Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory enter Harvey Norman Friday Night Football in vastly different form, but the visitors from Western Australia have a great recent record in this fixture.
Friday, 2 December 2016
Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 7:50PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEDT))
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referee 1: James Tesoriero
Assistant Referee 2: Wilson Brown
Fourth Official: Jonathan Barreiro
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), SBS VICELAND from 7.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Grandstand, Crocmedia A-League Live ( www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio ), 1116 SEN (Melbourne), EON Sports Radio (eonsportsradio.com)
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MVCvPER
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Melbourne Victory squad: 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Marco ROJAS, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Max BEISTER, 10.James TROISI, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Alan BARO, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.James DONACHIE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22.Stefan NIGRO, 23.Jai INGHAM, 40.Matt ACTON (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI (returns from injury), 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk) (returns from injury), 22.Stefan NIGRO (promoted), 23.Jai INGHAM (promoted)
Outs: 11.Mitch AUSTIN (ankle – 2 weeks), 30.Lucas SPINELLA (gk) (omitted)
Unavailable: 27.Alastair BRAY (gk) (shoulder – 4-5 months)
Perth Glory squad: 2.Alex GRANT, 3.Marc WARREN, 4.Shane LOWRY, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 8.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 13.Nicholas FEELY (gk), 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Joe MILLS, 18.Mitch OXBORROW, 22.Adam TAGGART, 21.Jamal REINERS, 23.Kosta PETRATOS, 24.Milan SMILJANIC, 33.Liam REDDY (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 3.Marc WARREN (promoted), 6.Dino DJULBIC (promoted),18.Mitch OXBORROW (promoted), 21.Jamal REINERS (promoted), 23.Kosta PETRATOS (promoted)
Outs: 5.Rhys WILLIAMS (suspended – 1 week), 17.Diego CASTRO (hamstring – 4-6 weeks), 19.Josh RISDON (quad – 3-4 weeks)
Glory are unbeaten in their past six games against Victory but will arrive in Melbourne in a slump.
Perth have won just one of their last five Hyundai A-League matches - that against cellar dwellers Adelaide United - and Glory have conceded an average of 2.2 goals per game in that period.
It doesn't bode well ahead of their clash with Victory as the Big V are surging up the table.
Victory have registered back-to-back clean sheets in wins over Western Sydney Wanderers and Newcastle Jets, while Kevin Muscat's men have scored an average of 2.6 goals per game in their past five A-League fixtures.
Marco Rojas has been critical to Victory's improvement, which has seen them rise to third on the table, with the New Zealand international having scored five goals in his as many A-League games and nine goals in 11 matches in all competitions.
With plenty of focus on FFA Cup finalists Sydney FC and Melbourne City, who sit one and two in the A-League, Victory have flown under the radar so far in 2016/17 but a win against Perth would see them temporarily leapfrog their local rivals on goal difference with a game in hand.
Glory's shock loss to Central Coast Mariners last week saw Kenny Lowe's team drop to fifth in the standings and with such a strong squad, Perth should be doing better.
Perth are still reeling from that defeat as Josh Risdon (quadriceps) and Diego Castro (hamstring) are unavailable this week after sustaining injuries in Gosford, while Rhys Williams is suspended after his red card against the Mariners.
Victory have lost Mitch Austin (ankle) for two weeks but Daniel Georgievski (collarbone) and Lawrence Thomas (finger) are fit again.
This match will be Glory's third away from home in four weeks and with consecutive home games coming up a positive result at AAMI Park could spark their season.
ROUTE TO GOAL
It hasn't taken Rojas long to settle back into the Hyundai A-League.
The former Johnny Warren Medal winner has been directly involved in more goals (9) than any other player in the competition so far in 2016-17 having scored five and set up four in just five games.
Rojas' improving relationships with the likes of Besart Berisha and James Troisi will be critical for Victory as they prepare to host Perth.
Glory's attack has been hot and cold this term but with the likes of Andy Keogh, Adam Taggart, and Chris Harold at Lowe's disposal, the Western Australian club can be incredibly dangerous at their best.
But Perth are often at their most dangerous when their backs are against the wall and with Victory likely to dominate possession, the visitors could thrive on the counterattack.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Matt Acton. Signed as an injury-replacement player last week, the former Brisbane Roar goalkeeper was rushed into Victory's starting XI against Newcastle Jets after Thomas hurt his finger. Acton kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 win but it may not be enough to keep him in the team.
Melbourne Victory: WWLWW
Perth Glory: LDLWL
Melbourne Victory 3-1 Perth Glory