This is a battle between traditional rivals who both appear to be showing signs of shaking off some early season rust. Melbourne Victory’s shocking start to the season has been well documented, but two wins from its last three outings – notwithstanding the 4-1 loss to Newcastle in between – is a vast improvement. Especially impressive about that recent run is that both of those wins came on the road. Back at home against Adelaide, Victory will be favoured to get all three points, even though Kevin Muscat’s men are coming off the back of a trip to Wellington and a five-day break. Adelaide, though, will be no pushover. The Reds gave Sydney a big run for its money last week, while previous to that league wins over Western Sydney and Central Coast were impressive.
3 KEY POINTS
- MELBOURNE VICTORY has not won at home this season, losing two and drawing two of its four Etihad Stadium games.
- Both MELBOURNE VICTORY and ADELAIDE will regain key players from suspension this week, with Mark Milligan and Ben Garuccio both returning.
- ADELAIDE has won just once at Etihad Stadium in the history of the A-League.
- This is the second meeting between these sides this season. Spoils were shared in a 2-2 draw at Adelaide Oval in Round 3, with Vince Lia the hero for Adelaide scoring two long-range goals.
- Victory won all three games played between these sides last season.
- Etihad Stadium has been the unhappiest of hunting grounds for Adelaide. The Reds have played there 15 times and won just once, losing 12 times – including two Grand Finals.
- Even though Victory didn’t deal well with a short turnaround a couple of weeks ago, smashed by Newcastle off a four-day break, it should be able to negotiate a five-day gap given they are returning home this time. The manner of its win against Wellington – a stirring second half comeback – should also give the team confidence.
VICTORY / VICTORY
- When on song Victory pounces early and doesn’t let go. Expect a power-packed opening from the hosts.
- Would be value, but the 2014-15 championship skipper has a point to prove – and some brownie points to earn back – after being suspended last week. Has gone close to scoring a couple of times this year with bursting runs from midfield.
TOTAL GOALS OVER OR UNDER
- Last week was the first time in 15 matches Victory had scored more than two goals in a game, while Adelaide’s struggles at Etihad mean this could be a 2-0 type result.