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Australian Football: Melbourne Victory v Western United

The final game of Matchday 20 takes place on Monday and sees Melbourne Victory and Western United clash in a battle at the bottom of the ladder.

A shock win for Perth Glory over Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night meant Western United slipped to 10th place on the ladder. Victory are at the very bottom but now have a couple of games in hand on most of the teams above them and can jump up a good few places on the ladder if they win them both.

Western are not out of the mix for making the top six either but need to get on a good run of form if they are to have any chance of playing finals.

Avoiding the wooden spoon will also be on the mind of both clubs and they will be relieved to see Brisbane Roar slip to a 2-1 defeat to Melbourne City this weekend. Roar are in 11th spot on the ladder and are priced at 2.75 to finish bottom and pick up the wooden spoon.

With just six games of the regular season remaining there is a lot riding on Monday’s game so let’s take a closer look at both teams as kick-off fast approaches.

What:Melbourne Victory v Western United
Where:AAMI Park
When:18:00 (AEST) Monday 13th March 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Victory 1.95, Draw 3.50, Western 3.90

Victory need a response

Melbourne Victory looked to be on their way back following a win over Melbourne City, which was backed up with a draw against Adelaide United. However as has been the case all season, Victory have struggled for consistency and that is one of the reasons they find themselves at the bottom of the ladder.

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In Matchday 19 they slipped to a 1-0 defeat against Sydney FC in the ‘big blue’ and now need to make sure they bounce back against Western. They do have a daunting run of fixtures coming up with games against Central Coast Mariners, Western Sydney Wanderers and Wellington Phoenix all on the horizon.

So this next game and the one against Perth Glory are absolute must-win for Tony Popovic’s side. Scoring goals remains a problem for Victory. They did score three in the thrilling derby win over City but have scored just one goal in the last two games. Indeed they have scored just 20 goals all season.

Only Brisbane Roar have scored less. So we could be in for a cagey low-scoring affair against Western. Under 2.5 goals can be backed at 2.10, with over 2.5 available at 1.72. Missing star players through injury has also been an issue for Victory throughout the season and they will be missing Jake Brimmer once again.

The star playmaker has a knee injury and will be ruled out. Luis Nani is also ruled out and Popovic is expected to name the same side that slipped to defeat against Sydney FC. 

Aloisi pens new deal

Western United may have had a season to forget after winning the Grand Final in 2021/22 but they still have every faith in coach John Aloisi. So much so he has just put pen-to-paper on a new contract and is seen as the man to take the club forward.

Aloisi signing should give Western a huge boost heading into the game. It could give the players a lift and prove to be the difference if the game is tight. Western are also starting to find their form at the right time having won their last two games against Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory.

A third win on the bounce could take them up to seventh place on the ladder, just two points behind Sydney FC in sixth so there is plenty at stake. Western also have a tough run in with games against the Mariners, Sydney FC and Melbourne City to come so the next two games against Victory and Brisbane Roar are massive.

Noah Bolic is the man of the moment for Western having scored three goals in the last two games and he will be out to keep that good run of form going. Bolic can be backed at 3.00 to score at anytime during the game and 7.50 to score the first goal of the game.

Western will have to do without James Troisi who is injured for the game, but Jacob Tratt is back in the squad while Sebastian Pasquali and Adisu Bayew have both been included in Aloisi’s squad.

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