Preview: Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory

Results between these two teams have generally gone to the home team with a couple of notable exceptions.

Date: Sunday November 20 Kick-off: 5:00pm AEDT (2pm AWST) Venue: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

Head-to-head Played 18: Wins: Melbourne Victory 7, Perth Glory 7, Drawn: 4

Previous encounter Melbourne Victory 2, Perth Glory 0, AAMI Park, December 2010

History: Results between these two teams have generally gone to the home team with a couple of notable exceptions. Perth notched their first-ever win against Victory in Melbourne early last season 2-0, but have never won a match at Etihad Stadium. Victory have only ever won twice in Perth, the last time in November 2009. Remarkably, the past 11 matches between them have yielded a result, with the last draw between them back in September 2007.

Form: Melbourne Victory: LDWDD Perth Glory: LLWWW

Form Summary: Victory have fought hard for their two draws in the past two weeks, having come up against the Grand Finalists from last season. Down to the nine men, they scrambled a point from Brisbane and then went to Central Coast severely undermanned due to suspensions and international call ups and again salvaged a point. Seven points from six games isn't a huge return, but they are just four points off second spot.

Glory's season has taken a familiar downward turn in recent weeks, having lost three games in a row. Similar to last year, they began like a shot out of a gun, but things have fallen away with successive losses to Central Coast, Newcastle and Sydney. The Sydney loss, their first home defeat of the season, was particularly galling as they completely dominated the second half but could not find a way to score. They are, however, still third on the table.

Match Committee: Victory will have to wait until match eve to find out if either of Harry Kewell or Carlos Hernandez are available. Kewell suffered hamstring tightness while on international duty, while the club will sweat on the fitness of Hernandez who returns from Costa Rica on either Friday or Saturday. Goalkeeper Ante Covic is back after his suspension and will come back in, while Grant Brebner and Diogo Ferreira are still sidelined.

Glory have lost Travis Dodd for a month with hamstring injury in a major blow, while Trent McClenehan has been signed as an injury replacement for Scott Neville, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Shane Smeltz should recover from his corked thigh to take his place and Mile Sterjovski is nearing full fitness after his first appearance for the season last week.

Danger men: Archie Thompson - The A-League's two most prolific strikers in terms of overall goals clash in this match and Thompson will be keen to maintain his buffer over Smeltz, who had closed the gap with his strong early season form before Thompson scored three goals in the space of two games. Archie is finally back to fitness after his knee injury 18 months ago and has scored against the Glory in their past two clashes at Etihad, where he plays his best football.

Liam Miller - His class in midfield shone through last week after being afforded a more central role. He should have scored a goal, only to be denied by a superb save from Liam Reddy. He looms as a vital player for Glory in their quest to turn their recent form slump around.

At the end of the day… History tells you a couple of things ahead of this game. These two teams don;t play draws against one another and Perth Glory hate travelling to Etihad Stadium. When they finally broke their Melbourne hoodoo last year, it came at AAMI Park and there is an argument to say Victory still play their best football at the big ground.

The problem for Melbourne is that their best football has only occurred in a couple of bursts thsi season while there have been long periods where they have looked disjointed and uninspired. Their defence has held up well, but the connection through the midfield, while improving, is still not allowing their much vaunted attack to inflict maximum damage. Kewell's integration into the team is taking longer than desired and should he miss this week it would be another setback in Mehmet Durakovic's plans.

Ian Ferguson has a whole different problem to address at Perth - the gulf between their best and worst. Their form on the road remains a major concern, with their only away win in the Ferguson era coming in Melbourne, against the Heart five weeks ago.

Last week's home loss to Sydney indicated that despite the presence of Smeltz, they are lacking a cutting edge up front. They bombarded the penalty box late in that game but could not produce an equaliser.

It's an interesting clash of two teams with plenty of quality on paper but scant evidence in recent times that that potential is any closer to being fulfilled. Having said that Victory at home, with Covic back in goals and Hernandez back in midfield, should have an edge and you would consider them favourites to take a much needed three points.

Teams: TBC