Sports Mole previews Thursday’s Australian A-League clash between Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Melbourne Victory host Sydney FC on Thursday in a battle at the bottom of the A-League table as both teams look to bounce back from defeats in their previous matches.
A devastating 3-1 loss at the hands of Perth Glory kept Melbourne Victory rooted at the bottom of the table, while Sydney FC suffered a 1-0 loss against Western United FC, which saw their opponents rise above them in the table.
A run of five games without a win leaves Melbourne Victory in a precarious position in the league currently, as they sit three points below Newcastle Jets with a game in hand.
A lack of potency in attacking areas has left Melbourne Victory at rock bottom of the table, with Anthony Popovic‘s men having the second-worst goal record in the division alongside Newcastle Jets, having scored only 11.
From a side that finished second in the division last campaign, Melbourne Victory have already lost four more games than they had last year, conveying serious issues among the playing squad.
However, with the playoff qualification spots being within a six-point distance, a win against Sydney FC could be the catalyst to kick off from a poor start to the season.
Meanwhile, Sydney FC are struggling in the A-League themselves, after a disappointing defeat at the North Hobart Oval against Western United in their last outing.
Despite only winning once in their last six fixtures, Sydney FC are still within three points of the playoff qualification spots and will need to avoid defeat against a side that could damage those aspirations.
Unlike Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC have not struggled in the scoring department this season, but instead have had issues in defense, as a total of 22 goals conceded leaves them with the second-worst defensive record in the division.
Jack Rodwell will be a defensive miss for the visitors in this affair, as the Englishman has put in two impressive performances in the heart of Sydney FC’s defense and could prove a costly loss in a game of such significance.
Melbourne Victory Australian A-League form:
Sydney FC Australian A-League form:
Melbourne Victory are expected to make one change to the side that was defeated by Perth Glory in their last match.
Christopher Ikonomidis will not be available due to receiving a red card in his last game, with youngster Nishan Velupillay expected to replace him off the right-hand side.
Portuguese winger Nani is not expected to be available for selection due to injury.
Sydney FC are expected to remain with the same XI that started against Western United.
Alex Wilkinson is set to keep his place in the Sydney FC backline with Jack Rodwell being unable for selection due to injury.
Adam Le Fondre is expected to lead the line for Sydney FC on Thursday.
Melbourne Victory possible starting lineup:
Acton; Geria, Bozinovski, Spiranovic, Smith; Brillante, Broxham; Velupillay, Brimmer, Folami; Fornaroli
Sydney FC possible starting lineup:
Redmayne; Grant, Donachie, Wilkinson, Caballo; Caceres, Brattan, Burgess; Lolley, Le Fondre, Mak
We say: Melbourne Victory 1-2 Sydney FC
We believe that Melbourne Victory’s woes this season will be further compounded by Sydney, as they will edge a tight contest between the two sides.
While Melbourne Victory have the better recent record in the head to heads between the two, Sydney are the more threatening side and we think that they will execute their chances more ruthlessly than their opponents to pick up a vital three points.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.