Sydney FC - Melbourne City Preview

Can the Sky Blues build on their premiership success and break more A-League records or will the visitors bounce back from last week's trip north?

With the Premier's Plate safely in their locker, Sydney FC are now chasing a record A-League points haul, while Melbourne City want to wrap up third spot.

SQUADS

SydneyFC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Jordy BUIJS, 6.Joshua BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.BOBÔ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 12.Aaron CALVER, 13.Brandon O'NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 19.George BLACKWOOD, 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 19.George BLACKWOOD (promoted), 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk) (returns from international duty), 23.Rhyan GRANT (returns from international duty)

Outs: 40.Thomas HEWARD-BELLE (gk) (returns to NPL squad)

Unavailable: 22.Seb RYALL (hamstring – 1 week)

Melbourne City squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Josh ROSE, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 6.Osama MALIK, 8.Neil KILKENNY, 9.Nicolas COLAZO, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 12.Nick FITZGERALD, 14.Daniel ARZANI, 17.Tim CAHILL, 18.Paulo RETRE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 21.Ruon TONGYIK, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 26.Luke BRATTAN, 34.Dennis GENREAU

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 17.Tim CAHILL (returns from international duty), 34.Denis GENREAU (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (ACL – season), 27.Fernando BRANDAN (ACL – season), 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI (ACL – season)

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

Any thoughts thatSydneyFC might take their foot of the pedal now they've won the A-League premiership were quickly dispelled by coach Graham Arnold during the week.

Arnold said any player who dropped off in the run to the finals would find themselves on the bench, while reiterating his desire to eclipse the record points total of Brisbane Roar from 2010-11.

The Stats: 'Roarcelona' versus Sydney FC

Sydney need seven points from their last three games to surpass that mark.

City remain locked in a battle for top four spots and will be keen to rebound quickly from a 3-1 loss to a Brendon Santalab-inspired WesternSydneyWanderers last time out.

Michael Valkanis' men remain one of the most watchable sides in the competition - at their best - but need to become more consistent if they're to make an impact in the finals.

City grabbed a share of the points when they last visitedSydney with only a late penalty to Bobo denying them victory in Round 10.

Troisi to City? 'I don't think so' says Valkanis

Valkanis has predicted changes following last week's defeat.

Tim Cahill returns to City's squad, while his Socceroos team-mates Danny Vukovic and Rhyan Grant should line up for the Sky Blues.

ROUTE TO GOAL

Bobo's strike in the 3-0 win in Perth last Sunday took him to a dozen goals for the season and the Brazilian continues to combine very effectively with Filip Holosko inSydney's attacking third.

Alex Brosque (9 goals) and Milos Ninkovic (8) have also been prolific for the runaway premiers, meaning City can't focus their defensive strategy on just one player.

Back-to-back braces from City skipper Bruno Fornaroli have rocketed him back into A-League Golden Boot contention.

But the Uruguayan master will need every weapon in his arsenal to unlock aSydney defence that has conceded just 11 goals all season and last weekend kept a record-equalling 14thclean sheet.

Cahill may return from Socceroos duty via the bench with winger Nick Fitzgerald in sparkling form.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK

SydneyFC. The Sky Blues secured the Premier's Plate with four games to spare when Brisbane beat Melbourne Victory last Saturday, ending a seven-year wait for silverware.

FORM LINES

SydneyFC: LWWWW

Melbourne City: WLWWL

PREDICTION

SydneyFC 2-1 Melbourne City


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