There will be no quarter given and none asked in Melbourne's Docklands this weekend, when the city's two A-League outfits go head-to-head in an eagerly anticipated showdown.
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Live Blog #PlayFootball Round 16 | Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City FC
All eyes will be on Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, when one of the league's biggest rivalries is set for its third instalment of the season. A Melbourne City side reinforced by veteran Socceroo Josh Kennedy will hope to register successive victories over established powerhouse Melbourne Victory for the first time in A-League history.
Saturday, 7 February 2015
Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 7:30 PM (Local) (7:30 PM AEDT)
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Nathan COE (GK), 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Nick ANSELL, 6.Leigh BROXHAM (c), 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.Connor PAIN, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 18.Dylan MURNANE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21.Carl VALERI, 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 23.Adrian LEIJER, 24.Scott GALLOWAY
**two to be omitted**
10.Archie THOMPSON (promoted), 24.Scott GALLOWAY (promoted)
: 5.Mark MILLIGAN (suspension), 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE (injury)
Melbourne City FC squad
: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 4.Connor CHAPMAN, 5.Erik PAARTALU, 6.Aaron MOOY, 7.Iain RAMSAY, 8.Massimo MURDOCCA, 10.Robert KOREN, 11.Damien DUFF, 15.David WILLIAMS, 16.Joshua KENNEDY, 17.Jason HOFFMAN, 20.Tando VELAPHI (GK), 22.Jack CLISBY, 24.Patrick KISNORBO, 25.Jacob MELLING, 29.Safuwan BAHARUDIN, 40.Marko STEVANJA (GK)
*One to be omitted*
16.Josh KENNEDY, 20.Tando VELAPHI (gk) (fitness test)
: 19.Ben GARUCCIO (ankle – 2-3 weeks)
: 3.Robbie WIELAERT (ankle 2-3 weeks),14.James BROWN (knee – 1-2 weeks), 19.Ben GARUCCIO (ankle – 2-3 weeks), 23.Mate DUGANDZIC (knee – 1-2 weeks)
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: Peter Green
: David Walsh
: George Lakrindis
The A-League may have resumed over the final rounds of the Asian Cup and in the days following the Socceroos' historic triumph in the final, but for supporters in Melbourne this is the clash that will signal the full resumption of domestic hostilities.
The battle for local bragging rights in Victoria's capital is always keenly contested, but both teams have additional motivation to draw upon as they go in search of maximum reward this weekend.
Having dropped two points from a winning position away to league leaders Perth Glory late last month, Victory will be determined to claim the win and either close the gap on or keep pace with Kenny Lowe's front-runners. They will also be seeking revenge after giving up their unbeaten record in this season's A-League to City in December.
John van 't Schip's men meanwhile need to keep winning to stay ahead of Brisbane Roar, who are four points back and gunning for a spot in the top six. City's target should be to chase down Sydney FC, who are only three points ahead in fifth spot.
Opta Data stats
- Victory have won all but one of their eight home games this season (D1), and have scored in every one.
- City have failed to keep a clean sheet away from home in nine attempts, conceding 21 goals in that time.
- City won the last meeting between these sides in December, but they've never won back-to-back games against Victory in A-League history.
Route to goal
City fans will hope to see a new route to goal open up soon when Australian marquee player Josh Kennedy makes his debut for the club.
The veteran striker is unlikely to start in this one, meaning forwards David Williams and Damien Duff will have to get the job done, with Robert Koren pulling the strings behind them.
We all know how dangerous Victory are in attack. Kevin Muscat's team are the A-League's leading scorers with 31 goals from 15 matches played.
Besart Berisha and Archie Thompson lead the way with eight and six strikes respectively, while Guilherme Finkler and Fahid Ben Khalfallah have three apiece.
Six other Victory players have scored at least once this season, with winger Kosta Barbarouses opening his account in the draw away to Perth.
Who's been in the spotlight this week?
Melbourne Victory's captain Mark Milligan and their former coach Ange Postecoglou will still be on a high from winning the Asian Cup with the Socceroos last Saturday night. The skipper is suspended for this week's clash, but the two fan favourites will present Australia's trophy to supporters before the match at Eithad Stadium this weekend.
Victory's last outing saw them give up a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 away to Perth Glory, throwing away an important opportunity to close the gap on the league leaders.
City meanwhile returned to A-League action after the break for the Asian Cup with a 2-1 win at home to struggling Western Sydney Wanderers.
Did you know?
- Victory have yet to be shown a red card this A-League season, despite having conceded more fouls than any other side (262).
Melbourne Victory 2-2 Melbourne City
We're tipping this to be a more open and attacking contest than the previous derby, when a somewhat lacklustre Victory failed to match the intensity and energy City brought to that contest.
Both teams have proven themselves to be fallible at the back this season but City have also shown they know how to get past the Big V's inconsistent backline. With that in mind, we're tipping an entertaining draw in the match of the round.