SMASH AND GRABMelbourne Victory are the hottest team in the league at the moment bar none! Five straight wins in which they’ve scored 15 goals suggests it is going to take a very good team to bring them down. The fact this game is being played at home makes them an even more attractive proposition as they are the best home team in the competition this season, winning five and drawing once in seven games with a whopping 21 goals score in the process.
ROAD WOBBLESBrisbane have really struggled on the road this season and that is what makes their task this week all the more difficult. John Aloisi’s side are fifth in the league when comparing stats on the road, boasting just two wins and three draws from seven games. Even more troubling is the fact they are averaging just 0.85 goals per game on away trips compared to 1.7 when playing at Suncorp.
THE HISTORYBrisbane hasn’t lost to the Victory in their last four outings. Their most recent clash was way back in Round 1 at Suncorp Stadium when the Roar equalized in the 96th minute thanks to Luke De Vere. Prior to that the Roar had knocked Melbourne out of the finals race by winning 2-1 at home and four starts back put five on the Victory in keeping them scoreless. Melbourne hasn’t won against Brisbane since thumping them 4-0 at this venue nearly a year ago (Jan 15, 2016) and Brisbane has only won once in their last 12 visits to AAMI Park.
THE VERDICTKevin Muscat’s side are in a rich vein of form at the moment, especially when playing at AAMI Park where they are averaging a league-best three goals per game. Playing them at home definitely gives them the advantage and the fact that Brisbane struggle away from Suncorp Stadium definitely puts them in the drivers seat. The Victory’s attacking threats will definitely put the Roar on notice as the likes of Besart Berisha (11) and Marco Rojas (9) have 20 goals between them while James Troisi has proven to be nuisance value for opponents of late by scoring in his last two games. Brisbane hasn’t been playing bad but their record away from Suncorp Stadium is a concern, especially against a hot home side like the Victory. The Queenslanders were rumbling alone just fine up until a fortnight ago where they stumbled against Sydney FC 2-0 at Allianz Stadium. That snapped a 10-game point streak but rather than bouncing back strongly last week, they dropped a 3-2 decision at home to Newcastle which was their first loss in 13 home games. Punters wouldn’t want to see that sort of form going into a game like this and even though it’s a match of up second versus fourth on the table, there is a clear margin between the sides as highlighted by their plus/minus differential (+18 for Melbourne and +1 for Brisbane).
THE TIP: Melbourne Victory
TOTAL GOALS OVER/UNDER 2.5 Overs
1ST GOALSCORER Besart Berisha