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Victory poised to burst Sydney's bubble

AAP logoAAP 4/11/2016 Jason Phelan

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat sees Saturday night's much-anticipated clash against Sydney FC as an opportunity to burst the A-League leaders' bubble.

As far as propositions go in the A-League right now, they don't come much more daunting than playing the Sky Blues at Allianz Stadium.

Graham Arnold's side is undefeated, three points clear at the top of the table and haven't conceded a goal after four rounds.

Muscat concedes Victory are the underdogs going into the first Big Blue of the season, but is confident his side travels to Sydney expecting success rather than hoping for it.

"We're going at the top of the table team who haven't conceded a goal, they're title favourites, FFA Cup favourites - you name it - but we still go there with no fear," Muscat said on Friday.

"I certainly feel that and the group certainly feels that.

"We'll go across to Sydney where we've done well in terms of performances, certainly in my time.

"What better way to go there and burst Sydney's bubble?"

Muscat agreed the ladder doesn't lie as an indicator of form but believes it's too early in the season to declare Arnold's side the stand out team in the competition.

"There's a lot of factors you need to go into," he said.

"This is our third trip in (five) rounds and Sydney have left New South Wales once in four rounds.

"So it will work itself out in time. At this point in time they've performed very well."

Victory are riding high after their 6-1 drubbing of Wellington Phoenix last week that moved them into third spot on the ladder, five points adrift of Sydney.

The only sour note was the loss of Daniel Georgievski, who is out for up to a month with a broken collarbone.

Skipper Carl Valeri and German import Maxi Beister won't travel with the team, with Muscat taking a patient approach as the duo work into peak fitness.

"We're not in the business of taking risks so early in the season," he said.

"Carl's got through near enough everything but at this point in time I don't see the point.

"Maxi won't be in the squad either. I just feel that there are players in the team that are ahead of him in terms of fitness at this point in time so we won't put him at risk.

"He's improved ... he's been here just over a week now, so it's still early. We estimated that it was going to take some time."

STATS THAT MATTER:

* Melbourne Victory are undefeated in their last nine games against Sydney FC (W4, D5)

* Graham Arnold is yet to defeat a Victorian side at home as Sydney manager (D4, L2)

* Besart Berisha has scored three goals in Victory's last four games against Sydney, one-third of his team's total in that run

* Sydney have five successive clean sheets; no side has ever gone six games without conceding

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