Preview: Melbourne Victory v Gold Coast United

This looms a really important game for two teams desperate for a win.

Date: Sunday November 27 Kick-off: 5:00pm AEDT (4pm AEST) Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne

Head-to-head Played 7: Wins: Melbourne Victory 4, Gold Coast United 3, Drawn: 0

Previous encounter Gold Coast United 1, Melbourne Victory 0, Semi-Final, February 2011

History: These two most recently met in the finals last season, where Gold Coast got a 1-0 win to keep their season alive in what proved Ernie Merrick's last Hyundai A-League game in charge of Victory. All seven encounters have ended with a result, with the last six seeing only one team score.

The team's swapped 1-0 away results in their first two games while the third match went to Victory 2-0 in controversial circumstances with coach Miron Bleiberg and captain Michael Thwaite accusing them of dirty tactics.

Form: Melbourne Victory: DWDDD Gold Coast United: LWLLL

Form Summary: Victory are in desperate need of a win having picked up just one in their first seven matches. But despite managing just a 2-2 draw after leading 2-0 against 10-man Perth last week, suggestions of a crisis are wide of the mark. They have only lost one game so far this season.

Gold Coast began the season with five points from their first four matches, but since then things have gone downhill. They have lost three matches in a row, all by just one goal, which has seen them slump to the bottom of the table. Last week's performance against Melbourne Heart was below their usual standards and their defence, which has conceded 13 goals this season, is a worry.

Match Committee: Much of the attention again this week will be on the fitness of Harry Kewell, who re-joined training on Wednesday and is expected to be a good chance to play. Jean Carlos Solorzano missed with a tight hamstring last week and will also be tested. Grant Brebner, Diogo Ferreira and Tando Velaphi are still some time from returning, while Matt Foschini is on national duty.

James Brown is also still away with the Under-23 side, robbing Gold Coast of one of their brightest prospects, while Dylan McGowan is also away. Joel Porter and Ante Rozic remain sidelined, while Jonas Salley, recruited this week, could make his debut.

Danger men: Archie Thompson - Victory's current barren run has nothing to do with Thompson, who is back to some his best form this season. Of Victory's six goals, he has scored three and won the penalty for two others. Even if Kewell returns, he is the man to stop.

Michael Thwaite - The performance of one-time Victory defender Michael Thwaite will be very important to United's hopes of getting back on the winners' list. His defence is strong, while he offers a strong base for creative play going forward as well.

At the end of the day… This looms a really important game for two teams desperate for a win. Victory's issues have been well-documented and they have spent much of the week in the news for the wrong reasons after the departure of football director Francis Awaritefe and they would love to get things going with a win here.

Gold Coast have endured their fair share of bad luck this season, but last week's effort against Melbourne Heart was frankly disappointing, with their opponents given too many chances to shoot. They desperately need to close up the gaps across the park and try to control the tempo of the match.

The path back up the table for these two teams is not necessarily a long one. Victory lie three points adrift of second, while Gold Coast may be bottom of the league, but are just six points away from the double chance.

In recent times, these two have fought out tough, dogged clashes, with minimal chances and you can see in the circumstances, a similar game evolving here. Victory need a lift from their midfield, and need to dominate the game for longer. How Mehmet Durakovic integrates Kewell and Carlos Hernandez will be important and both will be required to do work from box to box, as well as having shots on goal.

Gold Coast are short on ammunition in the absence of Porter and Brown but a disciplined performance could see them able to take advantage of a Victory side under pressure. Interestingly these two have never drawn a game, but given Victory's record this campaign a stalemate would not surprise.

Squads Melbourne Victory squad: 3. Fabio, 4. Petar Franjic, 6. Leigh Broxham, 9. Jean Carlos Solorzano, 10. Archie Thompson, 11. Marco Rojas, 12. Rodrigo Vargas, 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) *three to be omitted*

In: 22. Harry Kewell (returns from injury), 19. Isaka Cernak (promoted) Out: 30. Zaim Zeneli (GK) (omitted), 7. Matthew Kemp (muscle strain) Unavailable: 1.Tando Velaphi (stress fracture), 8. Grant BREBNER (calf), 2. Matthew Foschini (Olyroos)

Gold Coast United Squad: Gold Coast United Squad: 1.Glen Moss [gk], 2.Josh Brillante, 3.Michael Thwaite (c), 4.Zac Anderson, 5.Kristian Rees, 6.Paul Beekmans, 7.Golgol Mebrahtu, 10.Tahj Minniecon, 11.Jake Barker-Daish, 12.Dylan Macallister, 14.Ben Halloran, 15.Adama Traore, 16.Maceo Rigters, 17.Chris Harold, 20.Jerrad Tyson [gk], 21.Daniel Severino, 22.Peter Jungschlager, 28.Daniel Bowles, 29.Mitch Bevan. *four to be omitted*

In: 10.Tahj Minniecon (promoted), 11.Jake Barker-Daish (promoted), 14.Ben Halloran (return from knee injury), 28. Daniel Bowles (promoted). Out: None. Unavailable: 9.Joel Porter (calf - 4 weeks), 13.Ante Rozic (knee - 3 weeks), 19.Chris Broadfoot (ankle injury - 6 weeks).