Glory Awaits New Mariners Era

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After a week off the Central Coast Mariners this weekend travel west to take on Perth Glory at nib Stadium.

A changing of the guard has taken place at the reigning champions after Graham Arnold last week accepted a contract to coach at J-League club Vegalta Sendai. His former assistant Phil Moss is now head coach and faces a tough test from Alistair Edwards’ men.

The Match:
Last week Perth managed a come from behind 1-1 draw against Adelaide United. It was fair result seeing as the game was played in above 30 degree temperatures. Fortunately for both sides the game this week will be at a much more reasonable time of 6:30pm (WST).

Perth who currently sit in 4th spot, face a Mariners side who sit in 7th (with a game in hand). Both sides are desperate for a win, especially the Central Coast who are looking to find some momentum after a loss two weeks ago at home to the Brisbane Roar.

It’s been a sluggish start to the year, and not one that Moss is keen to continue. Besides Tom Slater, he has a fully fit squad to choose from, with 18 travelling including Michael McGlinchey and Storm Roux who played mid week in the All-Whites loss to Mexico.

Both McGlinchey and Roux were big losses against Brisbane, in particular the Mariners midfielder. While creating chances, Central Coast were unable to take them, the inclusion of McGlinchey provides that extra edge that his team needs going forward.

The Glory last week welcomed William Gallas to his new club, with the former Arsenal player being brought on in the 61st minute. Match fitness is a key focus for Gallas and the Glory staff, as the Frenchman looked noticeably fatigued post game.

Alistair Edwards enjoys a stable squad at the moment with no one exiting the side this week. Shane Smeltz returns from international duty and Jack Clisby has been promoted from the youth league side. The former provides plenty up front for the Glory as they face a defensive unit lacking confidence.

Liam Reddy performed well last week for the Mariners in his first appearance as he pulled off a number of quality saves. Eventually he was let down by his team mates who left Kwame Yebowah unmarked to score the Roar’s winner.

The Key Issue:
Perth need to apply the pressure early to the Mariners and force them into mistakes. Maintain that pressure for 90 minutes and the Glory go a long way to winning. The Mariners have started slowly each game this season, either not scoring from countless opportunities or by allowing teams to go 2-0 up and then chasing the game. Once these opportunities are capitalised, the Mariners will be on their winning way.

X-Factor:
Instead of a player this week, I’m going with a coach. Phil Moss takes over from the highly successful Graham Arnold reign. Moss’ era starts on Saturday night, and while the action will be on the field, many will keep a close eye on what Moss delivers tactically and how much it resembles or differs from the man he replaced.

Prediction:
Even though the season is only 6 games old, there is pressure on the Central Coast to record their second win of the season. While the excuse of players departing (and now a coach) is wearing thin on many, the current squad need to step up and show some of the dominance they did last year. Records are on their side, because in the 25 games played between the two clubs, the Mariners have won 15. However Perth are playing more consistent football this season and will provide a tough task at home.

Draw 1-1.

Perth Glory vs. Central Coast Mariners
Hyundai A-League 2013/14 Round 7
Saturday 23 November, 2013
nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 6:30pm (local); 9:30pm (AEST)
Twitter: #PERvCCM

Head-To-Head:
Played 25 – Wins: Perth: 5, Central Coast 15. Draws: 5

Last Time They Met:
February 16, 2013 – Perth 2 – 1 Central Coast

Recent Form:
Perth: DWWDD
Central Coast: DWDDL

Matthew Berry

Matthew Berry is Football Central's Central Coast Mariners correspondent.

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