Having overcome one side of Sydney last weekend, Melbourne Victory will look to topple the other side as they host Western Sydney Wanderers at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.
After a slow start to their title defence – Victory lost their first two matches of the campaign – Kevin Muscat’s troops have now found their groove.
Three wins in a row has seen them jump to second on the Hyundai A-League ladder and they appear to be hitting peak form.
Star imports Ola Toivonen and Keisuke Honda are having a significant impact – both getting on the scoresheet in the win over Sydney FC last weekend – while some of Victory’s football has been a joy to watch.
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It could spell trouble for the misfiring Wanderers.
Markus Babbel’s side created plenty of chances in their loss to the Newcastle Jets last time out but were wasteful in front of goal.
If the likes of Oriol Riera, Alex Baumjohann and Bruce Kamau pack their scoring boots, the Wanderers have the firepower to halt the Victory juggernaut and secure a win on the road.
After beating Wellington 3-0 in their last away game, Western Sydney are chasing back-to-back road wins for the first time in over three years.
And in a good sign for the visitors, Victory is winless in their last six games at Marvel Stadium.
There should be a big and vocal crowd as well which will ensure an entertaining encounter between two attack-minded teams.
Key Opta stats
- Melbourne Victory are undefeated in their last eight games against Western Sydney Wanderers (W5, D3); their last loss against them came in December 2015 (2-0 at Pirtek Stadium).
- Western Sydney Wanderers have hit the woodwork seven times so far this Hyundai A-League campaign, no other team has struck the beams more than three times.
- Victory attacker Kosta Barbarouses has had 18 total shots (inc. blocks) this season, the most of any player in the Hyundai A-League yet to find the back of the net.
Ins and outs
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Matt ACTON (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3. Corey BROWN, 4.Keisuke HONDA, 5.Georg NIEDERMEIER, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Terry ANTONIS, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.James TROISI, 11. Ola TOIVONEN, 13. Birkan KIRDAR, 14.Thomas DENG, 15.Raul BAENA, 16.Josh HOPE, 19. Rahmat AKBARI, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22.Nick ANSELL
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 13. Birkan KIRDAR (promoted), 19. Rahmat AKBARI (promoted)
Unavailable: Kenny ATHIU (hamstring – TBC), Jai Ingham (quad – TBC)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Danijel NIZIC (gk), 4.Josh Risdon, 5.Brendan HAMILL (c), 7.Nick FITZGERALD, 8.Jordan O’DOHERTY, 9.Oriol RIERA, 10.Alex BAUMJOHANN, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 13.Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.Keanu BACCUS, 18.Marc TOKICH, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Rashid MAHAZI, 24.Raul LLORENTE, 34.Patrick ZIEGLER, 49.Abraham MAJOK
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 7.Nick FITZGERALD (promoted), 13.Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS (promoted), 34.Patrick ZIEGLER (returns from injury)
Outs: 33.Tate Russell (not selected)
Unavailable: 6.Kosta GROZOS (injury – one week), 12.Ruon TONGYIK (injury – two weeks), 19.Mark BRIDGE (injury – three weeks), 28.Roly BONEVACIA (injury – two weeks)
How to watch
Find out whether Victory’s winning run will continue LIVE and FREE on 10 Boss or tenplay, with kick off at 7.50pm (AEDT). You can also stream it live on the MyFootball Live App, Live Fast and Data Free for Telstra mobile customers.
Be there as Victory take on the Wanderers by securing your ticket here.