A-League: Wellington Phoenix vs Melbourne Victory- All you need to know about this match
Both Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory are struggling badly at the start of the new A-League season coming into the weekend’s clash in the ninth round of the competition.
The hosts sit rock-bottom with just five points from the opening seven games. The New Zealand’s outfit has the worst defensive record in the league at the moment as they’ve leaked in as many as 17 goals in seven outings so far.
Darije Kalazic’s men have allowed two or more goals in each of last four matches and they’ll head into this on the back of a demolishing 1-4 loss to Perth Glory at home two weeks ago.
Such poor run of form for the hosts will be the music to the ears of Besart Berisha who is Melbourne’s talisman.
The striker from Kosovo notched three goals in last four games for the visitors and he will surely have plenty of space to keep this form going against the weakest defensive line in the competition.
The Big V opened the campaign in a poor fashion, but they managed to stay unbeaten in five straight outings before falling to the second-placed Newcastle Jets on the road last time out.
Wellington Phoenix vs Melbourne Victory
Date: 3rd December 2017
Kick off at 03:30 UK / 04:30 CET/ 9.00 IST
Venue: Westpac Stadium (Wellington).
Wellington Phoenix vs Melbourne Victory: Head to head
Victory have been much more successful over the course of history, but it’s Wellington Phoenix who’ve claimed the domestic double over the Melbourne side in the last term.
New Zealand’s side did it in some style actually, winning both of their last two meetings with Victory by three goals margin.
Wellington’s extended squad features Alex Rufer and Tom Doyle as the only additions from last week’s squad, but they could be the two that will be omitted come Sunday afternoon.
The Phoenix are still without Dylan Fox who is still out with a hamstring injury, but he could be back in the fold in a week’s time.
Victory have let themselves down on a number of occasions this campaign, with disciplinary issues resulting in a number of key players missing key games due to suspension; and true to form, Mark Milligan misses the clash against the Phoenix due to suspension.
In come Kenny Athiu, Josh Hope and Pierce Waring for the Victory, with two players set to be omitted from the matchday squad.
Goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas and central defender Rhys Williams are both in the squad after seemingly shaking off the injuries they sustained in training (Thomas) and against Newcastle Jets (Williams).
Wellington Phoenix Expected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Italiano (GK); Mullen, Durante, Rossi, Abbas; Paracki, Ridenton; Krishna, Finkler, Vidosic; Kaluderovic.
Melbourne Victory Expected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Thomas (GK); Geria, Deng, Williams, Broxham; Sanchez, Valeri; Barbarouses, Troisi, George; Berisha.
Victory have not been too bad in recent weeks and have shown bright glimpses of form, but their inconsistency and indiscipline has cost them dearly.
If they are able to keep their wits about them and play anywhere near the level they have shown they can play at in recent seasons, they should be too strong for the Phoenix in this this one.
Wellington Phoenix 1 Melbourne Victory 2