City's injury curse has struck again, leaving John van't Schip's men vulnerable for the visit of Hyundai A-League leaders Perth Glory, who are likely to be fired up with their coveted spot at the top of the table under serious threat.
Sunday, 22 February 2015
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 5:00 PM (Local) (5:00 PM AEDT)
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 4.Connor CHAPMAN, 5.Erik PAARTALU, 6.Aaron MOOY, 7.Iain RAMSAY, 8.Massimo MURDOCCA, 10.Robert KOREN, 13.Jonatan GERMANO, 15.David WILLIAMS, 16.Josh KENNEDY, 17.Jason HOFFMAN, 18.Paulo RETRE, 20.Tando VELAPHI (GK), 22.Jack CLISBY, 24.Patrick KISNORBO, 25.Jacob MELLING, 29.Safuwan BAHARUDIN, Kew JALIENS (number TBC)
***two to be omitted***
Ins : 5.Erik PAARTALU (returns from injury), 13.Jonatan GERMANO (promoted), Kew JALIENS (pending clearance)
Outs: 11.Damien DUFF (ankle/calf – indefinite)
Unavailable: 3.Robbie WIELAERT (ankle – 6-7 weeks), 14.James BROWN (knee – 1-2 weeks), 19.Ben GARUCCIO (ankle – 10 weeks), 23.Mate DUGANDZIC (knee – 1-2 weeks)
Perth Glory squad: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk) 5.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 14.Chris Harold, 15.Jamie MACLAREN, 16.Sidnei SCIOLA, 17.Mitch NICHOLS, 18.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Daniel DE SILVA, 21.Scott JAMIESON, 23.Michael THWAITE (c), 27.Dragan PALJIC, 28.Denis KRAMAR
***two to be omitted***
Ins : 6.Dino DJULBIC (returns from suspension), 17.Mitch NICHOLS (promoted), 18.Jack DUNCAN (gk) (promoted), 20.Daniel DE SILVA (promoted)
Outs: 3.Brandon O'NEILL (not selected), 30.Jordan Thurtell (GK) (not selected)
Unavailable : 7.Youssouf HERSI (hamstring – season), 13.Diogo FEREIRA (hip – 4 weeks)
TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 3.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app
Referee: Jarred Gillett
Assistant Referee 1: Brad Hobson
Assistant Referee 2: Luke Brennan
Fourth Official: Lucien Laverdure
This match looms as a potentially decisive moment for both teams. Having surrendered their place in the top six to Brisbane Roar FC, City have seen their injury curse strike again, with star winger Damien Duff out for the reason, while left-back Ben Garuccio and centre-back Robbie Wielaert are also facing long spells out.
Former Newcastle Jets captain Kew Jaliens has been brought in by fellow Dutchman John van 't Schip to provide cover, but on the back of an underwhelming 0-0 draw with Wellington Phoenix last weekend, it may be now or never for City to demonstrate they still mean business in 2014-15.
A response to adversity is required or the team are at risk of falling out of genuine finals contention.
It's a similar story over at Glory, who haven't won in four matches and could give up first place as early as Friday night should Melbourne Victory draw or win at Brisbane Roar.
Last weekend Kenny Lowe's combative side battled to a 1-1 draw with bogey side Adelaide United.
This week they've been rocked by the arrest of Andy Keogh after a nightclub incident. The apparent desire to create an 'us and them' mentality at nib Stadium is certainly being supplied with plenty of ammunition of late. Can Lowe and his players direct that energy where it's needed and get their title challenge back on track?
- City have failed to score in their last two games, having scored in 18 of the 19 games previously.
- After a run of 10 games without defeat (W8 D2), Perth have won none of their last four (D2 L2).
- Glory are unbeaten in six away from home, alternating between a win and a draw in each.
- City have never failed to score in home games against Perth Glory.
- Glory have lost three and won none of their last four away games against Melbourne City.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Duff joins James Brown and Mate Dugandzic on the sidelines, leaving van't Schip with Josh Kennedy, David Williams and Iain Ramsay to choose from in attack, supported by Robbie Koren. City looked toothless against the Phoenix and the Victory. Jacob Melling, Aaron Mooy and Koren need to chip in and help out the undermanned attack this week.
Perth by contrast have plenty of firepower and a good variety of options in attack. Keogh remains the main man through the middle, with Richard Garcia, Mitch Nichols, Chris Harold, Jamie Maclaren, Dragan Paljic and Daniel De Silva available to support him.
Compared to City's threadbare attack, it's an embarrassment of riches.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Star striker Andy Keogh has been an inspired acquisition for the Glory this season but he dragged the club's name through the mud this week when it emerged he was arrested by police outside an Adelaide nightclub following last week's match at Coopers Stadium.
The Irish centre-forward has been fined by the club and issued an apology. Now he needs to make it up to his coach, team-mates and the supporters on the field.
Melbourne City: DLWLW
City were held to a 0-0 draw away to Wellington Phoenix last weekend. Prior to that they suffered a comprehensive 3-0 loss in the derby against Melbourne Victory and defeated Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 at home.
Perth Glory: DLDLW
Perth avoided defeat against bogey team Adelaide for the first time from four meetings in all competitions this season last time out. Before that they went down 3-1 at home to Sydney FC and drew 3-3 with Melbourne Victory, also at home.
DID YOU KNOW
- No player has been booked more times this season than City's Jacob Melling (7).
We expect Glory to be spoiling for a rumble in this one. It must seem as though the world has been against the Western Australian outfit in the last two weeks and that's exactly the way they like it.
City could well be reeling from the long-term loss of Duff and Garuccio. It's a major test of their character and unfortunately, past evidence points to the hosts rolling over on Sunday afternoon.