The battle for bragging rights in Victoria's capital is set to grab the spotlight in round 11 of the A-League, when John van 't Schip's Melbourne City FC look to halt the momentum of Kevin Muscat's free-scoring Melbourne Victory side.
Saturday, 20 December 2014
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 7:30 PM (Local) (7:30 PM AEDT) 9:30 PM NZT
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 3.Robbie WIELAERT.4.Connor CHAPMAN, 5.Erik PAARTALU, 6.Aaron MOOY, 7.Iain RAMSAY, 8.Massimo MURDOCCA, 10.Robert KOREN, 14.James BROWN, 15.David WILLIAMS, 17.Jason HOFFMAN, 18.Paulo RETRE, 19.Benjamin GARUCCIO, 20.Tando VELAPHI (GK), 21.Stefan MAUK, 23.Mate DUGANDZIC, 24.Patrick KISNORBO (c), 25.Jacob MELLING, 27.Ross ARCHIBALD
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 21.Stefan MAUK (promoted), 10.Robert KOREN (return from injury), 27.Ross ARCHIBALD (promoted)
Outs: 11.Damien DUFF (calf – 2-5 weeks)
Unavailable: 13.Jonatan GERMANO (hamstring – 1-2 weeks), 29.Liam MILLER (calf – 1 week)
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Nathan COE (GK), 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Nick ANSELL, 6.Leigh BROXHAM (c), 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.Connor PAIN, 13.Andrew NABBOUT, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 18.Dylan MURNANE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21.Carl VALERI, 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 23.Adrian LEIJER, 24.Scott GALLOWAY
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 7.Gui FINKLER (returns from injury), 13.Andrew NABBOUT (promoted), 24.Scott GALLOWAY (returns from injury)
Outs: 5.Mark MILLIGAN (suspended – 3 matches)
Unavailable: 15.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI (ankle – 1-2 weeks), 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE (foot – tbc)
TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 9.45pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 774 ABC Melbourne, Local Radio VIC, 936 ABC Hobart & Northern Tasmania, Grandstand Digital, Grandstand Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Having come from behind to smash their local rivals 5-2 in the first Melbourne derby of the season back in Round 3, Victory, second on the table behind Perth Glory, will go into this one as deserved favourites.
Muscat's men were less convincing than usual in drawing 3-3 at home to Sydney FC last time out, the Sky Blues arguably making more of the running and profiting from the hosts' questionable defending at times at Etihad Stadium.
The Big V will be without captain Mark Milligan for this one after the midfielder was banned for three games by the Match Review Panel for elbowing the Sky Blues' Terry Antonis.
In his absence Leigh Broxham is likely to move to central midfield alongside Carl Valeri. Matthieu Delpierre remains sidelined with a foot injury, meaning Nick Ansell will come into central defence next to Adrian Leijer.
Daniel Georgievski is out, so fit-again Scott Galloway could well replace youngster Dylan Murnane at left-back.
City haven't played since beating Roar 1-0 at home on December 7. Will that extended break on the back of a win help or hinder Van 't Schip's side in this huge clash?
Attacking midfielder Robert Koren, the club's international marquee player, looks set to make his debut in the derby.
Josh Kennedy has also arrived and begun training with his new team-mates, but will not play until after the Asian Cup as he seeks to return to full fitness.
OPTA DATA STATS
- Victory are the league's top scorers this season (24), and have scored exactly three goals in each of their last three outings.
- Victory are the only unbeaten side left in the division this season and their run of 10 matches without defeat is their best ever unbeaten streak.
- City have won only one of their last six meetings with Victory, losing four (D1).
ROUTE TO GOAL
Victory, who had to rely on a hat-trick from Archie Thompson to earn a point in a somewhat disjointed performance against Sydney, will welcome back fit-again playmaker Guilherme Finkler, who has missed the last two matches.
One of Kosta Barbarouses, Fahid Ben Khalfallah or Thompson is likely to make way for the Brazilian to resume his No.10 role.
City have struggled somewhat for goals this season - only four teams have scored fewer than the 13 strikes netted by Van 't Schip's side. Damien Duff leads the competition for assists with four, but is yet to score himself, while Erik Paartalu, David Williams and Mate Dugandzic, all with two goals apiece, are the only City players to net more than once.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
How will Victory cope without skipper and first-choice midfielder Milligan over the coming weeks? Likely to be called up by Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou for the Asian Cup, a combination of the domestic ban and international duty means the club's domestic marquee player is unlikely to return to Hyundai A-League action until February.
The onus will be on Valeri and Broxham to compensate for Milligan's absence, with Rashid Mahazi likely to spend some time in central midfield during the coming weeks.
Prior to drawing with Sydney, Victory defeated the Central Coast Mariners 3-0 away and saw off Adelaide United 3-2 at home.
City's 1-0 win over the Roar came as a considerable relief after they were thrashed 5-1 at Wellington Phoenix and lost 2-1 at home to Sydney.
DID YOU KNOW?
Archie Thompson has been involved in nine goals for Victory this season (six goals, three assists). Only Wellington Phoenix's Nathan Burns has been involved in more (10).
Melbourne City FC 1-3 Melbourne Victory
The old football adage is that the form book goes out the window in derbies. And while it's certainly true that anything can happen in the scrap for local pride, all empirical evidence points to a Victory win. Muscat's side is tighter at the back, sharper at the front and still unbeaten in the league this season.
City meanwhile have been leaky in defence and struggled to create in attack, while that week off - a consequence of Western Sydney Wanderers FC playing at the FIFA Club World Cup - might have robbed them of some momentum following a much-needed win.comments