John van 't Schip's in-form side will host the imposing Hyundai A-League leaders from Western Australia at AAMI Park on Boxing Day. Supporters and neutrals alike will hope the players aren't weighed down by turkey and stuffing with crucial points on the line.
Friday, 26 December 2014
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 5:30 PM (Local) (5:30 PM AEDT)
Melbourne City FC Squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 3.Robbie WIELAERT, 4.Connor CHAPMAN, 5.Erik PAARTALU, 6.Aaron MOOY, 7.Iain RAMSAY, 10.Robert KOREN, 11.Damien DUFF, 14.James BROWN, 15.David WILLIAMS, 17.Jason HOFFMAN, 19.Benjamin GARUCCIO, 20.Tando VELAPHI (GK), 21.Stefan MAUK, 23.Mate DUGANDZIC, 24.Patrick KISNORBO (C), 25.Jacob MELLING, 27.Ross ARCHIBALD
***two to be omitted***
Ins: 11.Damien DUFF (returns from injury), 27.Ross ARCHIBALD (promoted)
Unavailable: 8.Massimo MURDOCCA (ankle – 1-2 weeks)
Perth Glory Squad: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 2.Jack CLISBY, 3.Brandon O'NEILL, 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, 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Daniel DE SILVA, 21.Scott JAMIESON, 23.Michael THWAITE (c), 24.Matthew DAVIES, 30.Jordan THURTELL (GK)
***two to be omitted***
Ins: 2.Jack CLISBY (promoted), 19.Josh RISDON (return from suspension)
Unavailable: 7.Youssouf HERSI (Hamstring – indefinite), 17.Mitch NICHOLS (Hamstring – 6 weeks)
TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: Online/ ABC Radio Mobile phone app
Referee: Alan Milliner
Assistant Referee 1: George Lakrindis
Assistant Referee 2: Jonathan Barreiro
Fourth Official: Lucien Laverdure
Both teams go into this clash in good shape, City having won successive matches for the first time this season, beating first Brisbane Roar and then Melbourne Victory 1-0 at home.
The next challenge for Van 't Schip's side is to shake off some of the inconsistency that has dogged them by making it three in a row.
That will be no small task against Kenny Lowe's competition front-runners. Glory responded to defeat in the Westfield FFA Cup final against Adelaide by thumping Central Coast 4-1 at home on Saturday.
The Mariners arguably had the better of the first half but couldn't keep out their hosts at nib Stadium, Glory moving six points clear at the top of table.
It's the first of two consecutive games in Victoria for Perth, who face Victory in Geelong on January 2, before a revenge mission at home to Adelaide in their final game before the break for the Asian Cup.
Lowe's side will be determined to collect maximum points from those three fixtures and cement their status as favourites for the Premier's Plate ahead of the second half of the season.
Opta Data stats
- Glory are unbeaten in eight league games (W7, D1), winning their last three in a row.
- However, Glory have kept only one clean sheet in their last 12 away games.
- There has not been a draw between these sides in their last 10 meetings (including play-offs), with City winning four times to Glory's six.
Route to goal
Melbourne City have scored more headed goals (seven) than any other side so far this season and were at it again on Saturday night, Erik Paartalu netting in injury time to snatch all three points against Victory. That bodes well for the introduction of 1.94-metre marquee striker Josh Kennedy in 2015, but Van't Schip's side need to remember how to score with their feet too. That's especially relevant this weekend, when they go up against a Glory defence boasting two powerful centre-backs in Dino Djulbic and Michael Thwaite, both of whom are good in the air.
At the other end Andy Keogh, on target in the win over the Mariners, is Glory's leading scorer with seven and the focal point of the WA side's attack. He's getting plenty of help from elsewhere though, Chris Harold netting twice in that win and teenage hot shot Daniel De Silva also scoring with a brilliant long-range strike.
City will have to be at their best to keep out the visitors, although the form of Ben Garuccio at left-back and Connor Chapman at centre-back has helped them to keep two clean sheets in succession.
Who's been in the spotlight this week?
De Silva's sumptuous strike against the Mariners has thrust the youngster into the spotlight, prompting the rumour mill to click into clear and claim both Arsenal and Manchester City will seek to hijack Roma's move for the Young Socceroo.
Form lines (past five games for each)
Prior to their wins over Victory and the Roar, City had lost two in succession, going down 5-1 away to Wellington Phoenix and 2-1 at home to Sydney FC. Before that they drew 2-2 at home to Central Coast.
Glory's 1-0 loss in the Westfield FFA Cup final followed two successive victories, 2-0 at home to the Jets and 2-1 at Sydney FC.
Did you know?
Perth Glory's Andy Keogh has been caught offside more often than any other player (27).
Result: Melbourne City 0-2 Perth Glory
Can City string three good performances in a row together? The answer to that question will determine the outcome of this Boxing Day clash. There's no doubt Perth have what it takes to do the business home and away, so the only thing they have to worry about on Friday is which City will turn up.
Unfortunately for their long-suffering fans, we're tipping the home side to fail to match their exemplary efforts in the derby and revert to type at AAMI Park, with Glory to register a routine away win and continue their march to title favouritism.