Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne City
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Sunday November 30
Kick-Off: 5PM Local (7PM AEDT)
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Michael BOXALL, 7.Kenny CUNNINGHAM, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9.Nathan BURNS, 10.Michael McGLINCHEY, 11.Jeremy BROCKIE, 12.Tyler BOYD, 13.Albert RIERA, 17.Vince LIA, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 10.Michael McGLINCHEY (returns from paternity leave), 23.Matthew RIDENTON (promoted)
Unavailable: 16.Louis FENTON (dislocated collar bone – 6-7 weeks)
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 3.Robbie WIELAERT, 5.Erik PAARTALU, 6.Aaron MOOY, 7.Iain RAMSAY, 11.Damien DUFF, 14.James BROWN, 15.David WILLIAMS, 17.Jason HOFFMAN, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 21.Stefan MAUK, 23.Mate DUGANDZIC, 24.Patrick KISNORBO (c), 25.Jacob MELLING, 26.Marc MARINO, 27.Ross ARCHIBALD, 28.Liam MILLER
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 19.Ben GARUCCIO (promoted), 21.Stefan MAUK (promoted)
Unavailable: 8.Massimo MURDOCCA (groin – 1 week), 10.Robert KOREN (calf – 1-2 weeks), 13.Jonatan GERMANO (hamstring – 3-4 weeks)
TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 3.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 774 ABC Melbourne, Local Radio VIC, Grandstand Digital, Grandstand Online/ ABC Radio Mobile phone app, Radio Sport Wellington and on Radio Sport Extra on the i-Heart radio app.
Referee: Jarred Gillett
While these two sides head into round seven occupying spots in the top six, they’d both accept they haven’t found any semblance of consistency in 2014/15.
The Phoenix’s familiar away-day blues have haunted them again in the past fortnight, so they’ll relish a return to Westpac Stadium. They also welcome back the influential Michael McGlinchey who missed the last two matches through a combination of All Whites duties and becoming a father for the second time.
Games involving City always seem to produce goals at both ends, with 25 in their seven outings so far. While the attacking threats he possesses will please John van’t Schip, the frailties of his defence continue to give him headaches.
OPTA DATA STATS
All the stats point to a result in this game, one way or the other. The Phoenix haven’t had a draw in their last eleven matches and only one of the previous six meetings between these two in New Zealand has ended in a stalemate.
Melbourne City’s sole away win against the Phoenix was the 5-0 trouncing in January and they’ll create more chances on Sunday if their recent form continues. In fact, the visitors have had more shots on target (39) than any other team this season.
At the other end though, City are conceding goals at the rate of two per game and with Nathan Burns and Michael McGlinchey among the Hyundai A-League leading scorers, the Phoenix might even fancy scoring their 250th Hyundai A-League goal on Sunday; they currently have 246.
ROUTE TO GOAL
After netting seven times in their first three games, the goals have dried up somewhat for the Phoenix with just three in their last four. Coach Ernie Merrick may opt to start Roy Krishna, Michael McGlinchey and Nathan Burns together for the first time as an attacking trio with their combination of pace, trickery and finishing ability a mouth-watering prospect.
Despite not having yet found the net himself, Irishman Damien Duff tends to be at the heart of many of City’s best attacking moments, while the speed of Mate Dugandzic and David Williams will always cause problems. Erik Paartalu has scored in consecutive games for the visitors.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
The Phoenix fan-base has been boosted by two with Michael McGlinchey welcoming baby Annabel last weekend and skipper Andrew Durante becoming a Dad for the third time (all daughters) with baby Evita joining Adalyn and Milana in the growing Durante clan on Wednesday.
The Phoenix come into the game off back-to-back away losses, but they have won their last two matches at home. Melbourne City have won just one of their seven games this season.
Did you know?
Glen Moss will play his 72nd Phoenix game, equalling Mark Paston’s record as the most-capped Phoenix goalkeeper.
Result: Wellington Phoenix 2 Melbourne City FC 1
City’s defence continues to come under scrutiny and with the Phoenix back to full strength and back home, they should edge this one.