The Oz Classico, Part 2.

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Melbourne Victory vs Adelaide United
Etihad Stadium
Saturday November 23rd, kickoff: 7:45

The Issues

This rivalry is still a personal favourite and one for the purists, the Oz Classico.
Two losses in a row in Sydney now have Victory needing a win more than ever. The problems arising at Melbourne are very much fixable and along with taking the chances along the way, Victory can get these results starting with Adelaide this Friday night. Defensive issues have plagued the Victory over these last weeks, whether or not changes are made to the line-up will be an issue for Kevin Muscat to consider.

Adelaide United are in the same position, but are still finding out just what their best looks like. They have scored three goals from their last four games, and haven’t kept a clean sheet all season. Firepower and making the most of possession is something Gombau’s charges will need to sort out.

The Ins and Outs

Mark Milligan and Kosta Barbarouses return to the squad, after representing Australia and New Zealand respectively. Two will be omitted from the extended squad on gameday. Team selection has been a predictable exercise in the Muscat era and by the looks of this squad, it isn’t going to change

Adelaide will welcome back Nigel Boogaard, Bruce Djite, Cameron Watson and Michael Zullo, leaving Antony Golec and Jordan Elsey omitted. Competition for spots will be high, with all four returning able to press claims for a starting spot.

The 90 minutes

This match looks all set for the Victory, their style exposes teams who are that more daring and sit that little higher. Chances will come and so should goals, but a consistent effort over the full match is needed. Adelaide will have a tough ask of keeping a clean sheet for the first time this season but will be desperate to learn from last month’s encounter and keep on the attack.

Adelaide will need to make much more out of their possession, trying to break through the lines. Their central defenders will need to play the ball forward quickly, as Victory will put the pressure on high. Jeronimo Neumann will need to be minded, causing Victory no end of trouble in the first meeting between these two last month.

The players to watch

Mitch Nichols: The midfield workhorse has made himself a vital play in this Victory side. He helps create a fine balance between defence and attack in that midfield along with Mark Milligan and Leigh Broxham.

Marcelo Carrusca: He likes playing the Victory, being the architect of that burst that led Adelaide to a 4-1 win over the old rivals. When on form, he is a classy player and creator for the front three. He missed last month’s clash, and his presence was clearly missed.

The talk

Talk centred around an assistant coach joining coach Kevin Muscat and Darren Davies, “I’m adamant that I want to bring someone else in now, to complement Darren (Davies) and myself… We’re still a body down. But it wasn’t something I was going to be rushed into” Muscat said today. Muscat revealed Kosta Barbarouses will be monitored throughout the day and tomorrow while the line-up hasn’t been settled.

Muscat was realistic over last week’s performance, despite not coming home with a point or three from last week’s match with the Wanderers, but was positive “Analysing performances rather than results, last week was exceptional, was very good…This week has been good, so looking forward to tomorrow night.”

The prediction:

Melbourne Victory 2-1 Adelaide United

Katie Lambeski

Katie is Football Central's Melbourne Victory correspondent. She describes herself as a mad football fan who also likes to write about it. Follow Katie on twitter @katielambeski

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