Melbourne Victory has been brought back to earth with back-to-back losses against Sydney and, last week, up in Newcastle. But while that reality check has served to send Kevin Muscat’s side back to fifth place on the A-League ladder, it might just be a true indication of where the team sits in the pecking order at this stage of the season. So while it is in losing form, there is no reason to doubt that Victory can’t bounce back as it resumes against an opponent that is well below it in terms of class. Victory has played Brisbane twice this campaign, drawing 1-1 at Etihad Stadium in Round 6 and then winning 2-1 at Suncorp Stadium in Round 11. Brisbane had, prior to last week, been on a two-match winning streak in the league, but had its colours lowered by Melbourne City on Sunday night. It now has to back up five days later at a venue that it has had a lot of difficulties winning at in the past. Furthermore, in 20 away games against Victory, Brisbane has won just four times. A win for Victory would go a long way to icing a spot in the finals, given Brisbane sits just outside the top six. The three points will also be crucial to bank considering it starts its Asian Champions League campaign next Tuesday.
Key stat: Brisbane Roar has failed to win on each of its last 11 trips to AAMI Park, drawing just three of those games in the process.
Besart Berisha just loves playing against his former side, as he always seems to bob up and score – just as he did, most crucially, in last year’s semi-final at AAMI Park. The Kosovo international has scored three goals in his last four outings against the Roar. He did not do so at Suncorp Stadium on December 17, which means he is due to score again here because the striker has never gone consecutive games without scoring against his former club.
Key stat: Besart Berisha has scored six goals in 11 matches against Brisbane Roar, with Victory winning seven and losing just two of those games.
Tip: BESART BERISHA
Winner: Melbourne Victory
First Goal Scorer: Besart Berisha (Victory)
Value pick: Over 3.5 Goals (Total Goals Over/Under)