Sydney FC set for Big Blue Test

The Big Blue is back with Sydney FC taking on Melbourne Victory in the usual grudge match between the two clubs, with the Sky Blues keen to get back to winning ways on Saturday night.

It will be Sydney FC Men’s first away game in a month as they play Victory at AAMI Park for the second time this calendar year, after a 2-1 win in January thanks to goals from Max Burgess and Adam Le Fondre.

The Sky Blues have a decent record against the Victory at AAMI Park, winning twelve times, two more than their Big Blue opponents.

This match will also mark this season’s second Big Blue derby after the Victory defeated Sydney FC 2-0 at Allianz Stadium in the opening round.

That game was a tight affair which the Sky Blues lost after a couple of defensive errors.

Jordan Courtney-Perkins tussling with Daniel Arzani.

Last weekend, Ufuk Talay was adamant that the Sky Blues should’ve gained at least a point after their valiant effort with only ten men against Macarthur on Saturday.

Despite being one down, Sydney FC continued to push forward creating 19 goal opportunities that troubled the Bulls’ a number of times.

It seemed that the red card did not trouble Talay’s men as they dominated possession at 60{3302a4a97df51ab71377f818b10857871066f471bffc8f5d55c900040a563c05} and limited Macarthur’s chances, which often frustrated them, causing them to record five yellow cards.

Fabio Gomes dribbling past Macarthur defenders.

Fabio Gomes, Joe Lolley and Robert Mak did a lot to spark the Sydney FC attack, forcing the Macarthur defence to recoil.

Adam Pavlesic was also relentless against the Macarthur attack; having been subbed on only 15 minutes into the match, and stopping four attempts on target.

With Pavlesic likely to start due to Redmayne’s absence, the number 20 will need to show that same confidence in front of goal against Victory, if the Sky Blues are to secure points.

Sydney FC could also have a boost of confidence this weekend, with Max Burgess, Jack Rodwell and Jaiden Kucharski all available for selection.

Ufuk Talay explained that his side would be even fiercer with these boys back as the competitiveness to have a starting eleven positions will bring out the best in his players.

In a physical encounter against the Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend, three Melbourne Victory players were subbed off injured.

The Victory will have to hope that Connor Chapman, Jake Brimmer and Adam Traore will be fit enough to play the Sky Blues, if they are to cement their spot in the top four.

Andrew Redmayne ready to save a Melbourne Victory shot in the Round One encounter

Victory return to AAMI Park for the first time in a month having drawn two and won one on the road.

Most recently, Victory won a seven-goal affair against the Western Sydney Wanderers 4-3. Four goals to 36-year-old Bruno Fornaroli were enough to deny the Wanderers despite a valiant attempt at a comeback from the hosts.

Since their last game in Melbourne, they have scored two goals in two games from set pieces, off the heads of players such as Velupillay and Fornaroli. This may be significant for Sydney FC to know if they find themselves in this situation.

More significantly, Victory have conceded two penalties in two weeks, which the Sky Blues should take advantage of if the opportunity appears.

While Victory have conceded goals lately with five in the past two weeks games.

Key Match-up: Zinedine Machach vs Jack Rodwell

Zinedine Machach and Jack Rodwell are both teams’ most experienced and well-rounded players.

On Saturday night, they could verse each other for the first time if Rodwell returns, which will be a vital matchup for two players that were part of two of Europe’s biggest leagues.

Jack Rodwell in Sky Blue.

Machach has caused shockwaves in his maiden A-League season, scoring against Sydney FC in round one and consistently starting every game for the Victory.

The Frenchman has played for the likes of Marseille and Toulouse in France’s Ligue 1 and in the A-League has demonstrated his precise passing skills by threading the ball through and around defenders. The 27-year-old isn’t afraid to break his position to generate opportunities.

Against the Sky Blues, the centre midfielder buried the ball into the net at a sharp angle, something that Jack Rodwell will have to intercept if the opportunity beckons again.

Jack Rodwell could return for his first game after sustaining an injury against Melbourne City in the Australia Cup. Having not played since September, Rodwell may provide some fresh legs for the Sky Blues.

The 32-year-old former English Premier League defender will add a wealth of experience to the defence, something that will be crucial for the Sky Blues where the defence, including Pavlesic sits at the average age of 23.8 years.

Rodwell also has a goal under his belt at AAMI Park, so, who’s to say that he might even manage to score?

Match Details:
Sydney FC vs Melbourne Victory
Isuzu UTE A-League Round Eight
Saturday 16th December 2023
AAMI Park, Melbourne, VIC
Kick Off: 7:45PM
Gates Open: 4:00PM
Broadcast Live: Paramount+ and 10BOLD
Tickets: Click Here