It’s crunch time for Melbourne Victory this evening as they continue their struggle to remain in the finals race, hosting the sixth-placed Newcastle Jets. Join us for live scores and minute-by-minute updates of the action at AAMI Park from 5.30 pm AEDT.
The Jets are one of the form teams at the moment, having won four of their last five matches, and have a slender hold on the last remaining spot in the top six.
The Victory sits in eighth position, five points behind the Jets, meaning only all three points will assist them in staying in touch with the top six.
An away draw is an acceptable result for the Jets, but they are only one point plus goal difference ahead of Sydney so for them it won’t be a simple case of sitting back.
An away win would open up an eight point gap on the Victory, and effectively kill off their season.
The Victory go into the game with a few problems, and I’m not just talking about the defensive frailties and midfield feebleness that has plagued the team all season.
Harry Kewell, Archie Thompson and Mark Milligan all featured in the Socceroos’ game mid-week game against Saudi Arabia, in particular, Kewell will struggle to recover with the quick turnaround and is likely to start on the bench.
That’s unfortunate for the Victory, because Kewell has emerged as the Victory’s best player the past six to eight rounds, not just by reputation but also by his deeds on the pitch.
With the Victory needing the three points, look for them to attack the Jets from the outset, leading to an open game and plenty of goals.
Jets coach Gary van Egmond is an adherent of the modern pressing game; turnovers in dangerous areas and quick counter attacks will allow the likes of Jeremy Brockie to add to his considerable goal tally.
This is likely to be a very entertaining game, and the Victory will push hard for the win, but I see the Jets hanging on for a 2-2 draw.
Is there anything left in the tank for Jim Magilton’s men, or do the Jets kill off a finals contender tonight? It’s the first half of an enthralling A-League double-header tonight and we’ll have detailed commentary from the kick-off at 5.30pm AEDT. Go on, give us your thoughts and predictions in the space below!