Melbourne City and Perth Glory will lock horns again when they meet in the A-League’s second elimination final at AAMI Park on Sunday.
Glory have not been humbled by City this season and will be desperate to keep that trend going for one more game.
Block the middle
Perth and Brisbane Roar were among the first teams this season to come up with a blueprint to take down a City side that many were backing to be a runaway train. Having thrashed rivals Melbourne Victory in Round 2 by stampeding down the middle of the pitch, City were curbed by Glory a week later and then by the Roar. Perth must force City wide again and they have the means through midfield to do just that. Rhys Williams and Rostyn Griffiths should both be fresh after lessened workloads last weekend, ready for a crucial midfield battle against Neil Kilkenny and Luke Brattan.
Fast and furious
City have shown a tendency to press forward with a high line and that could come out again versus Perth, particularly at home. However, that high line has not always worked, and dynamic wingers can easily expose it, as Andrew Nabbout showed in Coffs Harbour some three months ago. The poise of Michael Jakobsen will help lead what is an unconvincing back line, but pacey Chris Harold and the masterful Diego Castro will be licking their lips if through balls are played early.
Perth have not lost against Melbourne City this season and should take a genuine sense of superiority from that record, claiming seven points of a possible nine. On top of that, six goals scored against City away from home and 11 in total is no mean feat. Kenny Lowe and his potent strike force comprising Andy Keogh, Adam Taggart and Castro know how to pick teams apart, and Michael Valkanis’ men know about that all too well.