Posts Tagged ‘adrian leijer’

A new man but still a bit of same old, same old

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

So there we have it. Jim Magilton’s first game in charge of Melbourne Victory. We may all have been hoping for a first up win but unfortunately Adelaide United didn’t get the message and the match ended 1-1 in what was must be said was a very cliched match of two halves.

For those expecting dramatic changes in his first game would have been sadly disappointed as the starting line-up was pretty much the same the played the weekend before against Newcastle with the only change being the inclusion of Adrian Leijer for Petar Franjic, which was hardly a suprising move. What was interesting was Magilton’s use of the bench with Jean Carlos Solorzano, Diogo Ferreira and the aforementioned Franjic being his substitutes. For someone who is probably used to having a larger bench it was interesting that for his substitutes he went for a striker, midfielder and a defender along with the mandatory goalkeeper. It was a fairly conservative choice and I’m sure we will see a different bench once he gets used to having only a four man bench.

As I alluded to in my opening it was a game of two halves as the Victory shot out of blocks at the start of their game as has been their want of late and save for the efforts of Eugene Galekovic, the woodwork and some poor finishing the home team could well have been more than a goal up come the half time whistle. Kewell continued his recent renaissance out of the left and it was his early match trickery that not only set up the first goal but also created a plethora of other chances that unfortunately weren’t converted. He combined well on in the left hand-side with Fabio, who had his best game for the club although apart from a few blemishes has been pretty consistent throughout the season. It wasn’t all just Kewell in that early match dominance with Hernandez, Thompson and Allsopp all looking dangerous.

However as been the case through most of the season the team couldn’t put a whole match together as Adelaide fought their way back into the match and dominated much of the second half, save for a few chances for the Victory. Whilst the first half was full of free-flowing football the second half was in stark contrast as we resorted to long hopeful balls to the forwards as the connection between defence to midfield and beyond seemed to disappear. After a pleasing first half it was a little disappointing to see the team resort to type in the second half as the opposition stepped up their game and for most of the time looked bereft of ideas.

There is obviously plenty of work for Magilton to do in the coming weeks but his first up effort obviously displeased Australia’s self-proclaimed football oracle No. 1 Barcelona fan, Craig Foster who had probably been saving this piece up all week. This prompted a misguided twitter response from Robbie Slater, who is personal friend of Magilton which in turn prompted this well-written response by Mike Tuckerman on The Roar which pretty much summed up the thoughts of most level-headed football supporters who have a dose of reality unlike the aforementioned Foster and Slater.

In search of the right combination

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

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Two games, one point, zero goals. It’s not exactly the start we would have liked down in here sunny Melbourne with the only joy being taken in the fact the Heart have yet to earn themselves a point. A very small point of joy indeed.

Whilst many are calling for Durakovic’s head already I believe it all comes down to finding the right combination and where to play that man Kewell. The back four remained unchanged from the weekend before and despite Fabio’s mistake for the second week in a row that this time costing a goal it is the combination that our manager has actually got right. This however will be tested next week with the absence of our captain from the line-up. Hopefully from our point of view, Franjic gets another chance to impress as did when called upon last year.

Moving forward up the field, Leigh Broxham and Grant Brebner were played at the base of the midfield with the returning Carlos Hernandez playing in a central role. Interchanging on both flanks were Archie Thompson and Marco Rojas with Kewell playing the lone man up front. Whilst the lone striker is good in theory, especially on the road, it didn’t exactly work against an impressive Adelaide back four. What was key to Kewell’s performance from the week before was ability to link with the striker as well as those out wide. Playing as a lone striker left him completely isolated and unable to influence the match in any way shape or form. What will be key to Melbourne’s form this season is how Kewell and Hernandez can be both slotted into the midfield. But until both are properly match fit it might be a good idea to have only one in there for the time being.

As the match itself after short period of dominance, the Victory became very disjointed as Adelaide started to impose themselves on the game. Their defence, which looks one of the best in the league, shut down almost all opportunities and having Kewell, who is not a natural striker, as the out-and-out striker played a little into their hands. When Solorzano made it out on the pitch we did look a little better, but by then the horse had well and truly bolted, especially after the sending off of Leijer. Adelaide’s solitary goal came from a simple mistake and the Victory did well to hold them out for the last thirty or so minutes being a man down through a combination of luck, poor Adelaide finishing and some good defending. It wasn’t quite the pillaging that Fox Sports commentator John Kosmina alluded to but it wasn’t exactly great either.

Next week it is the derby and both teams have a lot riding on the outcome, considering our relative positions on the table. Where Melbourne will win it, will be in the front third and hopefully it’s third time lucky as Durakovic looks for the right attacking combination.

It all comes down to this

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

A-League - Round 26 - Melbourne Victory v North Queensland Fury - 2 Feb 2010

Next Sunday looms as one of the biggest games in the very short history of the A-League as Melbourne and Sydney battle it out for the much coveted Premier’s Plate and with it automatic qualification for the ACL.

For Melbourne, who are guaranteed a top two finish and the double chance will be looking to create history and become the first team to win back-to-back premierships. It will be interesting to see how the Victory back up against Sydney, especially in the continued absence of both Thompson and Muscat. Whilst it didn’t seem to effect the team against the Fury, Sydney is definitely a step up in class. Here’s hoping we get a repeat performance from Carlos Hernandez, who was at his brilliant best against the Fury.

It was also good to see Adrian Leijer step up to the plate as he took the captain’s armband for the first time. It suited him and you would have to say he is a frontrunner for the role once Kevin Muscat hangs up his boots.

Digressing a little, last week was certainly a topsy-turvy one and this was my topic of discussion in my latest 442 blog, which you can read here. You will also notice that my blog for 442 as I decided to go with ‘V is for Victory’.