Both these sides found it difficult to score goals last season and that has continued into the new campaign, which hints at a tight contest on Sunday.
Date: Sunday 28 October, 2012 Kick-off: 3.00pm AEDT Venue: AAMI Park
Head-to-head Played: 6 Wins: Melbourne Heart 1, Central Coast 4, Draws: 1
Previous encounter Melbourne Heart 1, Central Coast 0, 26 February 2012
Form: Past five matches: Melbourne Heart: LDWLD Central Coast: LWDLL
The Game Both Melbourne Heart and the Central Coast Mariners will be keen to take three points at AAMI Park on Sunday after losing last week. Heart and the Mariners both have four points from three matches with league-leaders Adelaide United on six.
Melbourne's head coach John Aloisi is expected to bring Simon Colosimo straight back into central defence after the 33-year-old served a one-match suspension in the 2-0 defeat away to Perth Glory.
In another boost for the home team, captain Fred should play against the Mariners despite being substituted at half-time in Perth after being struck in the eye. But Aloisi has ruled out selecting new signing Vince Grella, who arrived in Melbourne this week.
After a tough 2-1 loss to local rivals Newcastle Jets, the Mariners have no serious injury concerns but head coach Graham Arnold needs to improve his attack after just two goals so far this season.
The big issue Melbourne Heart - Aloisi hopes the recruitment of Grella should help Heart control games more often. But after the Red and Whites were dominated by Perth, can Aloisi's current midfield of Richard Garcia, Matt Thompson and Fred do enough against the Mariners' Nick Montgomery and John Hutchinson?
Central Coast - In Central Coast's three matches this season, Arnold has selected a different group of attackers each time. Having scored just two goals from 11 shots on target so far, when will Arnold find an attacking set-up that works?
Gamebreaker Considering the Mariners' goalscoring problems, Tom Rogic will clearly be crucial if Arnold's side are to win in Melbourne. The 19-year-old attacking midfielder scored two stunning goals for Central Coast last season and he may need to bypass his strikers and go it alone to give the Mariners a chance of victory.
Prediction Melbourne Heart 1-1 Central Coast. Both these sides found it difficult to score goals at different periods during last season and that has continued into the new campaign, which hints at a tight contest on Sunday.
The Mariners must be wary of the home team's ability on the counter-attack with Mate Dugandzic and Aziz Behich providing pace out wide for Heart and if the two speedsters have a good game, it could be a fun day for Melbourne's fans.
Apart from Rogic, Central Coast will need better performances from full-backs Josh Rose and Pedj Bojic to keep the Heart's wide players quiet and provide some penetration in attack.