The eighth edition of the Melbourne Derby takes place is Saturday with both teams desperate for a win. Heart want a much needed win to restart their campaign for finals football, with Victory desperate to take three points against their neighbors. Victory’s last win against Heart came way back on December 11, 2010. Two years, two derby defeats and three draws have passed in that time; something Victory is desperate to change.
Victory will be disappointed they didn’t finish off Brisbane last weekend and get the win. Melbourne dominated much of the game and was only denied the win by some heroic saves from Roar custodian Michael Theo. Melbourne can ill-afforded not to take all its chances in front of goal this Saturday evening, with the Victory strike force eager to keep out of form Heart stopper Clint Bolton just that after his display against Central Coast last weekend.
The form of Mark Milligan has been somewhat of a surprise to the Victory faithful. Milligan has easily been Melbourne’s best player this season behind Marco Rojas. It was evident against the Roar that Melbourne greatly missed Milligan during the weeks he was absent while on international duties. Victory’s defense looked a lot sharper with Milligan last week compared to previous weeks as Melbourne managed to shut down a lot of Brisbane’s attacking plays. It’s going forward that Melbourne benefit greatly from when Milligan is in the team, not only with his passing game but also his ability to charge up the ground and find the back of the net, something that was on show last Saturday. For Victory to get the win over their rivals on Saturday, expect the number five in blue to play a big part.
A concern for Victory is knowing which Heart will turn up on Saturday. Heart has been very up and down during the course of the season with their form changing week to week. It wasn’t that long ago when they dismantled the Roar at AAMI Park in a manner Victory would be envious of. Their recent form hasn’t quite reached those heights again, coming off a poor 90 minutes last weekend against the Mariners. Victory however knows all too well that on their day Heart can beat anyone. Heart outplayed Victory in round one and could have easily won by more than the 2-1 margin.
Heart seem to relish the ‘little brother underdog’ tag that is bestowed upon them. Victory must counter attack this and show them who the big dog of the town is. For a whole two years to pass without a derby win is almost unspeakable for Victory. Captain Adrian Leijer was quoted in the press this week that the round one derby loss was like ‘losing a grand final’. For the captain to feel like that after a loss on the opening day of the season shows how much passion and feeling the players have towards this fixture. AAMI Park will be buzzing on Saturday night with a sellout crowd expected; you can also expect the Victory to come out firing from the opening whistle to ensure their derby streak comes to an end.
Prediction- Victory 2-1
Follow Brad Hutchings on twitter @BradHutchings_
|Form Rating||VICTORY||1.40||Cautioned||Flores||4 yellow cards|
|HEART||1.00||Colosimo||4 yellow cards|
Head to Head
Melbourne Victory 1 win Draws 3 Melbourne Heart 3 wins
Earlier this Season – Melbourne Victory 1 lost to Melbourne Heart 2Google+