Melbourne Victory have the edge over Western Sydney Wanderers in recent meetings but both sides will be desperate for three points at Etihad to keep pace with rampaging Sydney FC.
Saturday, 12 November 2016
Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers FC
Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 7:50PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEDT))
Referee: Jarred Gillett
Assistant Referee 1: Ashley Beecham
Assistant Referee 2: Luke Brennan
Fourth Official: Shaun Evans
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.45pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 774 ABC Melbourne & ABC Local Radio Victoria, 702 ABC Sydney, ABC Local Radio NSW, Grandstand Digital, Online and via the app, Crocmedia A-League Live (www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio), 1116 SEN (Melbourne), EON Sports Radio (eonsportsradio.com), Hawkesbury Radio
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MVCvWSW
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Melbourne Victory squad: 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Nick ANSELL, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Besart BERISHA, 10.James TROISI, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Alan BARO, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.James DONACHIE, 19.George HOWARD, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22.Stefan NIGRO, 23.Jai INGHAM, 27.Alastair BRAY (gk)
**one to be omitted**
Ins: 19.George HOWARD (promoted), 21.Carl VALERI (returns from injury)
Outs: 7.Marco ROJAS (international duty – 1 week)
Unavailable: 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI (collarbone – 2-3 weeks)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Steve LUSTICA, 8.Dimas (c), 9.Kerem BULUT, 10.Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.Artiz BORDA, 18.Robbie CORNTHWAITE, 20.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 7.Steve LUSTICA (promoted), 9.Kerem BULUT (promoted), 18.Robbie CORNTHWAITE (promoted)
Outs: 23.Lachlan SCOTT (not selected)
Wanderers could find it tough to end their run of three straight draws with bogey team Victory on the horizon.
The Wanderers will arrive in Melbourne having only beaten the Big V once in their past seven meetings, while Western Sydney haven't overcome the Victorian powerhouse on the road in five straight matches.
But with just one point separating the two teams heading into Saturday night's clash, this game should be riveting.
Western Sydney have yet to keep a clean sheet in the 2016/17 Season and coach Tony Popovic will hope the return of centre back Robbie Cornthwaite will strengthen his back four.
The big man started the Wanderers' first four games of the campaign before being dropped last week, and the 31-year-old is joined by Steve Lustica and Kerem Bulut in being promoted to an extended squad.
Victory will have captain Carl Valeri back after he missed their past two matches with hamstring soreness, and the 32-year-old midfielder has called on Kevin Muscat's side to quickly move on from last week's 2-1 loss to Sydney FC.
There was a sense of misfortune about the Big Blue defeat, with Victory wasting two gilt-edged chances in the first half and Sydney's David Carney sparking the Sky Blues' recovery with a goal that could have been ruled out for handball.
But Valeri argued this week that if Victory want to be successful they can't dwell on bad luck.
George Howard joins Valeri in earning a call-up to Muscat's extended squad, while German forward Maxi Beister remains unavailable as he awaits a work permit.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Victory have scored more goals (5) than any other team in the final 15 minutes of matches - a worrying statistic for Western Sydney, who have conceded the most in that period (4) alongside Wellington Phoenix.
But, Victory will have to do without Marco Rojas this week, with the Kiwi winger away on international duty, and the 25-year-old will leave a significant hole in Muscat's forward set-up.
The "Kiwi Messi" has scored four goals this season and notched four assists - no other A-League player has had as many score involvements - and with Beister still unavailable, Fahid Ben Khalfallah seems the obvious option to play on the right wing.
Nicolas Martinez got off the mark for the Wanderers in their 2-2 draw with Perth Glory last week, netting Western Sydney's fastest A-League goal after 30 seconds, while Brendon Santalab again underlined why he deserves a starting spot - scoring for the second straight game.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Dimas. Western Sydney's skipper has completed more passes than any other player in the A-League after five rounds. The Spanish midfielder has found a team-mate 205 times.
Melbourne Victory: DLWWL
Western Sydney Wanderers: LWDDD
Melbourne Victory 2-2 Western Sydney Wanderers