The Wanderers are coming good at the right time but face a big test against their bogey side.
Tony Popovic’s side will go into the game full of confidence after notching a hat-trick of wins and scoring a comprehensive 3-nil win over the Newcastle Jets in Round 25.
Melbourne on the other hand has suffered back-to-back defeats at the worst possible time. They suffered a shock 3-nil loss at home against the Phoenix last weekend.
GOOD RUN OF FORM
WESTERN SYDNEY has notched three straight wins in the league and if you count the Asian Champions League, you can make it four in a row.
That is easily their best run of form all season and it seems as though Popovic finally has the firing on all cylinders.
Scoring enough goals has been the big issue for WSW this season but that problem seems to have been solved during their three-game run, winning by a cumulative score of 9-2.
Kevin Muscat will not want to see his side drop another game as they head towards the finals.
Easily one of two standout teams this season, along with Sydney FC, the Victory have long known they would finish second on the table so a bit of complacency may have creeped into their game.
That could explain their back-to-back defeats against Brisbane and Wellington although the game against the former saw them lose four of their key goal scorers due to international commitments. Those players were back for the Phoenix game so we aren’t too sure what the excuse was.
Boasting the second-best attack in the competition, Victory have gone quiet in front of goal lately with three of their past four fixtures resulting in no goals.
Melbourne Victory have owned the Wanderers in recent times.
The three-time champions have registered a hat-trick of wins against their opponents and outscoring them 8-nil during the process.
Their two meetings this season resulted in twin 3-nil wins for the Victory with the last one of those at ANZ Stadium. It was a game where Western Sydney had plenty of possession and chances but couldn’t convert and were made to pay by Besart Berisha who registered a hat-trick on the night.
Such has been the dominance of Melbourne in this fixture that they’ve held the Wanderers scoreless in four of the past six clashes.
If the Wanderers are to break their hoodoo against the Victory then this could be the game they do it in.
This could be an early preview of a potential finals clash in just a few weeks time and both coaches will want to take the upperhand into any clash down the track.
The home side get back top goal scorer Brendon Santalab for this game after he was missing due to suspension last week.
He has 14 goals for the season to easily lead the Wanderers in that department but the front pair of Berisha and Marco Rojas for the Victory have 30 between them which emphasizes the danger they will pose here.
Victory have gone cold their past two and they endured a similar run not too long ago in which they lost three straight. When they snapped out of it, they really snapped out of it by rising to the occasion in the Melbourne Derby and beating City 2-1.
They always rise for the big occasion and this game will carry plenty of importance for both sides even though they are guaranteed a spot in the finals.
Simply because of the form they are in though we are leaning the way of the Wanderers ($2.38 @ bet365).
THE MATCH TIP:
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
TOTAL GOALS OVER/UNDER:
OVER 2.5 – the last two games between the sides has seen the Overs salute
BRENDON SANTALAB TO SCORE – has five goals in his past two games