Preview: Victory v Phoenix

It’s been a rollercoaster week for both clubs but who’ll take the pre-Melbourne Cup points when Ernie Merrick and Kevin Muscat’s sides meet on Monday night at Etihad to complete Round 4?

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MATCH DETAILS

Monday, 2 November 2015

Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix

Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

Kick-Off:  7:30 PM (Local) (7:30 PM (AEDT))

Referee : Shaun Evans

Assistant Referee 1 : Luke Brennan

Assistant Referee 2 : Wilson Brown

Fourth Official : Jonathan Barreiro

TV Broadcast:  Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505from 7.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 774 ABC Melbourne, ABC Local Radio Vic, Grandstand Digital & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. SEN (Melbourne)

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MVCvWEL

To purchase tickets visit  www.aleague.com.au/tickets

Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory squad:  1.Danny VUKOVIC, (GK), 2.Jason GERIA, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 11.Connor PAIN, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE, 18.Dylan MURNANE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21.Carl VALERI (C), 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 24.Thomas DENG

***Two to be omitted***

Ins:  2.Jason GERIA (promoted), 3.Scott GALLOWAY (promoted)

Outs:  Nil

Unavailable:  4.Nick ANSELL (injured), 10.Arche THOMPSON (injured)

Wellington Phoenix squad : 1.Glen MOSS (GK), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Justin GULLEY, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Troy DANASKOS, 7.Jeffrey SARPONG, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 10.Michael MCGLINCHEY, 12.Blake Powell, 13.Albert RIERA, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Vince LIA, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 21, Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON.

***two to be omitted***

Ins:  5.Troy DANASKOS (promoted), 22.Andrew DURANTE (returns from injury), 23.Matthew RIDENTON (promoted).

Outs:  11.Kwabena APPIAH (omitted).

Unavailable: Nil.

Wellington Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante has been a long-time supporter of facial hair.

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

For Victory their Hyundai A-League campaign took a tumble on the pristine surface at Hunter Stadium last week.

The Jets found a way to blunt Victory’s expansive game and jag a late winner.

Since then, Victory have got back on track with a fairly comfortable - at least on the scoreboard - Westfield FFA Cup semi final victory over Hume midweek. Now in their third game in 10 days,

Victory face Phoenix, who will look to wreak similar havoc as Newcastle.

And motivation for Phoenix won’t be a problem whatsoever after the club's future has come into sharp focus this week.

Phoenix, however, aren’t the sort of side that seeks to frustrate. They aim to destroy teams with attacking options while hoping their defensive unit can keep things tight at the back (returning skipper Andrew Durante will be key in this respect).

Kevin Muscat versus his mentor Ernie Merrick. This could be quite an entertaining night at Etihad in a big week for Victory who have an FFA Cup final five days later.

OPTA DATA

•      Melbourne Victory have won 10 of their last 12 encounters against the Phoenix (L2), only once failing to score more than two goals or more in a match.

•      Wellington Phoenix are unbeaten in their last five A-League away matches (W4 D1) – their best ever run in the league.

•      No player has had more shots (inc. blocks) without scoring so far in the league than Victory’s Guilherme Finkler (10). However, Finkler has scored in three of his last four appearances against Phoenix.

•      Wellington are having their joint best start to a season (W2 L1) with an identical start to their previous campaign.

•      Mattieu Delpierre has the best passing accuracy (90.5%) of any player to have played at least 90 minutes in the league.

ROUTE TO GOAL

For Victory, it's the quartet of Berisha, Finkler, Barbarouses and Ben Khalfallah with Connor Pain the speedy option off the bench. They'll look - as they always do - to play the game in the opponents' half, press high and hope they'll profit from turnovers in dangerous areas. That's the basic tenant of the Victory game plan.

Phoenix have attacking weapons at their disposal such as Michael McGlinchey, Jeffrey Sarpong, Roly Bonevacia and Roy Krishna. There's enough pace and finishing quality for Phoenix to hurt anyone, particularly on the transition with Riera key in that respect as Victory pour forward.

Melbourne Victory

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Victory. Into the FFA Cup final after seeing off a feisty Hume City.

REPORT: Victory into FFA Cup final as brave Hume exit

FORM LINES

Melbourne Victory: DWL
Wellington Phoenix: LWW

PREDICTION

Melbourne Victory 2-2 Wellington Phoenix