A rescheduled Round 19 A-League match sees Melbourne Victory play host to second placed Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park.
Western Sydney Wanderers have the opportunity to close Brisbane Roar’s lead at the top of the A-League table to just one point should they prevail on Tuesday night against fourth placed Melbourne Victory.
The Wanderers will head into the match on a high after prevailing 1-0 in a closely fought match against cross-city rivals, Sydney FC, courtesy of a late 85th minute goal from super-sub Brendon Santalab.
The same cannot be said for Kevin Muscat’s troops, who have only picked eight points in their last five matches and are coming off a 1-1 against the Newcastle Jets at the Hunter Stadium.
The Victory will be trying to avoid a defeat in order to keep their hopes of a top two finish alive. They will be boosted by Leijer’s return from suspension and it is almost a certainty that the defender will reclaim his starting position in the team.
However, if this season’s statistics are anything to go by, the odds are undoubtedly against the Melbournians. In five matches this season against the top-four, Victory have only managed the one win. And unless their record against the league’s top teams changes, it would be foolish to consider them as title contenders. So while their attack is rather formidable, their defence needs some shoring up, having been unable to keep a clean sheet in their last four matches
On the other hand, a win for the Wanderers would them extend their lead over the Mariners to eight points. However, despite their defensive stability, the attack is still in need on improvement. Their inability to cash in on clear-cut chances nearly led to their demise, and their ability to convert in front of goal will undoubtedly be a telling tale.
Both teams will be forced to field a depleted squad following news that Jerome Polenz, La Rocca and Poljak are set due to injury for the Wanderers, whilst Victory will be missing captain Mark Milligan yet again, with the club confirming that the 28-year-old will undergo a minor arthroscopic surgery to deal with his troublesome knee. Mitch Nicholls, who was hurt during their previous match, faces the likelihood of not featuring in the match.
Played: 5, Wins: Victory 1, Wanderers 3, Draws: 1
Victory 1-1 Wanderers, December 28 2013
Past five matches:
Victory: D L D W W
Wanderers: W L D W W
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