This match gives Melbourne Victory the perfect chance to find some form heading into the finals series.
Kevin Muscat’s side have been going through a bit of a downer at the pointy end of the season and haven’t won a game in a month with two losses a draw heading into this one. Last week they were held to a nil-all draw by the Wanderers in Sydney.
Central Coast, meanwhile, did their chances of avoiding the wooden spoon no harm when taking out the F3 Derby over Newcastle 2-0.
MELBOURNE VICTORY have been the best attacking team of the competition for most of the season but have gone cold at the wrong time of the year.
Even though Sydney has dominated the league standings, Melbourne Victory had kept in touch with them in terms of goals scored and actually had more than the Sky Blues for a good portion of the year.
Their last three games have seen them register duck eggs though which will be of big concern for Muscat.
The Mariners have improved markedly on their efforts last season.
Their defence in 2015-16 conceded 2.59 goals per game and this time around they are leaking 1.96. While that is a big improvement they have also secured 10 more points than they did last season with this game remaining.
Last week was a critical game for them because no one wants to finish with the wooden spoon and to be fair they haven’t played like a team that deserves to finish last, so to come out and beat their local rivals and climb to eighth on the ladder was impressive.
Was that their Grand Final though?
This is all positive news for the Victory.
Melbourne are unbeaten against the Mariners in their past 11 matches with nine of those resulting in wins.
Their two clashes this season has seen the Victory saluted by a combined score of 7-1 which isn’t unusual from a goal total perspective because this fixture tends to produce plenty of goals.
Since April 2015, there has been an average of 3.83 goals scored per game in this fixture so on that basis the Over 3.5 Goals looks awfully tempting.
The only team you can back in this game with confidence is the Melbourne Victory.
Central Coast have proven to be feisty opponents at times but they have rarely been a match for Victory in recent years and this is the type of game that Melbourne will appreciate heading into the finals. Call it an ‘easy kill’ if you like
You just get the feeling that Central Coast played their Grand Final last week and could be a little flat heading into this one, especially given their abject failures against Victory in recent years.
The value in this match will be with goalscorers with the obvious choices for the home side being Besart Berisha and James Troisi while Nick Montgomery did the job for us last week and is worth having a few dollars on for the Mariners.
DRAW / MELBOURNE VICTORY – HALF-FULL DOUBLE