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Kevin Muscat predicts A-League goalfest

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/10/2016 Ben McKay

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat wants to achieve lift-off for his side's A-League campaign in Monday night's clash with Wellington Phoenix.

Victory have yet to fire on all cylinders this season.

Their last-out win over Adelaide brought their first three points of the campaign but was far from the 90-minute performance that all managers crave.

When the Nix arrive - with former Victory players Kosta Barbarouses and Gui Finkler in tow - Muscat has one prediction: goals.

"In all of our games, we've (not) not scored in one game," he said.

"If you look back on this fixture in the past I think there will be quite a few chances at each end.

"It'll be a good spectacle with a lot of goalmouth incidents."

There's a feeling that Victory have their best football in front of them this season, with only Marco Rojas delivering consistently top-notch performances to date.

Against the Nix, Muscat can add James Troisi to his attacking mix, after the Socceroo proved his fitness from a broken collarbone suffered in round one.

But captain Carl Valeri (sore hamstring) and new signing Max Beister won't be available, meaning another reshuffle will be required for the Etihad Stadium match.

The 43-year-old coach said he would likely stick with Rashid Mahazi in the middle after "doing very well" in Tuesday night's FFA Cup derby defeat.

With Troisi likely to return from the bench, at least one of Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Mitch Austin and Jai Ingham will have the chance to shine.

It's those three that are in the gun when Troisi and Beister gain full fitness.

Muscat hopes his well-stocked attacking ranks lifts everyone's standards.

"We want to be a little bit more aggressive (going forward) but it's an accumulation of things," he said.

If Victory have stuttered their way through the opening three rounds, Wellington have just about flat-lined.

The Kiwi side, coached by former Victory boss Ernie Merrick, have yet to score a goal or grab a point but Muscat believes - like many - they've been unlucky to date.

Muscat said he wanted his pair of title-winners, Barbarouses and Finkler, to be cheered but for their unlucky streak to continue on Monday.

"Both (Kosta) and Gui have shared some good memories at this football club and i'm sure our members and fans will show them the respect they deserve."

STATS THAT MATTER

* Phoenix has just one two wins in 23 games in Melbourne - but Victory have just one win themselves in their last nine against A-League opposition in their home town.

* Wellington have yet to score a goal or tally any points this season.

* Besart Berisha has scored three times in his last three against the Phoenix but was sent off in their last meeting.

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