Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
|66'||A. L. Fondre|
The Melbourne Victory are back in the winner’s circle but they need to string wins together starting tonight against A-League title favourites Sydney FC. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match from 7:30pm AEDT.
It has been a difficult season for Melbourne, who are six points adrift of a place inside the top six of the A-League ladder. A 2-1 victory against Adelaide, however, has rekindled some form of hope, but that could all be for nothing if they fail against the benchmark team of the past three seasons.
Sydney FC are reigning champions and continue to set the bar high for the chasing pack. The fact that they lost to the Wanderers last time out doesn’t bode well for a Victory side coming up against a team that rarely loses two matches on the trot in the A-League.
What the defeat does say, however, is that Sydney FC are not unbeatable. If you can match them for 90 minutes and remain focused, teams are every chance of making life difficult for the Sky Blues.
Consistency, though, is the issue many teams face in the A-League. A good win is often followed by a subpar draw or a surprise defeat. The Victory need to get themselves out of that rut and start building for a charge to the A-League finals.
Sydney, by comparison, still hold a massive ten-point lead at the top of the table. This gap is not an exaggeration but a true reflection of how much better they are at being consistent and putting teams away.
It wouldn’t surprise to see Melbourne start brightly and create a few chances here and there during the first half. If Sydney absorbs all that pressure and gets on the scoresheet first, chances are that Melbourne will fade even at home given the Sky Blues’ great track record of not giving up leads from strong positions.
Sydney have won their past two matches at Marvel Stadium. Melbourne can be dangerous at home but this season just hasn’t worked out for them. Sydney, on the other hand, are the safest bet in the A-League and their professionalism should be enough to get them over the line again here.
Sydney to win 2-0.
Time: 7.30pm AEDT
Venue: Marvel Stadium
Coverage: Fox Sports, Kayo Sports
Betting: Victory $2.80, Draw $3.50, Sydney $2.50
1. Matt Acton (gk), 2. Storm Roux, 4. James Donachie, 5. Tim Hoogland, 6. Leigh Broxham 7. Kenny Athiu, 8. Jakob Poulsen, 9. Andrew Nabbout, 11. Ola Toivonen (c), 15. Giancarlo Gallifuoco, 16. Josh Hope, 17. Elvis Kamsoba, 18. Migjen Basha, 19. Ben Carrigan, 20. Lawrence Thomas (gk), 23. Marco Rojas, 24. Anthony Lesiotis, 25. Brandon Lauton, 38. So Nishikawa, 43. Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio **2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 1. Matt Acton (return from injury), 8. Jakob Poulsen (promoted), 32. So Nishikawa (promoted), 33. Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio (promoted)
Outs: 21. Adama Traore (hamstring), 30. Matthew Sutton (gk) (not selected)
Unavailable: 10. Robbie Kruse (hamstring), 26. Jay Barnett (leg)
1. Andrew Redmayne (gk), 2. Patrick Flottmann, 3. Ben Warland, 4. Alex Wilkinson (c), 5. Alex Baumjohann, 6. Ryan McGowan, 8. Paulo Retre, 9. Adam Le Fondre, 10. Milos Ninkovic, 11. Kosta Barbarouses, 12. Trent Buhagiar, 16. Joel King, 17. Anthony Caceres, 20. Thomas Heward-Belle (gk), 21. Harry Van Der Saag, 23. Rhyan Grant, 24. Marco Tilio, 26. Luke Brattan, 27. Jordi Swibel, 28. Calem Nieuwenhof **2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 8. Paulo Retre (return from suspension), 28. Calem Nieuwenhof (promoted)
Unavailable: 7. Michael Zullo (calf), 18. Luke Ivanovic (quad), 19. Chris Zuvela (knee)