Football will grip an entire city as the eighth instalment of the Melbourne Derby takes place at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
Date: Saturday December 22, 2012 Kick-off: 7.45pm AEDT Venue:AAMI Park, Melbourne Head-to-head Played: 7, Wins: Melbourne Heart 3, Melbourne Victory 1, Draws: 3
Previous encounter Melbourne Victory 1 Melbourne Heart 2, October 5 2012
Form: Past five matches: Melbourne Heart: LDDWL Melbourne Victory: DWWLD
The Game Football will grip an entire city as the eighth instalment of the Melbourne Derby takes place at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
Red and blue will fill the stadium in what is sure to be another memorable night in Melbourne.
Heart claimed bragging rights after toppling their city-rivals 2-1 in October's season-opener at Etihad Stadium but rookie coach John Aloisi has experienced a mixed bag of results since that memorable night, which attracted more than 40,000 spectators.
Only two wins have been recorded following that result, leaving Heart just two points clear of bottom spot, although they are within five points of third-placed Victory.
While Heart have stagnated since the pair's previous meeting, Victory have gone from strength-to-strength.
The dual Hyundai A-League champions appear to have finally come to terms with Ange Postecoglou's game plan, collecting eight points from a possible 15 in their past five fixtures.
Victory have found wins against Heart hard to come by but their record of three defeats from 20 previous games at AAMI Park should fill them with confidence.
The Big Issue Melbourne Heart: Their attacking threat. In 90 minutes of football at Bluetongue Stadium, Heart could only manage two shots on goal against the Mariners. Central Coast were fantastic but more was expected from the red half of Melbourne, despite the absence of Croatian striker Josip Tadic.
Melbourne Victory: When will they stop conceding silly goals? In what has become a regular issue this season, Victory have experienced a number of defensive lapses that have resulted in goals. And despite the best efforts of Postecoglou, who has chopped and changed his back four, the team continued their run of appalling defending against the Roar after failing to deal with a seemingly easy free-kick.
Gamebreaker Mark Milligan: The Qantas Socceroos midfielder showed how important he is to the structure of Melbourne Victory against Brisbane Roar last Saturday. He was away on international duty for a fortnight but returned to the starting line up against the Roar, scoring the all-important equaliser.
Milligan's ability to protect Victory's back four and provide run through midfield is seeing him fast become the club's most important player and a fan favourite.
Prediction:Heart 1-3 Victory. Whether it is under the guidance of former coach John van't Schip or Aloisi, Heart always seem to rise to the occasion, regardless of their form or standing in the table. However, Victory is building to something big and will be as determined as ever to get one over their rivals.