Melbourne Victory will continue their push towards a top two spot in the A-league when they play host to Adelaide on Saturday night.
While a guaranteed week off looks certain as they head into Round 21 with a nine-point lead over Melbourne City, Victory still has a faint chance of catching Sydney for the Premiers Plate. Going into this round they were eight points adrift of the leaders.
The Victory appear to be back on solid footing after an authoritative 3-0 win over the Central Coast while Adelaide recorded just their third win of the season when beating Newcastle last week.
Melbourne has kept consecutive clean sheets going into this game and they are aiming to keep their opponents scoreless in three straight for the first time since mid-2015.
In fact, since breaking a three-game losing streak they have conceded just one goal in their past three games and that was against Melbourne City.
Victory have the second-best defence in the competition and concede an average of 2.4 goals per game with only Sydney FC having a better strike rate.
Adelaide enjoyed a brief moment of respite from what has been a wretched season when they secured an upset 1-0 win over Newcastle thanks to a Marcelo Carrusca penalty.
It’s too little too late for the champions who have secured just 14 points for the season.
Gone is the flashy football from last season with just 16 goals scored from 20 games.
Melbourne has won the past two match ups with Adelaide with both of those coming this season.
On each occasion the Victory has scored two goals so BET365’s $3.20 for them to repeat the dose looks juicy.
Their current two-game winning streak is actually the largest they have enjoyed over the Reds since notching 10 straight over them between 2008 and 2010.
Melbourne Victory look one of the better bets of the weekend.
Their attack, which sits at a league-best 2.1 goals per game, should be too much for Adelaide who have leaked goals all season.
Making Adelaide’s task even harder is that they will back up just a few days after their Asian Champions League commitments from Wednesday evening. That will stretch Gui Amor’s already thin squad even thinner!
When it’s all said and done the Victory have too much to play for while Adelaide only have pride on the line as they look to peg back the five-point lead the Mariners have over them in second-last spot.
Pride and motivation can only take you so far though and the three points should be headed the way of Muscat’s outfit by a healthy two to three goal margin.
THE TIP: MELBOURNE VICTORY
MELBOURNE VICTORY TOTAL GOALS: OVER 2.5
1st GOALSCORER: BESART BERISHA – the Albanian needs just three goals to become the first A-league player in history to notch 100 goals in the competition