Ange Postecoglou has Victory firing on all cylinders. Image courtesy of Joe Castro/AAP
After leaving two-time premiership winner Brisbane, it took just two defeats at the start of the season for the critics to start lashing out at Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou. Since then, Victory has posted four wins and a draw from six starts, and they could well lay claim to being the A-League’s form side.
Not only is Melbourne a form side, but it also showed plenty of guts and determination in coming away with a win from Parramatta Stadium last weekend. Victory had Sam Gallagher sent off after 15 minutes, but thanks to some grim defending and a couple of defensive errors from Wanderers skipper Michael Beauchamp, Postecoglou’s men continued their march up the table with a 2-0 triumph.
It was Melbourne’s second stunning win in Sydney in the space of two weeks, after its come-from-behind 3-2 victory a fortnight back, which left Sky Blue fans absolutely shellshocked. If nothing else, Victory games have been entertaining this season, and all matches have featured over 2.5 goals .
Perth , on the other hand, has struggled to find the back of the net in recent weeks. After eeking out a 1-1 draw away to Adelaide, Glory lost 1-0 at home to the Wanderers, and a 1-1 draw with Wellington at the weekend left the team with just one point out of a possible six from consecutive games at nib Stadium. Striker Shane Smeltz announced his return from injury with his first goal of the season, and his presence will be needed in the coming weeks with Glory missing Scott Jamieson and Michael Thwaite who will be on Socceroos duty at the East Asian Cup qualifying tournament. Victory will be missing marksman Archie Thompson and the versatile Mark Milligan.
Perth will be without the services of captain Jacob Burns, who, in his first match back from a quadricep injury, picked up his fifth yellow card of the season. He will now serve a mandatory one-match ban. Burns won the Joe Marston Medal for best afield in last year’s grand final against Postecoglou’s Roar outfit, despite Perth going down 2-1 thanks to a Besart Berisha penalty in stoppage time. Glory has drawn once and lost twice in three starts away from home this season.
The last time these teams met in Melbourne it was a 2-2 draw, but Perth blitzed both games in Western Australia last season, winning 4-1 and 4-2 . Glory has won four of the teams’ last six contests.
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