Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Victory

Phoenix were beaten convincingly 3-0 at City last weekend and their hopes of reaching the Finals have long since gone as they trail Victory in 6th by 12 points. The Champions took a big step towards booking their spot in the playoffs with their win over the Wanderers and were also helped by Sydney’s defeat at Brisbane.

Phoenix have won three of their last seven but the defeat at City means they’ve now lost their last two. Their home record this season is W4-D2-L5, but four of those defeats have come in their last five home games. Two of those five losses have come against fellow bottom-three sides as Ernie Merrick’s side have a W4-D1-L3 record against top-six teams, with two of those defeats coming against Perth as they’ve already beaten the top-three and Victory themselves at the Westpac Stadium. Five of these eight games saw at least three goals and it’s also worth noting that Phoenix trailed at the break in each of those defeats, which came in their last four home matches.

Victory’s win over the Wanderers was only their second in nine matches as they, along with Sydney, have struggled to balance the Asian Champions League with domestic competition this term. Their away record is W3-D3-L7, though only two of those defeats have come in their last six road matches. When travelling to bottom-three sides this season they’re W2-D1-L1 as two of their three away wins have come against these teams, with the other against 7th placed Sydney. The Champions have also been boosted by the return to training of their skipper Carl Valeri after it was expected that he would miss the rest of the season and he has a chance of playing a part in this one.

With no Asian Champions League to concern themselves with this week and with Phoenix arguably in the worst form they’ve been in all season, Victory look a very backable price in this one at 2.3. They’ve proven adept at winning at teams lower down in the division as eight of their nine away wins since the start of last season have come against bottom-four teams and we think they can build on their upturn in form, particularly on the road, here.

Recommendation: Melbourne Victory to Win at 2.3

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Melbourne Victory - 1pt @ 2.30