Hyundai A-League preview: Victory v Glory

In-form Perth Glory should expect a response from Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Sunday, as the reigning champions will be rested and focused after a tough run.

MATCH DETAILS

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory

AAMI Park, Melbourne

Kick-Off: 5:00 PM (Local) (5:00 PM (AEDT))

Referee: Shaun Evans

Assistant Referee 1: Luke Brennan

Assistant Referee 2: Wilson Brown

Fourth Official: Jonathan Barreiro

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)

#MVCvPER

Radio Broadcast: 774 ABC Melbourne*, 720 ABC Perth*, ABC Local Radio Vic*, ABC Local Radio WA*, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. SEN Radio (Melbourne)

*Following coverage of the cricket

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MVC vPER

To purchase tickets visit www.a-league.com.au/tickets

Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 2.Jason GERIA, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM (c), 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.Connor PAIN, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO, 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE, 18.Dylan MURNANE, 19.George HOWARD, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 24.Thomas DENG **two to be omitted**

Ins: 15.Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO, 18. Dylan MURNANE. 19.George HOWARD (promoted)

Outs:  16.Rashid MAHAZI (injured – knee)

Perth Glory squad: 1.Ante COVIC (gk), 2. Alex GRANT, 3.Marc WARREN, 5.Antony GOLEC, 7, Gyorgy SANDOR, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA (c), 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, 28. Joe KNOWLES, 29. Aryn WILLIAMS. **two to be omitted**

Ins:  3.Marc WARREN, 5.Antony Golec

Outs: -

Unavailable: 6.Dino DJULBIC (ankle 6-week), 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH (knee – indefinite) 16. Sidnei SCIOLA (hamstring- 1 week) 20.Guyon FERNANDEZ (hamstring- indefinite)

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

On paper, you can almost bank on Victory bouncing back against Perth on Sunday.

The Big V are due a win - they're on an unprecedented losing streak - while they have lost just one of their past five home games against the Glory in all competitions.

There's no doubt travel plays a big role in the A-League and before last week's derby, Victory visited Auckland, Sydney and Perth in the space of eight days.

Gui Finkler on the ball during Victory's 1-0 loss to Perth Glory in Round 5.

Victory have also been competitive in their past four matches, despite losing all of them, and if they can maintain their second-half performance from the Melbourne derby, Perth could be in trouble.

But as the saying goes, football is played on grass not paper.

Glory fans will point to the fact their side defeated Victory 1-0 as recently as December 16, while the men in purple are undefeated in three matches, including last week's 2-2 draw against A-League leaders Western Sydney Wanderers.

A win in Melbourne could put Kenny Lowe's men within a point of the top six.

Victory coach Kevin Muscat will know the credits he has banked from winning three trophies in a year will evaporate quickly if his team doesn't end its slump soon.

Expect Victory to come flying out of the blocks, with Besart Berisha and Fahid Ben Khalfallah showing much better form against Melbourne City last week.

Diego Castro will look to continue his improving form against the Big V, with Perth's Spanish playmaker having scored twice in the past two games, including the winner against Victory.

Nebojsa Marinkovic celebrates with Diego Castro after scoring against the Mariners.

After three straight games at home, the Glory are on the road over Christmas and New Year.

OPTA DATA KEY STATS

- The Glory have not beaten Victory in back-to-back games since early 2012

- Victory have won three and drawn three of their last eight fixtures against the Glory

- The Big V are unbeaten in their last six home matches

- Perth are on a five-game losing streak away from home

ROUTE TO GOAL

Gui Finkler and Oliver Bozanic's ability from the dead-ball could be critical to this contest.

Perth (9) have conceded more goals from set pieces than any other club this season, although that includes three penalties.

The Glory have conceded four goals from corners and two from indirect free-kicks in 2015-16, so the likes of Matthieu Delpierre and Besart Berisha may have some joy in the air if Finkler and Bozanic get their delivery right at AAMI Park.

Besart Berisha rises for a header against the Glory.

Otherwise Victory will again look to Berisha, Finkler, Ben Khalfallah and Kosta Barbarouses in the final third.

The Big V's 'Fab Four' haven't always been at their best this season, with Ben Khalfallah in particular struggling to replicate his form from 2014-15.

But in the second half of the Melbourne derby, Victory dominated and they will look to maintain that momentum against the Glory.

Seventeen of Victory's 23 shots came after the break against City, with an inspired Thomas Sorensen denying Muscat's men an equaliser.

For the visitors, the improving Castro will be pivotal, while Richard Garcia (2 assists, 15 chances created) has been one of the Glory's main creators this term.

Glory captain Richard Garcia rues a missed chance against Adelaide.

Victory's full-backs were targeted in the title-holders' defeats to Western Sydney and City, so look for the likes of Jamal Reiners and Chris Harold to try and get in behind on the flanks.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Mitchell Oxborrow. The Glory midfielder struck his first A-League goal last week - a ripper 30-yard free-kick the curled into the top corner!

FORM LINES

Melbourne Victory: WLLLL

Perth Glory: LLWWD

PREDICTION

Melbourne Victory 3-1 Perth Glory