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Australia A-League - Match Prediction: Melbourne City VS Western Sydney
Match Time：3/26/2021 16:05 Friday (GMT+8)
Australia A-League -- Melbourne City VS Western Sydney
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Two of Australia's form sides square off on Friday as Melbourne City welcome Western Sydney Wanderers to the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium. A run of five consecutive victories has seen the hosts rise to fourth in the Australian A-League table, while the Sydney outfit sit in second spot, just three points behind league leaders Central Coast Mariners thanks to a three-match winning run of their own.
Melbourne City stretched their winning run to five games last time out, as Jamie Maclaren and Nathan Atkinson fired them to a crucial 2-0 home victory over league leaders Central Coast Mariners. That followed impressive wins over Sydney FC, Macarthur, and most notably, an eye-catching 6-0 win over city rivals Melbourne Victory.
Also included in that run was a 2-0 win away at Western Sydney Wanderers, as a Maclaren brace sealed an important victory over Friday's opponents.
As a result of their impressive run, Patrick Kisnorbo's side now sit just one point behind Western Sydney Wanderers in second spot, and four points behind the Mariners, with two games in hand on both sides.
That means a win would move them above Friday's opponents and into the top three, while closing the distance between themselves and Central Coast Mariners at the summit of the division.
However, they take on a Western Sydney Wanderers side who have returned to form since that defeat to Melbourne City, and will be looking to return the favour on Friday.
Last time out, the Sydney outfit recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory over Perth Glory, as Mitchell Duke netted a brace before James Troisi added a third to cap off a good day at the office for Carl Robinson's side.
Before that, they secured a narrow victory in an eye-catching encounter with Wellington Phoenix, as the Nix took the lead on three separate occasions, before Kwame Yeboah eventually netted an 84th-minute winner to seal a 4-3 win for Robinson's men. That upturn in form has seen the Wanderers move just three points behind the league leaders, with a win on Friday potentially moving them to the top of the table, at least until the Mariners play on Saturday.
Despite the recent defeat to Friday's opponents, Robinson will be encouraged by the fact that his side are yet to lose an away game in the A-League this season, having picked up 12 points from their six games on the road so far this campaign.
However, they face arguably their toughest task yet next up, as they take on a Sky Blues side who are storming towards the top of the league.
Melbourne City Australian A-League form: LWWWWW
Western Sydney Wanderers Australian A-League form: DLLWWW
Melbourne City will remain without midfielder Aiden O'Neill, who has been out since January with a lower back injury.
The Sky Blues could also be without centre-back Nuno Reis, who was forced off after just 20 minutes in the win over Central Coast Mariners, with Adrian Luna expected to return to the starting lineup in his absence.
Their line will be led by Jamie Maclaren, who has hit a strong run of form in recent weeks, registering eight goals and three assists in his last five appearances.
He will be supported by the wide threat of Craig Noone and Andrew Nabbout, with the pair offering a major boost going forward.
Western Sydney Wanderers have managed to keep their squad fairly unscathed by injuries so far this campaign, with goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic the only absentee.
Mitchell Duke will lead the line with confidence, having found the net three times in his last two games.
Experienced midfielder Jordon Mutch will be looking to return to the starting side on Friday, with Robinson potentially opting to play him alongside Graham Dorrans.
Melbourne City possible starting lineup:
Glover; Atkinson, Good, Luna, Jamieson; Metcalfe, Griffiths; Nabbout, Berenguer, Noone; Maclaren
Western Sydney Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Margush; Gordon, McGowan, Natta; Russell, Mutch, Dorrans, Wilmering; Troisi, Ibini-Isei; Duke
Melbourne City VS Western Sydney Wanderers
Melbourne City 2-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
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