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Melbourne Victory vs Sydney FC A-League Preview and Team News - Sydney and Victory resume rivalry in 'Big Blue' Grand Final rematch

Andrew Hendrie 5 Oct 2017
  • Melbourne Victory face Sydney FC on Saturday night
  • Sydney going for first ever back-to-back wins over Victory in Melbourne
Victory face Sydney on Saturday night

Defending premiers Sydney FC take on Melbourne Victory in a blockbuster ‘Big Blue’ and Grand Final rematch in the opening round of the 2017/18 A-League season on Saturday at AAMI Park.

It doesn’t get any better than this for the first round of the new A-League campaign - reigning premiers and glamour club Sydney FC squaring off against bitter rivals Melbourne Victory, the team they edged on premiers to capture the silverware last season.

Every ‘Big Blue’ is a massive occasion, but Saturday’s showdown at AAMI Park promises to take the rivalry to new heights, with Victory determined to exact immediate revenge for the Grand Final, while Sydney are looking to conjure up consecutive wins in Melbourne for the first time in A-League history.

Sydney will have to overcome a couple of daunting stats in order to prevail - four times previously these two sides have met in the opening round of the season, and every game has ended in a draw, while only once in the last decade have the reigning premiers claimed all three points in the opening round the following season (Brisbane Roar in 2011/12).

But if any team can conquer the odds, it’s Graham Arnold’s Sky Blues outfit. Sydney have managed to retain the bulk of their Grand Final winning team, including Brazilian striker Bobo, who scored 15 goals last campaign, and Johnny Warren Medal winner Milos Ninkovic, while they’ve also acquired the likes of former Socceroos star Luke Wilkshire and Polish international midfielder Adrian Mierzejewski.

Furthermore, they aren’t losing any players to International duty this week - in deep contrast to Victory, who are without Mark Milligan, James Troisi and Kosta Barbarouses.

Victory again start the season with a formidable squad on paper, but the loss of the aforementioned trio for the first game - along with star winger Marco Rojas departing for the Netherlands - does hurt them, especially for such a big opening round game.

Kevin Muscat, like most A-League managers, has been busy in the transfer market, with the pick of his recruits for 2017/18 including Dutch attacker Leroy George, who can play either as a winger or striker, and Argentine central midfielder Matias Sanchez, a former Under 20s international for his country. Australian fullback Rhys Williams is also a tremendous coup.

While Victory again look like one of the leading the challengers for the premiership, they have been hurt by the timing of the season’s launch coinciding with the International break. Sydney have only gotten stronger this season and appear to be the team to beat once more. I’m backing the Sky Blues to leave Melbourne with all three points.

Stats


  • Sydney are undefeated against Victory in their last five meetings
  • Sydney won last year’s Grand Final over Victory on penalties
  • Sydney are looking for consecutive wins over Victory in Melbourne for the first time
  • These two sides have faced off on four occasions in Round 1 - and every game has ended in a draw
  • The defending premiers have only won their next season opener once in 10 years (Brisbane in 2011/12)

Teams


Melbourne Victory squad:  1.Matt ACTON (gk) 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Rhys WILLIAMS, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Besart BERISHA, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 14.Thomas DENG, 15.Cameron McGILP, 16.Josh HOPE, 17.James DONACHIE, 18.Matias SANCHEZ, 19.Pierce WARING, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22.Stefan NIGRO, 23.Jai INGHAM, 31.Christian THEOHAROUS, 41.Leroy GEORGE

**two to be omitted**

Unavailable: 5.Mark MILLIGAN (International duty – 1 week), 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES (International duty – 1 week), 10.James TROISI (International duty  – 1 week)

Sydney FC Squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE, 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Jordy BUIJS, 6.Josh BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Paulo RETRE, 9.BOBÔ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Adrian MIERZEJEWSKI, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Anthony KALIK, 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 20.Alex CISAK, 22.Seb RYALL, 26.Luke WILKSHIRE, 30.Tom HEWARD-BELLE.

**two to be omitted**

Unavailable: 21.Charles LOKOLINGOY (hamstring - 3 weeks), 23.Rhyan GRANT (knee - indefinite)

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Melbourne Victory vs Sydney FC A-League Preview and Team News - Sydney and Victory resume rivalry in 'Big Blue' Grand Final rematch

Defending premiers Sydney FC take on Melbourne Victory in a blockbuster ‘Big Blue’ and Grand Final rematch in the opening round of the 2017/18 A-League season on Saturday at AAMI Park.

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