Two Melbourne Victory fans not able to go to the game. Two separate cities. One in Melbourne. One in Canberra. One at a bar. One at home. One doesn’t have access twitter so starts texting the other. This is the result.
Posts Tagged ‘central coast mariners’
So who would have thought that it would take twenty-one matches for someone to realise the key to Melbourne Victory’s success would be a functional midfield. Who would have thought? How much do they pay these people?
Way back in October not long after the season had started even I could see that the problem with the Victory’s lack of early season success was down to a massive hole in midfield. That hole resulted in a disconnection between the attacking members of the team and those mainly tasked with doing defensive duties. Up until the weekend under Jim Magilton’s reign we had seen that gaping hole still there which resulted in countless long balls hoofed up to our five foot nothing forwards only to be cleared predictably by their opponents. In the derby it resulted in Kristian Sarkies having so much time on the ball that he was actually able to hit a pass to a teammate and not an opposition player. It resulted in some of the most dire football that I have even seen from the Victory, even worse than some of the crap dished up in our first season.1
So disheartened by the derby performance last week I was about to write a diatribe on why Magilton wasn’t the man for the Melbourne Victory job in the long term but time constraints and suitable lack of inspiration and swear words meant that I only wrote about one hundred words before Friday night’s kickoff. In many ways I am glad that I didn’t write that diatribe because Friday night’s performance gave me a glimmer of hope that I thought may have already been killed off. In light of that I will reserve my judgement on the Northern Irishman (or Scotsman if you read Australia’s most popular newspaper as voted by themselves) until the end of season.
So what was actually different from the previous twenty matches that allowed the team to play what appeared to be a functional and vaguely entertaining brand of football with a midfield that actually worked against the Central Coast Mariners. Well after some pretty dire football in the last couple of weeks Magilton actually decided to do something different. Recent loan signing Mark Milligan was moved to the centre of midfield from the centre of defence, a change brought about mostly by the recent signing (to the end of the season I think) of Spanish defender Ubay Luzardo, played his first game in the blue and white on Friday night. Paired with Milligan was Jimmy Jeggo (whose very name conjures up images of millions of swooning Korean girls - don’t google that by the way), who picked up his first ever start. This midfield combination was in stark contrast to the previous combination of Broxham and Brebner as it was more mobile and could actual provide that much need link between defence and attack. In other words it provided some fluidity to the Melbourne midfield. Up ahead from right to left were Marco Rojas, Carlos Hernandez (who made a much needed return to the starting XI) and Harry Kewell. These three played behind Archie Thompson, who reprised his role as the lone striker. Some may have called it a 4-4-1-1 formation but I prefer to call it a 4-2-3-1 formation as illustrated below. But no matter what you call it, the main thing was that it actually worked.
So there you have it a functional midfield which gave us a team that played liked a team and not a collection of individuals and instantly things look a bit better on the pitch. Let’s hope that continues this week against Brisbane Roar and we don’t again resort to old habits.
To label the A-League off season interminable is somewhat of an understatement but never fear we are only days away from the action kicking off. In light of that I finally got around to writing a season preview for The Elastico, the first part part of which you can read here. All I can say is that I’m glad I left Newcastle for the second part.
In my last post I stated that I our two matches over the Christmas/New Year period would surely define our season and went as far as to say that two wins would be perfect and the team duly delivered. Those two wins against both Newcastle Jets and Central Coast Mariners made it four wins in a row and seven games unbeaten for the Victory. With a match tonight against the Wellington Phoenix there is every opportunity to make it five in a row.
With Robbie Kruse being absent for the next month with the Socceroos Asian Cup squad and Archie Thompson still out through injury it will be interesting to see if we contain our recent scoring record. The striking responsibilities now lie with Ricardinho and the returning Danny Allsopp, a combination that has yet to see pitch time together and fans will be hoping that they can gel quickly as the Victory look to maintain their recent momentum. It will be key in the team’s charge to a higher ladder position.
With 2010 coming to an end I have taken the opportunity to undertake my annual review in my latest piece for Australian FourFourTwo, which you can read here. Let’s hope 2011 is a better one for Victory fans than the previous one.
In the lead up to Thursday night’s match against the Central Coast Mariners, Ernie Merrick clearly articulated that a win was what the Victory needed in order to still have any chance of a top two finish. So I guess you can say with some assurance after the 2-2 draw that any slim chance we had of the double chance disappeared out the proverbial window.
Based on the first half performance from the Victory it looked like Merrick’s motivational skills were simply not working. For the most part, the team looked insipid, disinterested and lacklustre. In fact, it looked a lot like the team that rocked up again Perth Glory the week before. Apart from some neat interchanges between Angulo and Thompson there was very little to write home about. Add to that we also copped a goal to a typical Central Coast sucker punch.
The second half came and it appeared to be more of the same until BANG, a cheeky Vargas back heel and sumptuous Carlos Hernandez free kick within three minutes of each other saw the confidence return to both the players and the fans. For a good period of time this was the team we all know and love and were tearing the Mariners to shreds. If it wasn’t for some poor finishing we could have knocked in a few more.
And it was that profligacy in front of goal that would ultimately cost us all three points as corner that shouldn’t have been found it’s way across the goal line and the hearts of many Victory fans were broken. What looked like it good have been a season turning win just turned out to be like many other games this year and in the process put a serious dent in what is left of our confidence.
It was good to see Merrick give Angulo his second start in succession, something that has never happened before and the Costa Rican is showing signs that the extended game time is doing wonders as he put in what I would consider a best on ground performance. For his confidence and that of the team I can only hope that Merrick sees fit to give him an extended run and that he also puts one of his many chances in the back of the net.
I must admit after the game a red mist descended over my eyes and it was probably a good thing that I didn’t have access to twitter let alone this blog in the minutes after the match had concluded. This was mainly to do with the pathetic display of refereeing that Gerard Parsons again displayed. I have already put forward my thoughts on the poor excuse for a referee a while back and that there is no need to repeat it here but I dread the next time he is in charge of a Victory game.
So now with rather an extended break at hand and a little over half the season gone it provides the team with a much needed opportunity to rest tired bodies and minds and make a concerted push for the finals when they return.
Getting the three points against Central Coast on Saturday night was almost sufficient payback for our two home defeats against the Mariners.
The match highlighted that our tactics in our previous two encounters were way off the mark. Straight from the kick off you could see that the Victory wouldn’t be sucked into trying to match the physicality of the Mariners. If it wasn’t for some incorrect calls from the linesman we may very well have hit the lead much earlier than we did.
The three goals were brilliant examples of great team goals and surely Thompson’s role in two of the three surely would have caught the eye of Pim Verbeek, who was watching from the stands.
Another who may have caught his eye and the eye of many others would have been Mitchell Langerak. Since getting his opportunity after Glen Moss was “rested”, Langerak has made the position his own. On Saturday night, he pulled off a number of great saves and we could be seeing Moss spending an extended period on the bench with performances like that.
For more of my thoughts on the game and my gentle swipe at Lawrie McKinna’s tweeting, check out my latest 442 blog.
So it wasn’t quite the start we were hoping for on Thursday night and my attempts at repeating last year’s fortunes with my style of dress were for nought. What puzzled me most about the match was some of Merrick’s tactics which seemed to hark back to our last title defence. It puzzled me so much that I chose to write about it for my latest 442 blog, which you can read here.
Also my attempts to spend all of the game in the southern end were somewhat stifled by those behind the ticket window. However, with the aide of Guido, of The accidental Australian fame, I managed to sneak in for the second half. To avoid any further problems in gaining access to future games the following day I upgraded my General Admin membership to a South End Membership for the rest of the season.
First home game of the season last time around saw me get dressed up for the occasion. That time around we put five goals past Newcastle and set the scene for what was the most part a pretty successful season. So with tonight’s opening game of the A-League season being also Melbourne’s first home game I thought I would continue the theme for the start of this season. Hopefully we will get a similar result. This season will also see myself become more of an active supporter, so if you see a smartly dressed young man in the southern end tonight, come over and say hello.
Tip for tonight: Melbourne 2 Central Coast 0
The FFA released its draw for the 2009/10 A-League season today with Melbourne kicking the season off with a clash against the Central Coast Mariners on the 6th August 2009. And before you go rushing off to your diaries to check what day that is - its a Thursday. It’s not the ideal way to start off a season with it being a “school” night for many spectators and thus a smaller than expected crowd to kick off the season.
Another bone of contention is the fact the finals series has been extended to include six teams. So now, its more difficult to not get in the finals that it is to get in. With the expanded competition, the finals system should have stayed as is at four or at most five. At six, it is a bit of a farce and demeans the whole process. Maybe its a ploy to ensure new boys Gold Coast make the finals.
Speaking of the new boys, Melbourne will play North Queensland for the first time in Round 3 at Dairy Farmer’s Stadium and get their first glimpse of Gold Coast United in Round 8 at Skilled Park.
Bring it on!
My name is Neil Zimmerman and its been forty-seven days since I last watched the Melbourne Victory play at the Telstra Dome.
Should be a cracking top of the table clash with both teams in excellent form leading up to the match. Whose firepower will reign supreme? And more importantly will the fans boo Adrian Caceres?