The Opposition - Melbourne Victory

Sydney FC caught up with David Davutovic from The Herald Sun to dissect this week's Big Blue.

Sydney FC caught up with David Davutovic from The Herald Sun to dissect this week's Big Blue.

The Victory have had a strong start to the season, being unbeaten after four rounds. Do their results on paper match their performances on the field?

Victory-s two wins and two draws is a fair reflection of how the team has performed so far this season, although if you analyse each game individually they all could-ve ended differently. On one hand they were unlucky not to have won in the Round 2 visit to Adelaide when some intriguing refereeing decisions aided Adelaide in the first half, yet Victory was 2-0 down with 10 minutes of normal time remaining.

Melbourne have appointed Kevin Muscat as their new coach, following Ange Postecoglou's appointment with the Socceroos, will the transition create any issues for the players?

I believe the transition is as seamless as Victory could have hoped for considering Kevin Muscat was Ange Postecoglou-s lieutenant during his 18-month tenure. Postecoglou was the Sir Alex Ferguson-style manager while his assistants were more hands on and Muscat had the most responsibility of the lot on the pitch as he did behind the scenes with game preparation, opposition analysis, etc.

What style of football do you expect the Victory to play under Kevin Muscat?

Muscat will continue with the attacking philosophy that underpinned Victory last season and that they-ve continued with in 2013-14. As the weeks and months progress I expect Muscat to add his own fingerprints to the team, perhaps slight formation and personnel changes without changing the underlying philosophy.

Are their any injured or unavailable players for the Victory this week?

Winger Kosta Barbarouses is absent due to New Zealand-s Intercontinental World Cup playoff matches with Mexico (away at Azteca Stadium November 13 and home at Wellington-s Westpac Stadium on November 20). If the game was played a few hours earlier he would-ve been free but Victory didn-t want to stand in his way considering the enormity of the NZ fixture. He-s a big loss for Victory because they view him as a key figure in this season-s gameplan. Otherwise Mitch Nichols is the only doubt and he would be another big loss, although Victory has impressive attacking depth this season. Everyone else is fit and healthy.

Which players will likely cause Sydney FC headaches?

James Troisi is getting better with each game as his match fitness and confidence builds. Otherwise Archie Thompson has been off in the opening few weeks and last week-s goal against Wellington will do wonders for his confidence. Gui Finkler is another who is growing each week having only recently started playing after recovering from a knee reconstruction. He hasn-t started yet and if Nichols doesn-t come up he would probably come in. At the risk of irritating Sydney fans, it was Finkler-s set pieces that set up Victory-s key goals in the corresponding clash last season.

Which Sydney FC players will present the most danger to Melbourne?

Alessandro Del Piero obviously. Richard Garcia was a nuisance in the Melbourne derbies last season when he played for Heart and he-s had a good start to the season with Sydney. Pedj Bojic-s return is crucial.

How do you see the game being tactically played out?

Victory will dominate possession and I-ll be interested to see how often Sydney presses. FC is capable of forcing turnovers but need to be fit enough to sustain it for 90 minutes, factoring in underdone players. Victory like attacking the wings and which is where I believe they will target. Victory-s defence remains its weakness although it has improved from last season. Sydney will create chances and it will be a matter of being ruthless on the night. I sense Vedran Janjetovic may have a busy night.

8. Your prediction?

Victory 2-1

Any views displayed in this article are those of the interviewee and do not represent those of Sydney FC.

LET'S TAKE VICTORY:- Another bumper crowd is expected when Sydney FC take on Melbourne Victory at Allianz Stadium on Saturday 9th November, kick off 7.45pm. Don't miss another electric atmosphere and purchase your ticket from TICKETEK by clicking here.