Usually an opening fixture blockbuster but now a third round staple, the Melbourne derby this Saturday has played right into the hands of the FFA’s foresight.
Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City will duke it out to a packed AMMI Park, with local fans desperate to see who has what it takes out of the two Melbourne teams to make themselves season long ladder leaders.
With the derbies’ track record, fans will know that they could be up for a very boring match, or one that keeps them on the edge of their seats.
The latter is mostly likely set to happen, with news of City star recruit David Villa’s impending departure grabbing most of the headlines over the past couple of days.
Heading back to his sister club, New York City, a little bit sooner than anticipated, the derby will be Villa’s second last match in Oz before he heads back to the US for a month.
It’s a tough blow for City, who have yet to collect three points in their first matches of the season. They’re sitting on two 1-1 draws, against Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets.
Comparatively, Melbourne Victory have hit the ground running this season, with a 4-1 win over 2013/14 grand finalists, Western Sydney Wanderers, and a 1-1 draw against one of the league’s current best, Adelaide Untied.
Victory will have focused a lot of their training this week to make sure they create as many opportunities close to the net, something they struggled with against United.
Star striker Besart Berisha was an unhappy chap, watching the midfield get swamped, reducing the effectiveness of Archie Thompson, Kosta Barbarouses and playmaker Guilherme Finkler.
Victory have a packed fixture coming up, so coach Kevin Muscat will have to decide who he will keep for the upcoming FFA Cup match against Perth Glory.
City also have to deal with their international marquee Robert Koren, who has been ruled out until December due to a calf problem.
Also playing on Saturday is Newcastle Jets and Wellington Phoenix, two teams that are quite equally matched. Phoenix has had the better track record this season, but Phoenix isn’t far behind.
Finishing proceedings is Adelaide United and Perth Glory. As the ladder leader Glory has shown this year it’s not one to be overlooked. The only team to have two wins under their belt, one of them being the 2013/14 champions, Glory is the one to beat. Adelaide Untied is fourth on equal points with Victory and Sydney FC and are hoping to take three points from this match to make their standings more impressive.
source: Neos Kosmos