Melbourne Victory come into their first derby of the season in good shape, welcoming back Rojas from international duty, although the winger is only likely to make the bench as he is carrying a slight knock. Muscat is unlikely to change his side coming into the match but will be looking for a bit more energy from the front men, with only Austin really impressing last time out. They come into the game following a 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar. It was a good away point but they will be looking to come away from a big game with their city rivals with all three points, with head coach Muscat speaking of his desire to beat the clubs biggest enemies and gain bragging rights early in the campaign. With this being a derby game there will be added intrigue surrounding the game, especially with Melbourne City being title favourites this season and Melbourne Victory will have some added motivation coming into the game as they try and gain an early advantage over their city rivals.
The Melbourne City squad looks a little different this week with Cahill available following international duty. The midfielder should go straight into the team and will look to form a partnership with Fornaroli, who looked to be in good form last week, being their biggest threat. Sørensen is suspended and Bouzanis will step in to replace him. Things have been a bit quieter in the Melbourne City camp, with Van ‘t Schip trying to focus his squad on the game rather than getting any psychological victory over their opponents in the build up. They looked in good shape last time out, dominating the game against Wellington Phoenix before Sørensen was sent off and they’ll look to their attacking players to get them off to a quick start again.
Verdict & Prediction
Melbourne City will be full of confidence heading into the Melbourne derby after a fine attacking performance last weekend against Wellington Phoenix. Despite the 1-0 scoreline, they had plenty of chances and were unlucky to only win by one, and they’ll try and dominate in the final third again. City enter the season as title favourites ahead of their city rivals for the first time and they’ll be looking to grab an early advantage by picking up three points this weekend. Confidence will be high but finding a win might be more tricky against a Victory side also high on confidence.
Prediction : Melbourne City +0.25 AH
Odds : 1.81 Pinnacle