Western United returns home to face Melbourne City on Saturday, looking for a repeat result after a great victory earlier on in the season.
Western United vs Melbourne City
Saturday, January 29
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Channel 10 and Paramount+
Western United: WWWLL
Melbourne City: WDDDW
Both Western United and Melbourne City have had positive starts to the season to the season so far, but both have also been interrupted by match postponements throughout January.
Western United returned to action last week but tasted a second successive defeat, going down 2-1 to Wellington Phoenix in Wollongong, which followed a Boxing Day defeat to Melbourne Victory.
Prior to that, United had been on a four-match winning streak, which included a 1-0 win over City in early December.
That remains City’s sole defeat this season, but only Adelaide United has more than their four draws – three of which have come in the last four outings.
A 3-1 win against Central Coast Mariners in the last match broke that string of ties and put City back up into second place, though a host of teams below them have games in hand.
After losing each of the first five meetings with Melbourne City, Western United has beaten the reigning A-League Men Champions in the last two outings.
An outstanding Dylan Wenzel-Halls strike earned John Aloisi’s side the victory in Round 3 this season, which followed a brilliant second half comeback in the third meeting of the previous campaign.
A five-minute double salvo from Lachie Wales and Besart Berisha earned that victory, and the Green and Black can approach the match with confidence and good form against its Melbourne rivals.
For Western United, there are no new injury or fitness concerns but Tomoki Imai will miss the match after he was sent off against Wellington last week.
That will allow Nikolai Topor-Stanley to come into the team to make his 350th A-League Men appearance, becoming only the second player to reach the milestone.
Elsewhere, Rene Krhin is in line for his first inclusion in a matchday squad and could play a part in midfield. Melbourne City will be without four players who are on Socceroos duty.
What John Aloisi is saying
On Nikolai Topor-Stanley’s milestone match
“Nikolai will start. He’ll slot into central defence. He’s been great whenever we’ve called upon him, played well, so much experience.
“I’m sure he’s excited about it, but he’ll be focusing on performing well and maybe celebrating with the kids on the pitch after the game.”
On facing City without their Socceroos
“Every time you play City it’s going to be tough, no matter who is there. We saw that in the Grand Final last year, they were still able to win it and win it well.
“We know we’re going to be in for a game. But we believe if we play at our best, we can get the result we want.
“They also have good players coming in. they won’t change the way they play, we’ve worked on that all week and we’re ready for the game.”