Melbourne Victory vs. Sydney FC
MATCH UP STATS
Melbourne Victory vs. Sydney FC
Season record:Melbourne Victory: 10-2-4Sydney FC: 12-4-0
Last 5 results:Melbourne Victory: L L W W WSydney FC: W D W W W
First goal scorer:Melbourne Victory: Berisha ($6 @ Sportsbet)Sydney FC: Petkovski ($3.60 @ Sportsbet)
Thursday, January 26, 2017, 7.50pm, Etihad Stadium, watch on Fox Sports.
HAS there ever been more anticipation for a regular season Big Blue?
The two biggest teams in the A-League in a bitter battle on Australia Day, Sydney FC looking to extend its lead at the top of the A-League table, with the Melbourne Victory on the hunt to keep touch with their northern rivals in the chase for the Premiers Plate.
But the Melbourne side has a massive problem – the Sky Blues simply do not know how to lose.
They have played 16 games this season and are yet to taste defeat, with 12 wins and four draws.
The Victory were right behind them two weeks ago, with 10 wins, two draws and two losses. But a disastrous week has seen them fall heavily, with a pair of losses widening the gap to eight points, leaving them in danger of losing touch all together.
It is hard to make up points at the best of times in the A-League and this game is a genuine six point one, with huge spoils going to the winner.
The Victory just scraped pat Brisbane Roar 3-2, before being dealt a soccer lesson by the Wellington Phoenix in their rescheduled clash early last week.
And then they suffered a second loss in succession, falling to the Perth Glory, 2-1.
It was, guess who? Yep, that man Besart Berisha who scored for the Victory against the Glory, giving them a 1-0 lead after half time.
But the goal came and the foot fell off the pedal, with Nebojsa Marinkovic and Adam Taggart striking in quick succession to give Glory all of the points.
The Sky Blues had a four game winning streak snapped by cross town rival Western Sydney Wanderers, but they got back to their winning ways by doing what they had to do in a 2-0 victory over Adelaide United.
They didn’t have it all their own way though, with both Alex Brosque and Milos Ninkovic striking within two minutes of each other just before about 15 minutes into the second half.
These two teams have met only once this season and that was in Sydney where a David Carney double off the bench cancelled out and then usurped a first half finish from Mitch Austin.
At that time, every one thought the Victory was a massive chance. We should have known better.
First goal scorer predictions
The A-League’s greatest ever striker is still scoring for fun, even at the ripe old age of … He’s combative, skilled and would love nothing more than to stick it up Sydney FC. If Victory get an early chance, there’s a good possibility the Albanian, who now stands alone as the A-League’s all time leading goal scorer and already has 13 goals on the season, will be on the end of it.
James Troisi ($10 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Depending on who you speak to, the James Troisi experiment at Melbourne Victory has been either a success or failure. Wonderfully skilled and as quick as they come, many have questioned why Troisi has not had a bigger impact. Injuries and poor form have hurt, but, with three goals from his appearances this seaosn, you feel like something bigger is on the horizon.
Alex Brosque ($9 with Sportsbet.com.au)
The captain and talisman has a habit of bobbing up with goals on big occasions. And, outside of finals, there are no bigger occasions than this massive rivalry game. It’s no secret Brosque hates the Victory, but he has a grudging respect for the them and would love nothing more than to put one in the net in The Big Blue.
Milos Ninkovic ($13 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Just might be the best player in the A-League. What a special talent. Ninkovic has taken the A-League by storm and has seven goals this season, with only captain Brosque ahead of him on nine. He’s unassuming and over talented and is a massive handful for the Victory to complain..
Match result: Sydney FC to win ($2.75 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Correct match score: Sydney FC to win 3-1 ($19 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Total match goals: Over 2.5 ($1.63 with Sportsbet.com.au)
It might be on the Victory’s home turf and they will be desperate, but on exposed form, we simply cannot tip Melbourne. Yes the two teams are top two, but the Victory’s poor efforts over the past two games have really taken a lot of sting out of this match up. It just feels like the unconquered Sydney FC will pull out all the stops and get past Melbourne on Australia Day. On paper, the sides are probably matched but, in reality, there really is only one team in this league. Sydney FC to take all the points and all but seal top spot on the ladder. We would love to back the Victory as much as the next guy, but we just can’t bring ourselves to do it. If you’re worried about the straight out bet, look at the draw no bet and remove one of the chances. That result is still better than even money and reduces your risk, while still giving juicy odds.
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