If Sydney win against Melbourne Victory this Saturday they will equal their longest ever winning streak; three games. It’s an unfortunate statistic that the Harbour City team must improve upon if they wish to make the finals series.

Vitezslav Lavicka continues his line that while it continues to remain mathematically possible for Sydney FC to make the final top six, that will be his goal. The last time these two teams met Victory came out ahead, three nil down in Melbourne.

But it is the first game of the season, a Grand Final rematch between the two, that will bear the most similarities to this week’s match. Although that outing ended in a draw, Sydney squandered a 2-0 advantage and were down 3-2 until the final moments. Shannon Cole gallantly rescued his team with a signature free-kick but the message has since become clear; Sydney FC would not remain the season-winning side of the year previous.

This Saturday the Sydney Football Stadium crowd will have that same feeling of hope – perhaps even expecting a win. As it turned out to be in Round One it is a season defining moment, for both teams.

Melbourne will be missing suspended skipper Kevin Muscat, who this week has received some scathing criticism of his on-field ‘tactics’. Also out are Archie Thompson (hamstring) and Robbie Kruse (Socceroos), both obviously influential absences.

Ernie Merrick’s side will also be desperate for the points, vying for one of the same top six positions. Currently placed 5th, Victory are under pressure from a rallying Newcastle Jets and must consolidate. A string of wins in December unfortunately has not translated into the New Year.

The Melbourne side is coming off the back of a crashing 4-1 defeat to rivals Adelaide United as well as a 2-0 loss to the Wellington Phoenix.

Key for Sydney FC will be the form of Nick Carle. In Round One he ran rings around the Victory in the first half, despite carrying an injury into the season. Now that he is 100% fit the Sky Blue will be hoping for a 90 minute performance. Dimitri Petratos has more than earned his place in the starting line-up, proving his worth with a spectacular goal last week. A decent effort from him and Sydney will be firing.

You can watch the A-League live for only $25 a month. Click here to read our review of Kayo Sports and to start your 14-day free trial.

For Melbourne, Hernandez will have to rally the remaining troops. Adrian Leijer was doubtful, but it is confirmed he will be available to play a part. If he starts he will likely be handed the captaincy, as was the case against Phoenix. Interestingly the Victory have not won in Sydney since October 2006, a voodoo which could prove hard to break this time around.

Betfair offers some interesting odds, favoring Sydney at $1.71. Melbourne are $2.50, with book-keepers obviously looking to their form in the last 2 appearances combined with unavailable players. Sign up with Betfair to receive better odds.

Predict the outcome of this match for your chance to win two tickets to Sydney FC’s next home game, against Wellington Phoenix.

SHARE
mm
Editor of The Football Sack for three years, Matthew now spends his time sipping Merlot whilst watching the latest installment of Thursday FC.