury) Out: Matt JURMAN (flu), Antony GOLEC (not selected) Unavailable: Kofi DANNING (national team duty), Terry ANTONIS (national team duty), Rhyan GRANT (national team duty), Dimitri PETRATOS (national team duty)