Melbourne Victory are bottom of the ladder after a slow start under coach Ange Postecoglou, while Wellington Phoenix will be eager to return to winning ways.
Date: Monday 5 November, 2012 Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT Venue: Etihad Stadium
Head-to-head Played: 15 Wins: Melbourne Victory 7, Wellington Phoenix 2, Draws: 6
Previous encounter Melbourne Victory 3 Wellington Phoenix 0, 16 March 2012
Form: Past five matches: Melbourne Victory: LWLLL Wellington Phoenix: LDDWL
The Game Melbourne Victory are bottom of the Hyundai A-League ladder after a slow start under coach Ange Postecoglou, while Wellington Phoenix will be eager to return to winning ways.
Victory are likely to recall attacking midfielder Gui Finkler, who missed the loss to Newcastle with a groin injury. New signing Nathan Coe will get his second straight game in goal having made his debut against the Jets.
Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert will be without suspended centre-back Ben Sigmund, who was controversially sent off in Wellington's 3-1 loss to Adelaide United. Lucas Pantelis (knee), Mirjan Pavlovic (medical condition) and Dani Sanchez (knee) all remain sidelined.
But as they showed when they lost several players to international duty in the lead-up to their draw against the Melbourne Heart earlier this season, the Phoenix have depth.
The big issue Melbourne Victory - A better understanding of Postecoglou's possession-based style remains the priority for the Victory, but they need to start controlling games for longer.
The coach was happy with how his side controlled the encounter against the Jets, but they left Hunter Stadium empty handed. Questions remain as to whether Victory can dictate and take their chances.
Wellington Phoenix - Herbert's men have made an impressive start to the season, but after last week's loss to Adelaide, doubts remain over whether the Phoenix will be able to overcome their traditional travel sickness. That said, last week's result was largely taken out of their hands and they will be desperate to make amends.
Gamebreaker It has been a far from dream start for Marcos Flores, but the Argentine's ability to create chances shapes as being fascinating every game this season. With Manny Muscat and Alex Smith screening the Phoenix back four, Flores and Finkler will have a huge task of trying to break down what is generally a compact Wellington side.
Prediction Melbourne Victory 2-1 Wellington Phoenix.
Both teams know how to score but Victory's defence has been unconvincing, even if it is improving. But home ground advantage should count in their favour after they managed to upset Adelaide at Etihad Stadium in Round 3.
The loss of Sigmund is big for the Phoenix, especially if they want to contain a talented Victory attack which features Finkler, Flores, Archie Thompson and Marco Rojas.