Victory were impressive 4-2 winners at Sydney last week and have the chance to go top of the table with a win over the Mariners, at least until the Roar host Melbourne City. Meanwhile the Mariners are languishing down in 8th, the position they finished in last season, having won just one of their opening six fixtures.
After a slow start with only one win in their first three, Victory have won their last two by more than one goal and their home record since the start of last season is an impressive W11-D2-L3. Against sides that finished in the bottom half last season it’s unsurprisingly an even more formidable W7-D0-L1 and they’ve also beaten last season’s 6th placed Melbourne City at home this season. Six of these nine matches saw at least three goals and Victory have led at half-time in four of the eight wins and four were also by more than one goal. They have four players returning from international duty, though some may be rested for this game, and will hope that Berisha continues his excellent form having scored five goals in their five matches this season.
After winning at home to Perth on the opening day of the season, the Mariners haven’t won any of their last five and amazingly they’ve not won a single away game since the start of last season, with a W0-D7-L10 record in these matches. The Mariners lost all six of their trips to top-four finishers last season with three L/L doubles, but did manage to score in five of these six defeats, though four were still by more than one goal. Manager Walmsley has benched regular keeper Reddy after his disapproval at tactics and regular forward Ferreira and defender McGing are also unavailable for this game.
Despite their strong home record in recent times, Victory have kept only one clean sheet in their last seven at home and in only three of those eight wins against bottom-half finishers since the start of last season. Though they’ve lost seven of their last eight on the road the Mariners have scored in all eight of these matches, making Victory to win and both teams to score look like a solid play in this one; an outcome that has occurred in four of the last five meetings between these two sides.