MELBOURNE VICTORY V PERTH GLORY Friday night, AAMI Park

Two teams considered premiership contenders will do battle to kick things off in Round 9.

These teams, however, aren't on the same trajectory at this stage with Melbourne on the rise and Perth on the decline.

When having a quick look at the ladder you can see there are just two spots and two points between the teams which, on paper, promises to be a tight contest but when you look a little deeper the clues to finding the winner in this match appear far more obvious.

INJURY CONCERNS
Kenny Lowe's outfit have been big disappointments in general over the last month or so and that was never more evident than last weekend.

Heading to the Central Coast, Perth lost Josh Risdon in the warm-up and then key playmaker Diego Castro during the match on their way to a 2-0 defeat.

That was their third loss in four away games this season so it doesn't augur well for them here.

MARVELLOUS MELBOURNE
How good are Melbourne Victory playing at the moment?

Kevin Muscat's side have won four of their last five games and kept clean sheets in their last two. What's more, Victory have been lethal at home by winning three of their four games with the only loss being to Melbourne City back in Round 2.

HOW IT PANS OUT
Melbourne are playing some nice football and another win definitely looms here.

Having disposed of the Wanderers and Jets and outscoring them 5-0 in the process, it appears Kevin Muscat's side has finally hit their straps after a slow start to the campaign.

The only glitch in recent times for them was back in Round 5 when they dropped a 2-1 decision to Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium in a game they could have easily won.

They look strong all over the park, virtually injury-free and are primed to score their first win against Perth since last year's FFA Cup Final.

While Perth has managed two wins in their last three encounters with Melbourne, those wins have been at home while the lone draw during that run came at AAMI Park.

Not sure why the Glory look half the team on the road than they are when they're at home, however, if you want to be a serious contender in this league you need to learn to win away games.

The Glory has been outshot two goals to one in their trips away from nib Stadium and currently boast the worst defence in the entire league. On that basis it is difficult to go past Melbourne here.

THE TIP: Melbourne Victory

TOTAL GOALS OVER/UNDER 2.5: Go the Overs as Perth’s defence hasn’t exactly been solid of late
Melbourne Victory - 1pt @ 1.62
Over 2.5 Goals - 1pt @ 1.57