It’s football at its best in the Isuzu UTE A-League Men this Saturday, with Western United taking on Melbourne City at AAMI Park in a huge top of the table clash.
Western United vs Melbourne City
Saturday, 12 March
Kick-off: 5:05pm AEDT
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+
Western United: DWWWW
Melbourne City: WWWDW
There are plenty of W’s in the form guide this week with both sides coming into this fixture on a strong run of results.
Western United is undefeated in eight matches, six of which have been wins including each of the last four. John Aloisi’s defensive set-up continues to be resolute, with a league-best 12 goals conceded through 15 matches.
Melbourne City have also won six of their last eight games but have a defeat mixed in that run – a 2-1 loss to Adelaide United in mid-February.
City continue to score at will in the A-League Men with their 36 goals scored well above any other team in the competition, though their defence is currently the third weakest.
It’s been a tale of two distinct period in terms of the head-to-head record between the two Victorian rivals, with Melbourne City initially having the better of the contests.
The 2021 champions won all of the first five meetings between the two, though many of them were tight affairs and two of them were won within the final 10 minutes.
United flipped that around towards the end of last season with a 2-1 win over the eventual champions before achieving two 1-0 wins already in this campaign.
United will have the confidence of strong recent results against City, but both sides will fancy themselves based on the history between the two.
Aloisi confirmed that both Josh Risdon and Connor Pain will be back in contention for this weekend’s fixture, providing his side with a big boost ahead of the clash.
Captain Alessandro Diamanti will miss again, though, as he continues to recover from a knock to his knee.
What John Aloisi is saying
On the extra excitement and motivation surrounding this match
“I would be lying if I said the derby game isn’t important, because it is. When people say ‘it’s just another game’ – it’s not, it’s a derby. I played in plenty, I’ve coached in plenty. There’s always that little bit extra intensity in the game, the players and the supporters themselves get that bit more excited.
“It’s about then making sure the players don’t get too excited, and they’re still in control of their emotions and still play to our structures. I don’t need to motivate them too much for this game, because they know it’s against Melbourne City, they’re on the same points as us. We know it’s not defining our season or our club, just one game, but if you don’t enjoy playing or being involved in these games, you shouldn’t be involved in football.”
On what he has learned from playing City twice already this season
“That we have to be at our best. They’re a tough team, they move the ball really well, they can open teams up when you’re not organised and you’re not prepared.
“Also without the ball they press you well, so you haven’t got a lot of time in the ball, especially in midfield. We know it’s not going to be an easy game, City are still one of the best sides in the competition. We have to be at our best with the ball and without the ball.”