Preview: Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC

Melbourne and Sydney have been the frontrunners all season and this Saturday's clash has been billed as the match of the round.

Date: Saturday October 25 Kick-off: 7pm local Venue: Telstra Dome TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 2 and Sky Sport 3. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is SEN 1116AM (Melbourne). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketmaster.com.au.

Head-to-head Past 10 Hyundai A-League meetings: Melbourne Victory - 4 wins, Sydney FC - 1 win, Draws - 5.

Previous meeting Sydney FC 0, Melbourne Victory 0, Sydney Football Stadium, Round 1, August 2008

Past Five Games Melbourne: Round 4: Melbourne Victory 1, Adelaide United 0, Telstra Dome Round 5: Central Coast Mariners 2, Melbourne Victory 2, Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium Round 6: Melbourne Victory 0, Queensland Roar 2, Telstra Dome Round 7: Melbourne 4, Perth Glory 0, Telstra Dome Round 8: Newcastle Jets 1, Melbourne Victory 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium

Sydney FC: Round 4: Newcastle Jets 0, Sydney FC 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 5: Sydney FC 3, Adelaide United 0, Sydney Football Stadium Round 6: Wellington FC 2, Sydney FC 1, Westpac Stadium Round 7: Sydney FC 1, Queensland Roar 1, Sydney Football Stadium Round 8: Perth Glory 2, Sydney FC 1, Members Equity Stadium

Analysis They've been the frontrunners all season and this Saturday's clash has been billed as the match of the round. But players from both Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC would have their feet firmly planted on the ground after a disappointing run of results in recent weeks.

The Victory lost to the Newcastle Jets last week, went down to the Queensland Roar in Round 6 and drew with the Central Coast Mariners before that. Their only win in recent times has been a 4-0 drubbing of bottom side Perth Glory.

The Sky Blues also stumbled last week and were beaten by the Glory. In previous games they drew with the Queensland Roar and lost to Wellington Phoenix while their last win came against an undermanned Adelaide United back in Round 5.

Both Sydney and Melbourne are either struggling to lift for the games they're expected to win or perhaps the rest of the Hyundai A-League competition is improving as the season progresses. There's a fair chance elements of both have brought them back to the pack.

Whatever the reasons, the recent form of the competition's first and third sides will mean more than pride is riding on the result. If Melbourne lose they could surrender top spot to Adelaide and if Sydney lose they may slip further down the ladder.

The Victory will head into the clash without the dangerous Archie Thompson who's serving a two-match suspension for abusive language while Ney Fabiano remains a bystander.

Sydney FC's line-up has also been weakened with Iain Fyfe given the week off after an incident in the Glory match. Tony Popovic limped off the ground last week and he'll miss the game with a hamstring injury while Alex Brosque is still recovering from a similar injury. Left sided defender Anthony Golec, Adam Biddle and Beau Busch will be called upon to fill the void.

The two teams drew 0-0 in Round 1 but high-scoring clashes between the sides in previous seasons suggest the Telstra Dome clash should be a cracker.

Melbourne at home should be favourite but a desperate Sydney will be keen to put the past week behind it and make a statement against its biggest rival. Terry McFlynn, who continues to be snubbed by the Northern Ireland selectors, will have a point to prove while Brendon Santalab is full of confidence after his goal last week.

Melbourne Victory Squad. 1.Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (Captain), 3.Michael THWAITE, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Jose Luis LOPEZ, 18. Leigh BROXHAM, 19.Evan BERGER, 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 22. Nick WARD.

In. Jose Luis LOPEZ (international duty)

Out. Archie THOMPSON (suspended - 2 matches).

Unavailable. NEY FABIANO (suspended - 2 matches), Nathan ELASI (International Duty - 4 weeks), Sebastian RYALL (International Duty - 4 weeks).

Sydney FC Squad. 1. Clint BOLTON, 5. Mitchell PRENTICE, 7. Rob MIDDLEBY, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 10. Steve CORICA (c), 11. Brendon SANTALAB, 12. Shannon COLE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 18. Adam CASEY, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI, 21. Adam BIDDLE, 23. John ALOISI, 28. Bobby PETTA, 29. Beau BUSCH, 31. Anthony GOLEC.

*One to be omitted.

In. Clint Bolton, Adam Biddle (promoted), Beau Busch (injury replacement), Anthony Golec (promoted).

Out. Iain Fyfe (suspended), Tony Popovic (hamstring).

Unavailable. Alex Brosque (hamstring - 1 week), Simon Colosimo (groin - 6 weeks), Mike Enfield (knee - indefinite), Jacob Timpano (ankle - 4 weeks), Nik Tsattalios (international duty).