Preview: Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Victory

Central Coast Mariners host Melbourne Victory in Round 8 of the 2013-14 Hyundai A-League season at Bluetongue Stadium on Friday, November 29 at 7.30pm AEDT.

Central Coast Mariners host Melbourne Victory in Round 8 of the 2013-14 Hyundai A-League season at Bluetongue Stadium on Friday, November 29 at 7.30pm AEDT.

Head-to-head: Played: 27, Wins: Mariners 11, Victory 9, Draws: 7

Previous encounter: Mariners 1-0 Victory, April 14 2013

Form: Past five matches:

Mariners: WLDWD Victory: WLLWW

The Game: These Friday night free-to-air games just keep getting better. Last week we had the big first-versus-second showdown between Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney and it didn't disappoint. Next up is the Mariners, in their first home game under new head coach Phil Moss, riding high after a last-gasp win away to Perth Glory. They welcome Melbourne Victory to Gosford fresh from a convincing 3-0 triumph at home Adelaide despite playing with 10 men for the entire second half of that game.

Victory have plenty of unfinished business at Bluetongue - they were on the wrong end of a 6-2 thrashing there last season, and saw their finals challenge end at the same venue in the semi-finals later in the campaign. A trip to tackle the champions, who are still warming to their title defence, will be a major test of Victory's credentials under their own rookie boss Kevin Muscat.

The big issue: Mariners - Does Phil Moss have what it takes to continue the impressive work done by Graham Arnold? He made a strong start in the top job last weekend, altering the Mariners' travel plans and subsequently ending their sequence of negative results out west. But plenty of challenges remain, and we are set to discover just how much the ability of the tiny club to punch far above their weight was down to Arnold. Should the credit be spread more evenly across the club? The visit of Victory can teach us more about what to expect from the champions under their new management.

Victory - Do the Victory have a problem away from home? The navy blue and whites are yet to win on the road this season, coming from 2-0 down to draw in Adelaide, before suffering successive defeats in the Harbour City to Sydney FC and the Wanderers. We know they've endured an unhappy time in Gosford in recent seasons. This week's game represents an opportunity to end that run and make a statement of intent to the rest of the competition.

The game breaker: Marcos Flores - The Argentine playmaker underwhelmed at Victory after being unveiled to great fanfare prior to the 2012-13 campaign. His rehabilitation with the Mariners has been promising enough to date, but it remains to be seen if he can fully recapture the magic that set the league alight during his time with Adelaide in 2010-11. Surely the visit of the club which played him out of position and then tossed him aside is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate his true worth?

Watch a live video stream of the Harvey Norman Friday night football match between the Mariners and Victory from 7:30pm AEDT tonight in the Live Match Centre (only available on desktop computers).