Newcastle, returning from a 4 game road trip, host an inform Victory side this Saturday who are fresh off a 2-0 win against the Phoenix on Monday night. The Victory are in superb form and sit atop the A-League ladder after 4 rounds and are currently undefeated. Newcastle’s start has been worryingly slow and contrary to Victory’s, only managing to pick up a point from four games.
Newcastle haven’t looked too bad so far, but are certainly dealing with a few issues. They have struggled to put together a full 90 minutes of good football yet and key defensive lapses, like last week, when they allowed Maclaren to score twice and take all three points off of them from a winning position.
The Victory still have problems of their own, with Berisha returning this week in some sort of an injury cloud as well as being forced to play a midfielder in the centre of defence with Delpierre and Ansell still missing. Keeping their first clean sheet in over 20 league games is a positive though and something to build on, while goals still seem to be flowing at the other end.
I fully expect the away side to have more than their fair share of the possesion and for the Jets to dig their heels and in try to spring on the counter, which is where they have looked dangerous and scored from against Melbourne City earlier in the campaign.
They key will be in the middle of the park, whoever can assert their dominance in the important parts of the match will have the best chance of being able get the upper hand in the game and keep control of the flow in their side’s favour.
Eyes On… Edson Montano
The striker who signed on loan at the Jets in the winter from Barcelona SC (the team from Ecuador, not Spain) has made a reasonable start to his A-League career, netting a goal in one of his 4 games so far.
The 6 foot tall Ecuadorian international certainly has some pedigree and will need to show it to retain his place as the lone striker in Phil Stubbins’ setup, with Jeronimo Neumann eager to take his place.
Due to Newcastle’s relative weakness currently in midfield, the Jets will most likely opt for a 5 man midfield and Montano can expect to be isolated for most of the game. He will need to show desire to do well in his stint here and must aim to convert any opportunities he receives in the game for the Jets to have a chance at pulling off an upset.
Head To Head:
Played 27 Newcastle Jets: 12 Draw : 6 Melbourne Victory: 9
5/04/14 – Newcastle Jets 2-2 Melbourne Victory.
Newcastle Jets: LLDL Melbourne Victory: WDWW
Newcastle Jets: Billy Celeski (groin – 1-2 weeks), Josh Barresi (knee – season), Jonny Steele (leave of absence).
Melbourne Victory: Jason Geria (ankle – 1 week), Nick Ansell (foot – 2-3 weeks), Matthieu Delpierre (hamstring – 1 week).
Melbourne Victory: Coe; Murnane, Delpierre, Broxham, Galloway; Milligan, Valeri, Finkler; Thompson, Berisha, Barbarouses.
Newcastle Jets: Birighitti; Neville, Regan, Jaliens, Gallagher; Kantarovski, Carney, Pepper; Griffiths, Montana, Flores.
Newcastle 1-3 Melbourne Victory.
- The Jets will play their first home game of the season after being restricted to 4 away fixtures from the start of the season due to their pitch being resurfaced.
- The Victory have only won twice at Hunter Stadium out of 13 visits to the ground, drawing 4 and losing 7. Their last win away against Newcastle came in 2009 where they won by 3 goals to 1.
TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 4HD & FOX SPORTS 4 from 4.30pm (AEDT) and Delayed on Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)
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Written by Luke Hall – Twitter: @hally_101