Preview: Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory

There’s no particular bad blood between these two teams. Last time Melbourne played Perth, Victory smashed them 6-2 at Etihad, while the win before that broke a run of three straight losses to Glory.

Date: Saturday August 14
Kick-off: 7:30pm AEST
Venue: AAMI Park

Played 15: Wins: Melbourne Victory 6, Perth Glory 5, Draws 4

Previous Meeting
Melbourne Victory 6, Perth Glory 2, Etihad Stadium, January 2010

Why we don-t like ’em
There’s no particular bad blood between these two teams. Last time Melbourne played Perth, Victory smashed them 6-2 at Etihad, while the win before that broke a run of three straight losses to Glory. They have never met in a final and have generally played open football against one another. Melbourne have never lost to Perth on home soil.

Season so far:
Melbourne Victory
R1: Sydney FC 3, Melbourne Victory 3, SFS

Perth Glory:
R1: Perth Glory 3, North Queensland 3, nib Stadium,

Pre-season form:
Melbourne Victory:
July 25: Central Coast Mariners 0, Melbourne Victory 0, Aurora Stadium, Launceston
July 20: Melbourne Victory 2, Dandenong Thunder 1, Olympic Park
July 16: Melbourne Victory 0, Boca Juniors 1, Etihad Stadium
July 6: Melbourne Victory 2, Bentleigh Greens 1, Olympic Park

Perth Glory
July 28: WA State Team 1, Perth Glory 3 – Litis Stadium
July 23: Adelaide United 1, Perth Glory 3 – Hindmarsh Stadium
July 18: Armadale SC 1, Perth Glory 2 – Alfred Skeet Reserve
July 15: Rockingham City 0, Perth Glory 8 – Lark Hill Sportsplex
June 19: Perth Glory 3, Gold Coast United 1 – Boomerang Oval, Newman

Decisions for Ernie
Not many decisions to make in this match, with Merrick set to stick with the same starting XI which drew 3-3 against Sydney last week. Robbie Kruse trained the house down on Friday but won’t be risked while Archie Thompson and Matthew Kemp remain on the long-term injury list. Matthew Foschini and Diogo Ferriera come into an extended squad.

Behind Enemy Lines
Perth are sweating on international clearances for Josh Mitchell and Michael Baird, with FIFA’s decision likely to come overnight on Friday. Like Melbourne, Perth look like they won’t need to make any major changes. Andy Todd, Victor Sikora and Tommy Amphlett remain sidelined, while Chris Coyne is still on loan.

Our Hero
Carlos Hernandez – With the strike force down on numbers, Hernandez’s influence on this game will be all important for Melbourne. The Costa Rican saves his best for the big occasions and with Victory playing their first game at AAMI Park it wouldn’t surprise to see him turn on a clinic and cause a few headaches for Glory.

The Danger man
Robbie Fowler – Glory’s big name off-season recruit needs no introduction. He looked good in his Perth debut last week and there is no doubt he has a greater quality of support players compared to what he had at North Queensland. He will look to slip between the role of striker and playmaker and Melbourne’s defence will need to starve him of time and space.

Why we will win
As already mentioned, Melbourne have an unbeaten record at home against Glory in the Hyundai A-League. The trip from Perth is a tough one and their ability to be at their freshest for this match must be under some question.

Melbourne boast plenty of depth, as indicated last week by the performance of Mate Dugandzic, and while there are a couple of key players absent for this match, you can see Victory taking control of the match and putting Glory’s defence, one of their weaker points, under pressure.

From there it’s a matter of taking chances, and with a perfect new playing surface to play in there should be no excuses. However, should Perth score and early one, then this could turn into another goalfest.

Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3.Mate DUGANDZIC, 5. Surat SUKHA, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Grant BREBNER, 11.Marvin ANGULO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Matthew FOSCHINI, 19.Evan BERGER, 20.Sebastian MATTEI (gk), 22.Nick WARD, 23.Adrian LEIJER.
*two to be omitted*

In: 17.Matthew FOSCHINI (promoted), 13.Diogo FERREIRA (promoted)
Out: Robbie KRUSE – hamstring
Unavailable: Archie THOMPSON (knee – indefinite), Matthew KEMP (knee – indefinite), Robbie KRUSE (hamstring).

Perth Glory squad: 1. Tando VELAPHI, 2. Josh MITCHELL, 3. Jamie COYNE, 5. Jamie HARNWELL, 7. Jacob BURNS (c), 9.Robbie FOWLER, 10. Michael BAIRD, 11. Branko JELIC, 12. Scott NEVILLE, 14. Steven McGARRY, 16. Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17. Todd HOWARTH, 19. Naum SEKULOVSKI, 20. Aleks VRTESKI, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI, 22. Anthony SKORICH, 23. ANDRIJA JUKIC.
*two to be omitted*
**MITCHELL and BAIRD subject to international clearance

In: 2. Josh MITCHELL (awaiting clearance), 10. Michael BAIRD (awaiting clearance)
Out: Nil
Unavailable: Andy TOOD (knee- 2 weeks), Victor SIKORA (hip – 2 weeks), Tommy AMPHLETT (groin – 2 weeks), Chris COYNE (on loan – 8 weeks)