Preview: Melbourne Victory v Central Coast
It has been blockbuster after blockbuster for Melbourne Victory with yet another contender challenging it for top spot.
Date: Friday November 21 Kick-off: 8pm local Venue: Telstra Dome Coverage: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and Sky Sport 1. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is SEN (Melbourne) 1116AM and Coast FM (Gosford) 96.3FM . To purchase tickets visit www.ticketmaster.com.au
Head-to-head Past 10 Hyundai A-League meetings: Melbourne Victory - 4 wins, Central Coast Mariners - 3 wins, Draws - 3.
Previous meeting Central Coast 2, Melbourne Victory 2, Bluetongue Stadium, Round 5, September 20, 2008
Past Five Games Melbourne Victory: Round 7: Melbourne 4, Perth Glory 0, Telstra Dome Round 8: Newcastle Jets 1, Melbourne Victory 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 9: Melbourne Victory 0, Sydney FC 2, Telstra Dome Round 10: Adelaide United 2, Melbourne Victory 3, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 11: Queensland Roar 0, Melbourne Victory 1, Suncorp Stadium
Central Coast: Round 7: Adelaide United 3, Central Coast 3, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 8: Central Coast 0, Wellington Phoenix 1, Bluetongue Stadium Round 9: Central Coast 1, Newcastle Jets 0, Bluetongue Stadium Round 10: Sydney FC 3, Central Coast 3, Sydney Football Stadium Round 11: Central Coast 3, Adelaide United 0, Bluetongue Stadium
Analysis It has been blockbuster after blockbuster for Melbourne Victory with yet another contender challenging it for top spot.
A cockahoop Central Coast heads to the Telstra Dome full of confidence after thrashing Adelaide United 3-0 last week but will have to lift another notch if it is to achieve a similar result on Friday.
The Victory has been dangerous all season but always look more menacing when Archie Thompson, Ney Fabiano and Danny Allsopp are playing together.
Costa Rican Carlos Hernandez also returns from injury and will offer some back-up by starting on the bench.
Meanwhile Michael Theoklitis will be keen to show he's still the man after the club recently signed Wellington Phoenix keeper Glen Moss as his back-up for next season.
Melbourne will be without Jose Luis Lopez who will miss the game with international duties while it'll be interesting to monitor some of the other squad members' endurance after a nasty flu spread through the camp.
The Victory will enter this clash warm favourites having lost to the Central Coast just once in the past two seasons.
But the Mariners should feel optimistic about their chances in this clash given their ability to score quickly.
They've scored 10 goals in their last five games and against Adelaide United it was Matt Simon, Sasho Petrovski and Adrian Caceres who got their names on the scoreboard.
Add to the mix Dylan Macallister and Bradley Porter, who is drilling some dangerous corner kicks, and you-ve got an imposing line up.
The only question mark hanging over the squad will be Mile Jedinak who returns from Socceroos duties on the day of the contest.
Consistency also haunts Lawrie McKinna's side which has yet to record consecutive victories this season.
It's quite likely both teams will add a couple more goals to their season tally but whether the visitors collect more than a point from this contest is another question. Melbourne should maintain its buffer at the top of the ladder but only just.
Melbourne Victory Squad. 1.Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (Captain), 3.Michael THWAITE, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.NEY FABIANO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 18.Leigh BROXHAM, 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 22.Nick WARD.
In. Carlos HERNANDEZ (return from injury). Out. Jose Luis LOPEZ (international duty - 1 week).
Central Coast Mariners Squad. 2. Andre GUMPRECHT, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Bradley PORTER, 6. David D'APUZZO, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 9. Nik MRDJA, 10. Adrian CACERES, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 17. Matthew OSMAN, 18. Alex WILKINSON, 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 22. Sasho PETROVSKI, 23. Mile JEDINAK, 30. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk).