Can the Melbourne City juggernaut be halted? It has become a weekly conversation point, and now it is the turn of Perth Glory to test their wares against the runaway leaders.
Melbourne will put one hand on the premiership with another win at home on Sunday. The can also put their name in the record books with a ninth straight victory which would equal Sydney FC’s tally set in 2009-2010.
Melbourne had their narrowest win to date last weekend – their 1-0 scoreline at Newcastle Jets was the first time they have failed to score at least two goals in a match. City coach Joe Montemurro used an experimental 3-4-3 line-up for the visit to Newcastle and it will be interesting to see if he continues to tinker with his formation.
When these two sides met earlier in the season City ran out deserved 4-0 winners, as Larissa Crummer bagged one of several doubles. Since, then, however, Perth have lost the attacking x-factor that is Sam Kerr.
This is one of three home matches for City to round-out their regular season campaign, with a trip to the Gold Coast to face Brisbane Roar on Monday 28 December the only outstanding away match.
As for Perth Glory their finals hopes are starting to fade after collecting just one point out of a possible nine.
Hopes of an upset will rely on the dynamic running and creativity of Caitlin Foord who continues to excel in a struggling side, while American Vanessa DiBernardo has added drive and goalscoring from midfield after netting four times in as many matches.
“We’ve got some individuals in the group who know what it takes to be a winner, and they need to lead and show the rest how it’s done,” said Glory coach Bobby Despotovski, no doubt with the pair in mind.
Young Glory defender Sarah Carroll is set to miss the remainder of the season with a torn quad, however Carla Bennett is available again after suffering a fractured wrist.
Melbourne City v Perth Glory
Sunday 20 December 2015
C.B. Smith Reserve, Melbourne
Local kick-off: 4pm
Join the conversation on Twitter using match hashtag #MCYvPER
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Melbourne City squad: 1. Brianna Davey (gk), 3. Alex Chidiac, 4. Jennifer Beattie, 6. Aivi Luik, 7. Stephanie Catley, 8. Kim Little, 9. Larissa Crummer, 10. Jessica Fishlock, 11. Lisa De Vanna, 13. Rebekah Stott, 15. Amy Jackson, 16. Beattie Goad, 17. Marianna Tabain, 18. Anisa Guajardo, 20. Trudy Burke (gk)
Ins: Anisa Guajardo (promoted)
Outs: Laura Alleway (omitted)
Unavailable: Monique Iannella (knee – indefinite)
Perth Glory squad: 1. Mackenzie Arnold (gk), 3. Kim Carroll (c), 4. Katie Holtham, 5. Shannon May, Carla Bennett, 7. Nicole Stanton, 8. Shawn Billam, 9. Caitlin Foord, 12. Katie Schubert, 13. Danielle Brogan, 14. Caitlin Doeglas, 15. Angelique Stannett, 16. Thia Eastman, 18. Gabrielle Dal Busco (gk), 19. Ella Mastrantonio 23. Vanessa DiBernardo
Ins: Carla Bennett (return from injury)
Unavailable: Sarah Carroll (quad – indefinite), Samantha Kerr (foot – season)