Preview: Victory v Perth Glory

While Perth has caused plenty of headaches for Victory in the past, we did beat them 6-2 last year.

Date: Saturday December 18 Kick-off: 7pm Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne Television: Live and exclusive on Fox Sports 1 from 6:00pm (AEDT). Radio: 774 ABC and www.sen.com.au Live Match Centre: www.melbournevictory.com.au

Head-to-head Played 17. Wins: Melbourne Victory 5, Perth Glory 8. Draws: 4.

Previous Meeting Perth Glory 3, Melbourne Victory 1, nib Stadium, November 2010

Why we don't like 'em Because of our record against the Sandgropers. Perth has had the wood on Victory in recent clashes, winning three of the past five encounters, and the two match-ups this season. Former England international Robbie Fowler chose to produce his best performance against us this season with a hat-trick in a 3-1 win at Perth, which remains the only individual treble scored in the A-League this season.

Past five matches: Melbourne Victory: Melbourne Heart 1, Melbourne Victory 3, AAMI Park Melbourne Victory 3, Brisbane Roar 3, AAMI Park Wellington Phoenix 2, Melbourne Victory 2, Westpac Stadium Melbourne Victory 2, Central Coast Mariners 2, AAMI Park Perth Glory 3, Melbourne Victory 1, nib Stadium

Perth Glory: Perth Glory 1, Central Coast Mariners 1, nib Stadium North Queensland Fury 1, Perth Glory 1, Dairy Farmers Stadium Brisbane Roar 3, Perth Glory 2, Suncorp Stadium Sydney FC 2, Perth Glory 0, Parramatta Stadium Perth Glory 3, Melbourne Victory 1, nib Stadium

Decisions for Ernie After the 3-1 derby triumph over the Heart, you would expect the coach to stick with the same 11 who did the job so nicely. Archie Thompson and Robbie Kruse are the A-League-s most dominant strike-force and will cause plenty of problems for the Glory defence. Ernie is expected to go with a back four yet again, meaning Rody Vargas will more than likely occupy the bench as Kevin Muscat and Adrian Leijer are preferred. Marvin Angulo and Surat Sukha-s form means they are certain-starters, with Matthew Kemp getting better with every match since his return from injury.

Behind Enemy Lines Perth are experiencing vastly contrasting fortunes to their rivals having won just one of their past 15 matches. It is a streak which has tested the resolve of all at the club, including coach Ian Ferguson. On the bright side, the Glory has injected some emerging young players in Howard Fondyke and Anthony Skorich, who are finding their feet nicely at first-team level. They have drawn their past two matches and were stiff not to take all three points from the clash with the Central Coast Mariners. The Glory will also be buoyed by the fact they have a fine overall record against the Heart and took the points from Victory the last time these two sides met at AAMI Park thanks to a 2-0 win.

Our Hero Robbie Kruse - The A-League-s top marksman with 10 goals from 13 appearances this campaign, Kruse has simply been a revelation. Such form has him being touted as a possible Socceroos call-up for next month-s Asian Cup in Qatar. His combination with fellow striker Archie Thompson is arguably the best in the league and will no doubt cause plenty of headaches for the Glory defence.

Danger Man Robbie Fowler - Victory aren-t the only team with a gun striker possessing the first name Robbie with the former England international still possessing a genuine threat at the age of 35. With seven goals since heading west, Fowler is clearly the Glory-s leading scorer and has proved a thorn in Victory-s side in the past. Last time the two sides played Fowler hit a hat-trick as Glory outgunned the Melbourne boys 3-1.

Why we will win Victory are on the back of a four-match unbeaten run and fielding easily their best team of the season so far. The derby win was easily the club-s best success and may well prove the catalyst for a challenge at the finals series.

While Perth has caused plenty of headaches for Victory in the past, we did beat them 6-2 last year and with the Kruse-Thompson double-act in red-hot touch, should present plenty of headaches for the Glory defence.

Victory also possess the talismanic influence of Carlos Hernandez, who just continues to purr along, while countryman Angulo is in his best form since arriving at the club.

Teams Melbourne Victory: 1.Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 2. Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3. Mate DUGANDZIC, 5. Surat SUKHA, 7. Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9. RICARDINHO, 10. Archie THOMPSON, 11.Marvin ANGULO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 13. Diogo FERREIRA, 15. Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 19. Evan BERGER, 20. Sebastian MATTEI (gk), 21. Robbie KRUSE, 22. Geoff KELLAWAY 23. Adrian LEIJER. *three to be omitted*

In: RICARDINHO (returns from knee injury) Out: Billy CELESKI (suspended) Unavailable: Leigh BROXHAM (calf - 1 week)

Perth Glory: 1. Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2. Josh MITCHELL 3. Jamie COYNE, 5.Jamie HARNWELL, 7.Jacob BURNS (C), 9.Robbie FOWLER, 11. Branko JELIC, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Tommy AMPHLETT, 14.Steven McGARRY, 15.Howard FONDYKE, 16. Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17. Todd HOWARTH, 18.Brent GRIFFITHS, 19. Naum SEKULOVSKI, 20. Alex Pearson (gk), 21.Mile STERJOVSKI, 22.Anthony SKORICH, 24. Josh RISDON. *three to be omitted*

In: 7. Jacob BURNS (c), 18. Brent GRIFFITHS (returns from suspension), 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI (returns from suspension), 21.Mile STERJOVSKI (returns from suspension). Out: Nil Unavailable: 4.Andy TODD (hip - 1 week), 6.Chris COYNE (on loan -January), 8.Victor SIKORA (Hip - season)