PREVIEW OF A-LEAGUE ROUND NINE MATCHES (all times AEDT):
FRIDAY, Dec 6
Melbourne City v Perth Glory at AAMI Park, 7.30pm
Head to head: City 7, Glory 13, drawn 9
Last clash: Round 21, 2018-19, 2-2 draw at AAMI Park
Perth head to Melbourne for the second time in as many weeks, languishing at the bottom of the table and in desperate need of a win. Meanwhile, Erick Mombaerts' side are fresh off the bye but will be stinging after seeing Sydney FC overtake them on the table during their week off - and will be out to prove a point.
Key: Bruno Fornaroli. Perth are struggling to score and who better than the former City captain to help turn things around on the scoreboard?
SATURDAY, Dec 7
Wellington Phoenix v Western Sydney Wanderers at Eden Park, 5pm
Head to head: Phoenix 7, Wanderers 10, drawn 4
Last clash: Round 22, 2018-19, Phoenix 3-1 at Westpac Stadium
The Wanderers head to Auckland acutely aware they need at the very least a draw, if not all three points, to ease the pressure on boss Markus Babbel. The Phoenix are up and about with two wins on the bounce and will be keen to maintain the rage.
Key: Mitch Duke. The Wanderers are conceding goals but right now they're struggling to score, too. Babbel desperately needs his forwards to step up and that includes his captain.
Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar at Jubilee Stadium, 7.30pm
Head to head: Sydney 14, Brisbane 15, drawn 13
Last clash: Round 23, 2018-19, Sydney FC 3-1 at Suncorp Stadium
The Roar are fresh off a good win against the Mariners but face a far sterner task when they travel to Kogarah. The Sky Blues have won four games straight and are in imposing form, with Adam Le Fondre scoring at will.
Key: Tom Aldred. Stopping Sydney FC's array of attacking threats is no easy matter and if the Roar are to have any chance, their skipper will need to lead from the front.
Tip: Sydney FC
SUNDAY, Dec 8
Western United v Melbourne Victory at GMHBA Stadium, 4pm
Head to head: United 1, Victory 0, drawn 0
Last clash: Round 4, 2019-20, United 3-2 at Marvel Stadium
Victory arrested their slide with a gritty 1-0 win over Perth Glory, while United slumped to their third straight win and look to have lost that early-season sparkle. Mark Rudan's side will need to reignite their connection in the final third to turn things around.
Key: Robbie Kruse. The winger turned in a much-needed matchwinning performance against Perth Glory and will want to build on that going forward. Victory look a totally different side with Kruse, Toivonen and Nabbout all available.
Adelaide United v Newcastle Jets at Coopers Stadium, 6pm
Head to head: Adelaide 17, Newcastle, 13, drawn 14
Last clash: Round 3, 2019-20, Adelaide 2-1 at McDonald Jones Stadium
Adelaide were brought crashing back down to earth at the hands of the Phoenix, while the Jets have found form and have two wins on the spin. Expect an improved performance from the Reds after Gertjan Verbeek's post-match scorn.
Key: Riley McGree is in rare form at the moment and has formed an impressive combination with James Troisi. If Merrick is to secure all three points, he'll need to find a way to dismantle that chemistry - it could be a big evening for Steven Ugarkovic.
BYE: Central Coast Mariners.