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Australian Football: Victory fight to stay in Finals contention

Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City are both in action to wrap up the Easter weekend, and both have plenty to play for.

It has been a season of differing fortunes for these two sides in 2022/23. City have taken their usual position at the top of the pile, while Victory have fallen down the ladder at an alarming rate.

Even so, Tony Popovic’s men have hit some form in the last few weeks and are still in with an outside chance of making the top six and playing finals.

With that in mind, three points against a Perth Glory side also battling to make the six, is a must. City can breathe a little easier now after Adelaide United were held to a draw against Sydney FC on Good Friday.

It means they have tightened their grip on the minor premiership. Another three points against Wellington Phoenix on Easter Monday will put them in an extremely strong position.

Two big games to look forward to, so let’s take a closer look at the form and team news for both games.

What:Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory
Where:AAMI Park, Melbourne 
When:15:00 (AEST) Sunday 9th April 2023
How to watch:Paramount+ 10Bold
Odds:Victory 1.90, Draw 3.75, Glory 3.80

Melbourne Victory sit five points behind sixth-placed Sydney FC so need to pick up all three points against Perth Glory on Easter Sunday.

The game against Glory is a game in hand on the Sky Blues so they have the opportunity to cut the gap to two points with just four games of the regular season remaining.

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Takeaways from Matchday 22

Victory slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Melbourne City on Wednesday, but before that their form had been good with back-to-back wins over Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix.

They will need a lot of things to go their way before the season is out but they can still be backed at 7.00 to make finals. 

Perth Glory find themselves in a stronger position as they sit seventh and can jump into the six with a victory at AAMI Park. Glory are 4.33 to qualify for finals.

The problem for Glory is the fact their away form is very poor. They have won just once outside of WA this season and that was against the Mariners at the start of the campaign.

So they will need to buck a trend. Victory have no fresh injury or suspension concerns so Tony Popovic just has to decide whether or not to tinker with the side that lost to City.

Glory have welcomed back Jordan Elsey, Antonee Burke-Gilroy and Gio Colli into the squad, but Aaron McEneff has been left out. These two sides are rarely involved in low-scoring affairs and over 2.5 goals can be backed at 1.80.

What:Melbourne City v Wellington Phoenix
Where:AAMI Park, Melbourne
When:16:00 (AEST) Sunday 9th April 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:City 1.50, Draw 4.33, Phoenix 6.50

Melbourne City are four points clear at the top of the ladder and will be able to extend that to seven with a victory over the Nix on Easter Monday.

Adelaide United were getting a little too close for comfort at one stage, but the win over Victory and the Reds dropping two points against Sydney, has opened the gap.

City are now priced at 1.04 to win the minor premiership before heading into finals. They are unbeaten in the last four games, but had drawn two on the bounce before beating Victory 2-1, so it is fair to say they have not been at their fluent best.

But there is still time to hit peak form before targeting Grand Final success. Talking of form, the Phoenix are hitting a bad patch at just the wrong time.

They have lost their last two games and now sit fifth on the ladder, just four points clear of seventh place. There is work to be done to cement their place in finals and they can be backed at 1.14 to make it.

Nix boss Ufuk Talay tinkered with his side for the defeat against Melbourne Victory and may do so again on Monday. David Ball and Clayton Lewis both came off the bench in the second half and will be pushing to start against City.

The home side have no fresh injuries or suspensions and are likely to stick with the side that beat Victory in midweek.

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