Free-scoring Melbourne City bring their devastating attack to nib to face a Perth team fast running out of time to mount a finals challenge - though Glory do have Andy Keogh up-front.
Saturday, 16 January 2016
nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-Off: 6:40 PM (Local) (9:40 PM (AEDT))
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 9.40pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 720 ABC Perth, 774 ABC Melbourne, ABC Local Radio WA, ABC Local Radio Vic, ABC Grandstand Digital, online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #PERvMCY
To purchase tickets visit www.a-league.com.au/tickets
Perth Glory squad: 1.Ante COVIC (gk), 3.Marc WARREN, 5.Antony GOLEC, 7.Gyorgy SANDOR, 9.Andy KEOGH, 11.Richard GARCIA (c), 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 12.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Hagi GLIGOR, 17.Diego CASTRO, 18.Mitch OXBORROW, 19.Josh RISDON, 23.Michael THWAITE, 24.Jamal REINERS, 25.Jacob COLLARD, 29.Aryn WILLIAMS
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 3.Marc WARREN (returns from suspension), 5.Antony GOLEC (promoted), 10.Nebo MARINKOVIC (returns from injury), 23.Michael THWAITE (promoted)
Outs: 2.Alex GRANT (suspended – 1 match), 28.Joe KNOWLES (omitted)
Unavailable: 6.Dino DJULBIC (ankle – 6-8 weeks), 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH (knee – indefinite)
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (GK), 3.Aaron HUGHES, 6.Erik PAARTALU, 8.Aaron MOOY, 9.Harry NOVILLO, 11.Michael ZULLO, 15.David WILLIAMS, 16.Jason TRIFIRO, 17.Wade DEKKER, 18.Paulo RETRE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (GK), 22.Jack CLISBY, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 24.Patrick KISNORBO (c), 25.Jacob MELLING, 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI, 39.Ali EYIGUN
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI (promoted), 39.Ali EYIGUN (promoted)
Unavailable: 4.Connor CHAPMAN (knee – 2 months), 5.Ivan FRANJIC (corked thigh – 1 week), 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – season), 14.James BROWN (fitness – 1-2 weeks), 21.Stefan MAUK (international duty – Olyroos)
Referee: Ben Williams
Assistant Referee 1: Josh Mannella
Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Lindsay
Fourth Official: Adam Fielding
On paper this would appear an easy win for John van ‘t Schip’s high-flying City.
Glory have no wins in their last four – including a 3-1 defeat at home to Adelaide last weekend – and are second last on the Hyundai A-League ladder.
In contrast, City is third, average 2.5 goals per game and are fresh from ending the Wanderers 10-game unbeaten run with a thrilling 3-2 win last Saturday night.
But there’s something about facing Glory in Perth which doesn’t sit right with Melbourne City.
They are without a win in their last five visits to nib Stadium and have scored just one goal in that period.
Not exactly results that will have them feeling warm and fuzzy on the long flight across the country.
You would think City though will never get a better chance to stop that rot. Glory has been horribly inconsistent so far this campaign.
The return of Andy Keogh is a plus and he could find some joy against a City defence which has shown it can be found vulnerable at times.
But it might not matter if City’s attacking triumvirate of Mooy, Novillo and the prolific Fornaroli turn up in the right frame of mind.
City smashed five past Glory earlier this season. Will there be a repeat of that in the West?
*Perth Glory is undefeated in their last five Hyundai A-League home games against Melbourne City, conceding only one goal in that span (four clean sheets).
*Melbourne City’s last away Hyundai A-League fixture ended in loss (3-1) to Brisbane, they’ve not conceded consecutive away losses since being bundled out of the finals last season.
*Glory’s Richard Garcia (46) has been involved in more aerial duels than any other player this Hyundai A-League season, seven more than next best Sydney’s Filip Holosko (39).
*There have been 10 goals scored in the last two Hyundai A-League meetings between these sides, one more goal than in the five games prior.
ROUTE TO GOAL
It wasn’t the return to Glory that Keogh would have hoped for against Adelaide but the Irishman will certainly be better for the run.
His work-rate and pressure on the ball was a feature last season and if he can get back to that, Glory could force the visitors into turnovers much higher up the pitch.
But it will be all about getting proper service to Keogh.
Diego Castro will be the one looking to open up holes for his central striker, so Erik Paartalu’s job in shutting him down will be vital. The Spaniard’s form has been brilliant the last month.
He’s starting to get a great combination with Chris Harold and skipper Richie Garcia, while look for teenager Jamal Reiners to get at City’s defence with his pace and directness.
It will be interesting to see if van ‘t Schip persists with his 3-5-2 formation he has favoured over the last fortnight.
It worked well in the first half against the Wanderers before Tony Popovic’s side began to exploit the space on the flanks after the break.
But going forward City has been irresistible. With Mooy pulling the strings and Fornaroli and Novillo forming a great understanding as well, City are purring in the front third.
Their 35 goals for the season is far and away the best scoring record in the A-League, 13 ahead of the next best (Wanderers and Roar).
If they can hold firm at the back, you would imagine they’ll have the firepower at the other end to get the result.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Bruno Fornaroli. The City striker’s goal last weekend takes his tally for the season to an incredible 12 in just 14 games. No wonder he’s been talked about as possibly the best import we’ve ever seen in the Hyundai A-League.
Perth Glory 1-3 Melbourne City