Western United will go head to head with Melbourne Victory in a blockbuster midweek Melbourne derby clash, with both sides out to keep the pressure on at the top of the A-League Men table.
Melbourne Victory vs Western United
Wednesday, 23 March
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+
Melbourne Victory: LWWDD
Western United: WWWDL
Western United comes into the match on the back of a first defeat in nine matches after it went down 3-0 to Sydney FC at the weekend.
John Aloisi’s side has been in tremendous form for most of the season and particularly since the turn of the year, seeing the team challenging at the top of the league.
A recent run of four wins in a row was the second such streak of the season, and the Green and Black will hope to embark on a new run on Wednesday night.
Victory themselves have been in strong form of late. After a five-match winless run, Tony Popovic’s men are now unbeaten in the last four games and are coming off a solid 1-1 draw with Melbourne City on Saturday.
Victory currently sit in sixth-place on the ladder but as many as four games in hand on some of the teams above them, and Popovic will be eager to see his side make use of them.
As with a number of head-to-head matchups with Western United, the battle against the side’s Melbourne rivals has brought about two distinct runs of form for both sides.
United went unbeaten in the first five meetings against Victory – a run which included four wins, the most memorable of which being the 4-3 thriller at Marvel Stadium in February 2021.
Victory have had the upper hand since then now, with an emphatic win to close the 2020/21 season followed by two wins in both meetings so far this season.
Despite those being defeats, United arguably played two of its best games of the season in the two Victory encounters, and this clash will undoubtedly be as hotly contested as each of the previous ones.
Western United will be without Leo Lacroix for the match after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Sydney.
The Swiss star will join Alessandro Diamanti and Neil Kilkenny on the sidelines as the midfield duo continues to be unavailable for the short-term.
What John Aloisi is saying
On facing Melbourne Victory and playing another derby
“We know it will be a tough game, obviously, because they’re a good side. We’re excited about playing another derby. We played Melbourne City last week and we saw how exciting that was with the atmosphere and the tempo of the game, and we expect it to be very similar against Victory.”
On the importance of getting back to winning ways
“We want to win every game. Every game is important, and the reaction is important. The reaction is more about the way that you play and the performance, and hopefully you get the result you want.
“I don’t expect us to lose too much confidence. It was nine games, eventually something was going to give at some stage. We’re all looking forward to tomorrow.”