Heart have won their past five games at home and are becoming notoriously hard to beat at AAMI Park.
Date: Monday March 11, 2013 Kick-off: 7.30pm ADST Venue: AAMI Park
Head-to-head Played: 8 Wins: Melbourne Heart 2, Adelaide United 4, Draws: 2
Previous encounter Heart 2, Adelaide 0 January 18, 2013
Form: Past five matches: Heart: LWLWL Adelaide: LWLDL
The Game Both sides are coming off humbling 1-0 defeats - Heart to Wellington in Dunedin and Adelaide at home to Brisbane. Heart's performance was almost as inexcusable given they played Sydney off the park a week prior only to stumble, yet again, on the road.
The Reds were nothing short of dismal at Hindmarsh against the Roar and lucky to escape with only a 1-0 loss. Jittery and unsure on the ball, Adelaide looked a shadow of the side that jockeyed for top spot on the table earlier in the season.
In more bad news, Osama Malik's red card sees him suspended against Heart, while Adelaide's most important player Dario Vidosic is a doubt after coming off at training on Tuesday with an ankle injury. Defender John McKain is available again after his red card against Wellington ruled him out last week.
Adelaide's slump has seen them collect only four points in their past seven games and the fact goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic proved to be their best player against Brisbane said it all.
John Aloisi's Heart will be thankful of a return home, where they have won their past five matches. The former Socceroo has close to a fully fit squad to select from and a number of attacking options, including captain Fred, who has been operating off the bench in recent weeks.
The Big Issue Melbourne Heart: Can they continue their sterling form at AAMI Park? John Aloisi's side will need to if they are to make an appearance in the finals series from seventh position.
Last time out, Heart swept aside a Sydney side containing the likes of Alessandro Del Piero, Lucas Neill, Brett Emerton and Joel Griffiths with minimal fuss. Setting aside their dismal away form for a moment, Heart will bid for all six points in consecutive home fixtures against Adelaide and league leaders Western Sydney before tough away fixtures against Brisbane and Central Coast to close their regular season.
Adelaide United: The Reds' confidence. Michael Valkanis' side were utterly outclassed by Brisbane in an uncharacteristically poor display at Hindmarsh Stadium last Saturday. The score line read 1-0, but Roar coach Mike Mulvey called it correctly when he said it was "as dominant a 1-0 win I've been involved in for a while".
There were certainly few positives in it for Adelaide. The Reds remain comfortably six points clear in fourth but a run of one win in seven games is hardly finals form. Injuries aside, Adelaide must turn the tables at AAMI Park and rediscover their form before the season slips away.
Gamebreaker Eli Babalj has not immediately recaptured the form that saw him seal a move to Red Star Belgrade, but he has the quality to elevate Heart to the next level if they manage to make the final six.
His deft through-ball for Jonatan Germano's goal against the Sky Blues at home two weeks ago was a fine example of his quality and if he can start to finish off more of Heart's sweeping moves, the Melbourne side will remain in the hunt.
Prediction: Melbourne Heart 3, Adelaide United 0 Heart have won their past five games at home and are becoming notoriously hard to beat at AAMI Park. And although they were poor in Dunedin, they are a different proposition altogether in Melbourne.
The Reds are in a bit of a rut with only one win in their past seven games and have some key absentees in Vidosic, Malik and Bruce Djite. Last Saturday was one of their poorest home performances in a long while and if Vidosic misses, his absence paired Djite's will sap the Reds of too much attacking spark.