Friday Night Football returns to AAMI Park when Melbourne City FC face Perth Glory, as we take an in-depth look at Kenny Lowe’s side ahead of the important Round 8 fixture.
Fatigue a factor for Perth
Despite making the Westfield FFA Cup final for a second consecutive season, featuring in the tournament showpiece has had its disadvantages for a well-travelled Perth Glory outfit.
After playing three successive away matches against Western Sydney, Brisbane and the cup final against Melbourne Victory – with each game ending in defeat - Kenny Lowe’s side braved sweltering conditions to battle to a 0-0 draw at home against Sydney FC last week.
With another four hour journey across the country to Melbourne this week and a lengthy injury list to boot, City will look to take advantage of any tiredness the Glory may have endured in an arduous month of travel.
Counter-attacking style a contrast to Brisbane last week.
With just four points from its opening six matches, including a solitary win against Adelaide United, Friday night' the Glory’s performances have not been reflective of their position on the Hyundai A-League table (9th).
A spate of injuries has significantly tested their depth and has contributed to Perth’s scoreless run - the Glory have not found the back of the net in 378 minutes – and has enforced Kenny Lowe’s side to employ a counter-attacking style of play.
Deploying a narrow 4-3-3 formation against Sydney FC last week, the Glory mostly sat off and protected the middle of the pitch, restricting the opposition to attack from the wide areas.
Absorbing pressure in defence gives the Glory a platform to launch a quick transition on the counter-attack, with full backs Marc Warren and Josh Risdon maurauding forward to deliver crosses as numbers push forward inside the penalty area.
Attacking the space in behind the defence has been the common theme, with the front three of Diego Castro, Sidnei Sciola and Richard Garcia causing havoc for defenders with random movement in the final-third, staying ahead of play when Perth gain possession.
With City expected to dominate possession and employ a higher defensive line than last week's match against Brisbane, van’t Schip’s side will need to be alert defensively to combat Perth’s considerable numbers on the break.
Marinkovic a world-class set-piece threat.
The Serbian midfielder was at his creative best in the Westfield FFA Cup Semi Final win over City in October, manufacturing numerous goal-scoring opportunities from set-pieces with his devastating right boot.
A player who can often fly under the radar in matches with extended periods off the ball, Marinkovic’s match-winning dead-ball ability can instantly change the course of a match, while utilizing his exquisite passing range to threaten opposition defences with early balls over the top.
With physically imposing players such as Dino Djulbic and Michael Thwaite posing a considerable danger in the air, City will have to limit the amount of fouls given away outside the area to nullify the Glory’s threat from set-pieces.
Last Time We Met
Perth Glory 3-1 Melbourne City FC – Westfield FFA Cup Semi Final, October 15 2015
Despite being in control for periods of the Semi Final contest, City’s quest to reach its first ever Westfield FFA Cup Final came to an end with defeat at nib Stadium.
Youth team graduate Matthew Millar capped an impressive senior debut with the equalizing goal in the 42nd minute after Gyorgy Sandor had opened the scoring for Perth against the run of play, until Ben Garuccio netted an unfortunate own goal on the stroke of half-time.
Glory striker Chris Harold wrapped up the win in the second half to send Perth to their second successive Westfield FFA Cup final.
Fielding a starting line-up with an average of just 22 years, City were foiled by a combination of errant finishing and desperate last-ditch defending from Perth and were also hampered by injuries to goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen and Patrick Kisnorbo.
- Melbourne City FC has won more duels (361) than any other team in the Hyundai A-League, exactly 100 more than Perth Glory, who are ranked last in this category.
- Perth Glory has won six and drawn two of their last 11 Hyundai A-League matches against Melbourne City and are undefeated in their last three fixtures against them (W1 D2).
- Bruno Fornaroli is one of only three players to have scored a brace of goals more than once so far this Hyundai A-League season (Besart Berisha, Brandon Borrello).
- Melbourne City FC are undefeated in its last three games against Perth Glory on home soil (W3 D2).
- Perth Glory has scored only twice away from home this Hyundai A-League season, the fewest of any team.