Harry Kewell’s return to the A-League hasn’t gotten off to the start he may have wished for. The former Socceroo star is once again an absentee from the Melbourne Heart line-up which travels west to take on struggling Perth Glory.
Kewell showed glimpses of his best as he looked dangerous in the opening-round derby clash with Melbourne Victory until he was forced off with whiplash.
Still recovering from that injury and having missed the disappointing 2-2 draw against the Central Coast Mariners, Coach John Aloisi has opted not to call Harry Kewell up to make the long trip west.
Melbourne Heart however finally get to see Michael Mifsud in action as the striker returns from international duty with Malta where he earned his 100th cap during the week.
Mifsud is set to make his debut against the Glory, but will give Coach John Aloisi a headache whether to start him or leave him on the bench.
If Mifsud is to start, he will most likely play a central position. This would mean that after a fantastic performance last week Golgol Mehbratu will have to shift to the flanks. Ramsey or Dugandzic maybe be dropped to the bench.
Heart speedster David Williams scored a brace last week and could have had a hat-trick if it wasn’t for Justin Pasfield’s amazing reflex save. Williams replaced Harry Kewell behind the striker and didn’t disappoint. With Maltese international Mifsud likely to start and the pace of Williams in behind him, Heart may end their dreadful away record.
Melbourne Heart’s last win outside Victoria came in December 2011 and Coach John Aloisi will look to break that record. Heart only drew once last season and lost a record 11 times away from home.
Goals have been hard to come by for Perth with striker Shane Smeltz out injured. Nagai and Sidnei have impressed in the opening two matches but are still finding it difficult to find the back of the net and they might again find it a daunting task to break through the impressive Heart defence.
Perth Glory has however signed former Arsenal and Spurs centre half William Gallas. This will come as a big confidence booster for the team and a sign of good things to come for the Glory. Unfortunately Gallas won’t be making his debut against the Heart.
With Rob Wielaert and Patrick Kisnorbo combining well in the centre of defence, as well as Aziz Behich being solid at left-back and Jason Hoffman impressing at the right back role, Melbourne Heart may taste their first victory away from home.
Played: 10, Wins: Glory 4, Heart 3, Draws: 3
Heart 2-0 Glory, February 9 2013
Prediction: Perth Glory 1-3 Melbourne Heart