Derby weekend. A chance to get one over your workmate, best mate, random bloke on the bus or enemy you have always despised. Brilliant.
Etihad Stadium hosts its first derby between the two A-League sides and the bragging rights are up for grabs.
After three games the scales are even, with a draw and a win apiece between Melbourne’s two clubs.
This match could prove the best yet. Both sides have a plethora of attacking talent, and both have failed to deceive in the opening rounds of the season and will be hungry to prove doubters wrong.
And tempers will undoubtedly still be high after the last round in January.
While Muscat will not be on the pitch to chop Heart players in two, and Aloisi will not be around to save Heart fans from defeat, the tie still presents an attractive stage.
Victory have done their best to dispel optimism around the Kewell signing and have failed to score a goal. They were perhaps unlucky not to score in their 0-0 draw with Sydney FC, but their 1-0 loss against Adelaide left a lot to be desired.
Captain Adrian Leijer will be missing in defence due to suspension, with Petar Franjic the likely replacement.
However it is the attacking third that should be concerning Victory fans, with Mehmet Duraković seemingly experiencing tunnel-vision in his mission to include all his big guns.
The inexperienced manager must ignore the urge to include the names and instead focus on applying meaningful tactics for this match.
Heart have been nothing short of woeful in defence, which was already prophesied in many pundits’ pre-season reports.
It is paramount that Simon Colosimo takes his rightful place alongside Matt Thompson in defence and Clint Bolton’s return between the sticks should give them a much-needed boost.
While Fred’s injury is a huge blow to the ‘away’ side as well as the derby itself, Mate Dugandžić is in fine form and blue history should make up for the Brazilian maestro’s absence.
Who will arise as the king of Melbourne? Which club’s fans will have to cop it all week and probably up until the next derby?
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