Preview: Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United

This is one of the great rivalries of the Hyundai A-League, with these two having faced off in two Grand Finals over the years.

Date: Saturday December 10 Kick-off: 7.45pm AEDT, 7.15pm ACDT Venue: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

Head-to-head Played 25: Wins: Victory 14, Adelaide 8, Draws: 3

Previous encounter Adelaide United 1, Melbourne Victory 0, October 2011

History: This is one of the great rivalries of the Hyundai A-League, with these two having faced off in two grand finals over the years, both of which have gone in Melbourne's favour. Victory held a vice-like hold over their rivals prior to last year with an unprecedented 10 straight wins in their battles. Adelaide have hit back by winning the past two, including a 1-0 win earlier this season.

Form: Past five matches: Melbourne: DDDWL Adelaide: DWDDL

Summary of form: Victory took a major hit last week against a team which they have traditionally struggled against, Newcastle. They led early through Carlos Hernandez, but conceded two easy goals before being unlucky not to win a penalty which could have given them a share of the spoils. Such is the close nature of the table, they dropped from third to seventh with that defeat and have some work to do to get back up the table.

Adelaide have been a bit all over the place this season and while they looked like finally finding some consistency ahead of last week's match, they slumped to their worst home loss ever in the 4-0 defeat to Central Coast. While they are second bottom on the table with an appalling goal difference of minus-10, they have had only two really poor performances, against last year's Grand Finalists. Nonetheless, Rini Coolen is under pressure.

Match Committee: Victory should get back Harry Kewell for this match after he was rested for the LA Galaxy match during the week, while defender Matthew Foschini should be available from suspension, leaving Victory with almost a full squad to pick from apart from Rody Vargas, who is suspended.

Adelaide are still without Dario Vidosic and Cassio, who remain both sidelined long term through injury, but the Reds have Nigel Boogaard back available after serving his one-week ban and most significantly, will could get back Sergio van Dijk.

Danger men: Carlos Hernandez - The laid-back Costa Rican has scored five goals in his past four games if you count his goal against LA Galaxy on Tuesday. While there are plenty who may question his work ethic, it is impossible to question his output in recent weeks. With Kewell's form and fitness still under a cloud, he is a crucial player.

Iain Ramsey - Ramsey can drift in and out of games a bit, but the winger is a very valuable player for the Reds in terms of setting up attacking chances. He has scored one goal and set up another this year and Rini Coolen will be looking for a lift from him this week.

At the end of the day… There is substantial pressure on both teams heading into this game given their results last week and their respective positions on the table.

Victory's result away to Newcastle was far from satisfactory and wiped out much of the momentum gained from the fighting win over Gold Coast the week prior. They will be looking to coax the full 90 minutes out of Kewell and for the first time this season, have their three main strike weapons working well together for an entire game.

Their defence looked poorer for Rody Vargas' absence last week and they will be without him again. It will be interesting to see if full back Fabio gets a start after being responsible for a couple of defensive mistakes in recent weeks.

The Reds are under the pump after a woeful performance last week. There were few positives to come out of the 4-0 hammering by the Mariners and many of their experienced players had bad nights. They missed van Dijk, but he wouldn't have made a four-goal difference to the result.

The striking characteristic of that match was the ease in which the Mariners were able to pick apart the Reds defence and their lack of organisation at the back, especially in the first half.

The championship challenging Adelaide teams of the earlier days of the Hyundai A-League were built from defence, and they need to get that bit of combativeness back onto the team if they are to overcome this current slump.

They don't like travelling to Etihad Stadium, having lost two grand finals there and have not won at that ground in over five years, since that famous bust-up between Kevin Muscat and John Kosmina in October 2006.

Victory possess, on paper, the most potent attack in the league, while the stats say the Reds have the most porous defence. On that comparison alone, you would think Victory would get back on the winners' list in this one.

Teams: Melbourne Victory: 2. Matthew Foschini, 3. Fabio, 4. Petar Franjic, 6. Leigh Broxham, 7. Matthew Kemp, 9. Jean Carlos Solorzano, 10. Archie Thompson, 11. Marco Rojas, 13. Diogo Ferreira, 14. Billy Celeski, 15. Tom Pondeljak, 16.Carlos Hernandez, 17, Jimmy Jeggo, 18. Danny Allsopp, 19. Isaka Cernak , 20. Lawrence Thomas (GK), 21. Ante Covic, 22. Harry Kewell, 23. Adrian Leijer (c) *four to be omitted*

In: 7. Matthew Kemp (returns from injury), 2. Matthew Foschini (returns from suspension) Out: Nil Unavailable: 1.Tando Velaphi (stress fracture), 12. Rodrigo Vargas (suspended)

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 4.Jon McKain (c), 5.Daniel Mullen, 7.Zenon Caravella, 8.Evgeniy Levchenko, 9.Sergio van Dijk, 10.Dario Vidosic, 11.Bruce Djite, 13.Ricardo Da Silva, 14.Cameron Watson, 16.Spase Dilevski, 17.Iain Ramsay, 18.Fabian Barbiero, 20.Mark Birighitti (gk), 21.Francisco Usucar, 22.Milan Susak *three to be omitted*

In: Nigel Boogaard (returns from suspension), Sergio van Dijk (returns from injury), Dario Vidosic (returns from injury) Out: Nil Unavailable: Cassio (ankle)