After a two match road trip the Phoenix return to Wellington where they play host to Melbourne City. For the newly rebranded Melbourne team it will be the first time they have made the trip to New Zealand under their new name and colours.
Despite losing their last two matches on the road to Perth and Adelaide the Nix still remain fifth on the A-League ladder with three wins and four losses. They sit six points off fourth but just three above sixth placed Melbourne City. A win this weekend would obviously help to keep a gap between them and the lower half of the table. Ernie Merrick was quick to admit that last week in Perth was not the team’s best performance. They looked a bit flat across the park and lacked creativity up front with the ball. He’ll be looking for a much improved showing at home this week, where the Nix have won their last two matches played at Westpac Stadium.
Melbourne City entered the new season with a lot of hype and expectation surrounding their take over from English Premier League side Manchester City. It would be fair to say they have in no way lived up to that expectation so far having only won match through seven rounds. The David Villa experiment was a flop with the Spanish superstar only playing four matches for them and despite losing the Heart title, the team can’t seem to shake the below par performances that had come to be expected in previous seasons. After going down 2-1 to Sydney last week, this match shapes up as a big opportunity for Melbourne City to get back on track before the top teams start to drift further away.
Head to head:
Played 12. Wellington 5, Melbourne 3, Draws 4.
Last meeting: 16 March, 2014 (AAMI Park). Melbourne City 2-2 Wellington Phoenix.
Wellington Phoenix (Probable):
Moss; Muscat, Sigmund, Durante, Doyle; Riera, Bonevacia, Lia; Burns, McGlinchey, Krishna.
Melbourne City (Probable):
Redmayne; Hoffman, Wielaert, Kisnorbo, Ramsay; Miller, Paartalu, Mooy; Dugandzic, Williams, Duff.
Wellington Phoenix: Louis Fenton (collar-bone – 6-7 weeks)
Melbourne City: Massimo Murdocca (groin – 1 week), Robert Koren (1-2 weeks), Jonatan Germano (hamstring 3-4 weeks)
The Phoenix striker was absent from last weekends match against Perth due to the birth of his second child and also missed the match before that against Adelaide due to international duty. Prior to those absences the former Mariner had been in sensational form for the Nix, scoring a goal in each of the first three games and forming a strong front partnership with Nathan Burns. No doubt McGlinchey will be keen to get back out onto the park and back in front of opposition goals.
Wellington 2-0 Melbourne City
Although Wellington have lost their previous two matches they are now returning home, where apart from a round one slip up against Perth they are unbeaten this season. Melbourne City have been far from impressive this season with only one win to show for their efforts thus far. It’s hard to see them travelling to NZ and coming away with anything other than a loss.
Last season matches between the two sides were evenly split with each team picking up a win, a draw and a loss from the three encounters.Google+