Weekly Warm Up: Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix

Can Victory serve up another AAMI Park thriller? Prepare for drama as Melbourne and Wellington go head-to-head!

Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix Sunday 18th December, 5.00pm

Can Victory serve up another AAMI Park thriller? Prepare for drama as Melbourne and Wellington go head-to-head!

Victory are at AAMI Park once more and, if their last home game at the stadium is any benchmark, then supporters are in for a treat! Anyone who attended the thriller in Week 8 will be keen for similar entertainment, as Victory served up a five-goal feast which had penalties, red cards and late drama. In a match-up with Gold Coast United, Melbourne raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to penalties from Harry Kewell and Carlos Hernandez but, after defender Rody Vargas was sent off on the half-hour mark, Gold Coast clawed their way back into it, thanks to a Dylan Macallister penalty and a goal from Peter Jungschlager two minutes into the second-half. Still, the ten men rallied and sent a noisy AAMI Park wild when legendary attacker Hernandez rose to head home 11 minutes from time and give Victory their first home win of the Hyundai A-League 2011/12 season.

However, that was the last time they picked up a win and, as they look to pull themselves back up towards they right end of the ladder, they'll be hoping that a return to AAMI Park will bring about a similarly passionate performance. Still, they'll certainly take spirit from last week's draw against arch-rivals Adelaide United at Etihad Stadium. While they were disappointed to concede a late equaliser, the quality of their play throughout the game was of a high standard and, after Archie Thompson's brilliant header in the 59th minute, the home side dominated. With a bit more luck, they would have walked away with it. If they can carve out a similar number of opportunities this Sunday, three points could be theirs.

They'll take on a Wellington Phoenix side that will perhaps be a little weary from having played two games this week. Before Wednesday's mouth-watering tussle with Brisbane Roar, they earned a big win over Perth Glory at Westpac Stadium on Saturday thanks to a dramatic 85th minute winner from the head of Ben Sigmund. While the match itself was a scrappy affair, the Fever Zone were left in ecstasy as their side grabbed the vital late goal and then held on even after substitute Mirjan Pavlovic was sent off for a foul on Steve Pantelidis in stoppage-time. The win took them above Victory on the ladder.

However, Wellington should beware. Melbourne have already beaten them once in the Hyundai A-League 2011/12 season. In their only away triumph so far, they battled their way to a gritty 2-1 victory at Westpac Stadium thanks to goals from, you've guessed it, Archie Thompson and Carlos Hernandez. Although Dani Sanchez pulled one back for Phoenix, who by this stage were down to ten men after Ben Sigmund was sent off, Victory were good enough to hold on.

Can Melbourne get a similar win that would see them leapfrog Wellington and start moving in the right direction? As well as getting crucial points on the board, Victory will want to go into next week's vital derby clash against Heart brimming with confidence, and what better way to achieve that than with three points on Sunday? Get along to AAMI Park and see whether your players can summon up the kind of entertainment that they did last time round. If they can, it's not to be missed!