Adelaide United face a tough battle getting back to winning ways when they host an in-form Melbourne Victory on Friday night.
Date: Friday, December 7, 2012 Kick-off: 7.00pm CST, 7:30pm AEDT Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide Head-to-head Played: 28, Wins: Adelaide United 8, Melbourne Victory 15, Draws: 5
Previous encounter Melbourne Victory 2 Adelaide United 1, October 19, 2012
Form: Past five matches: Adelaide United: WDWWL Melbourne Victory: WWDWW
The Game Friday's fixture pits second against third as rivals Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory square off at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Adelaide have been consistent from round one, winning six of their opening nine games in the Hyundai A-League.
The Reds did lose their first game in five weeks over the weekend, losing 2-1 in the top-of-the-table clash with Central Coast Mariners.
Despite that result, John Kosmina and his troops show no signs of letting up after an extended pre-season that saw them take part in the AFC Champions League.
The Victory juggernaut, meanwhile, continues to gain momentum, and admirers.
After starting the season with three defeats from four games, Victory have clicked under coach Ange Postecoglou, accounting for all but Central Coast, who earned a draw at Etihad Stadium in round seven.
Since losing 2-1 at Newcastle Jets, the dual A-League champions have picked up 13 points from a possible 15 to move into third, four points adrift of leaders Central Coast.
The big issue Adelaide United - Will midfield maestro Dario Vidosic play? The former Nuremberg man has played a starring role this season, helping Adelaide's rise up the table with five goals in seven appearances. But injury forced him to withdraw from Australia's East Asian Cup qualifying campaign. He also had to miss the trip to Bluetongue Stadium last Sunday. Vidosic, however, has trained strongly this week and appears set for a swift return, which will be a welcome boost for Kosmina.
Melbourne Victory - Can Victory cope without the services of Archie Thompson and Mark Milligan for the second week in a row? The experienced pair was selected in the 20-man Socceroos squad for the East Asian Cup qualifying tournament in Hong Kong. They both missed last Friday's win against Perth Glory, who themselves had Michael Thwaite and Scott Jamieson away on international duty. Minus goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic, Adelaide have almost a full squad to chose from and will pose a much bigger threat than an undermanned Perth did last week.
Gamebreaker Marco Rojas - The little New Zealander is the talk of the competition. In eight games of football thus far, Rojas has found the back of the net five times, including a brace against former team Wellington Phoenix. The winger has dazzled the crowd with goals, assists, speed and fancy footwork, but what has been even more impressive is his maturity. At only 21-years-old, Rojas has quickly become a leader among Victory's squad, helping fellow youngsters like Andrew Nabbout find their feet in the competition. Thompson was absent last week and Rojas stepped up to the plate with the match winner, and he will be expected to do it again on Friday night.
Prediction Adelaide 1-2 Melbourne. Adelaide have been arguably the best team in the league in terms of consistency and defence with only seven goals conceded, but they will be up against a Victory side at the top of their game.