Preview: Melbourne Victory v Newcastle Jets


Melbourne Victory meet the Newcastle Jets in Round 9 of the 2013-14 A-League season at AAMI Park on Sunday December 8 at 5pm AEDT.

Melbourne Victory meet the Newcastle Jets in Round 9 of the 2013-14 A-League season at AAMI Park on Sunday December 8 at 5pm AEDT.

Played: 24, Wins: Victory 9, Jets 11, Draws: 4

Previous encounter:
Victory 5-0 Jets, March 3 2013

Past five matches:
Victory: DWLLW

The Game:
Sunday marks the 1,000th game in A-League history. The Melbourne Victory go into the clash on the back of a two-game unbeaten run, while the Newcastle Jets were beaten for the first time in seven last time out. Kevin Muscat’s Victory are aiming for their third clean sheet in a row, which would be the first time they have achieved that feat since February 2011. The Victory have won five of their past six home games against the Jets and go in as favourites. Newcastle will enjoy counter-attacking against a Victory side who will look to keep possession. The Jets have the lowest passing accuracy in the league but are capable of scoring goals through Adam Taggart and Emile Heskey.

The big issue:
Victory – taking their chances. The Victory somehow failed to take three points away from Bluetongue Stadium last time out as they played out a 0-0 draw against the Central Coast Mariners. According to Opta stats, the Victory have taken just 33.3 percent of their ‘big chances’. In comparison, league leaders Brisbane have the best record in the competition with 83.3 percent. Victory need to start taking their opportunities or risk being punished, with their 18 ‘big chances’ created the most in the league.

Jets – making the strike partnership of Taggart and Heskey work. The fit-again Englishman and Taggart failed to fire against the Sky Blues and need time to get their pairing reaching its potential. Taggart believes the two will only get better, but more is needed than what they showed against Sydney. The 20-year-old had starred before Heskey’s return but just which one of them plays top, and who is in behind, remains to be seen as the season progresses.

The game breaker:
James Troisi – the talented attacking midfielder has been at the centre of much of the Victory’s better play this season. With five goals and an assist, Troisi continues to stake his claim for a Socceroos place. His combination with Mitch Nichols shapes as being crucial for Muscat’s team as the campaign goes on. If Troisi and Nichols are allowed to find space in the attacking third, the Jets will find it hard to contain the Victory.