The first match of round 26 sees Perth Glory take on Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park. Last time the two teams met, it was a tense encounter with a Scott Jamieson own goal giving Melbourne the upper hand at full time. Victory’s fate is pretty much sealed and will finish the season in the top four. Perth Glory however, are still scrapping it out to slink into the finals series. A win for Perth will put them above Newcastle and into the top six.
Alistair Edwards’ men will be looking to bounce back after their shock loss to the bottom placed Phoenix. With a lack of fire power up front, it is bound to be a tall order. Perhaps with today’s announcement of Edwards’ three year deal, the Glory boys will be out to impress the man in charge.
A huge concern for both teams, this week, is the absence of key players due to international duties. Victory will be missing three of their most influential men; Archie Thompson, Marco Rojas and Mark Milligan, the trio scoring 29 of Victory’s 43 goals this season.
Perth will be a little light in attack and defence without the services of superstar striker Shane Smeltz and defensive rock Michael Thwaite. Another prominent absentee from the Perth squad is no nonsense captain Jacob Burns, who will be sitting this one out due to suspension.
This leaves both Ange Postecoglou and Edwards looking to their youth teams for inspiration. Both coaches are big believers in their young stars with Edwards setting a club record by signing a then 15 year old, Daniel Da Silva. Likewise, Postecoglou’s faith in unknown striker Andrew Nabbout this season seems to have paid dividends. Having scored 4 goals this season, most notably his last minute match winner against Sydney, Nabbout is most definitely one of Ange’s protégés on the rise.
Both coaches will be hoping that their promoted youngsters are up for what is set to be a thrilling matchup. Will Victory find some form heading into the finals series and take full advantage of the home game? Or will last season’s grand finalists seize victory?
Prediction: Glory have more on the line than Victory so for this reason I’ll say 1-0 to Perth.Google+