What’s going wrong at the Victory?
No goals again for the Melbourne Victory. I’m not sure whether to be happy or concerned. Melbourne’s defense seems to have sorted itself out, and we hope it continues that way, although it appears the Victory’s attack force is firing one week and non-evident the next.
There is one reason why I believe we can’t find the net with such a consistency this season, that is, we don’t have a physically imposing forward.
Allsopp was our go-to man for seasons, and helped us to premierships. When he departed early last season it was evident where we were missing him. I believe we still do. Too often we rely on Hernandez to rip apart defenses, which although we all know he can do, can be difficult at some times even for him.
Obviously we are missing Thompson at the moment, even when he’s not scoring goals; he is attracting the crowds and firing up the team. Do not underestimate the importance of a tall forward though.
Ricardinho, the man who has been given our number 9 shirt, so much has been promised, and although it’s early days, we are struggling to see him make an impact. I know that personally, I have the utmost faith in him to start performing brilliantly and consistently very soon and am looking forward to see a lot more of him.
Although, there is one thing I’m not too sure on. When the ball is hoisted downfield from our defense, Ricardinho is made to jump to challenge for the ball in the air, and to his credit, he usually gets a head on it. The problem is, the ball often skids off his head and goes straight to the opposition’s defense and we are back to where we started.
Someone tell me, why a player like him, who we have been told is fast and resembles the play of Archie, is challenging for these headers when someone else could easily be doing this which would let Ricardinho be there to receive the knock on? Or if it’s so essential that he’s the one doing it, why aren’t we seeing our other players get in behind him to receive that through ball? Back in the day, Allsopp would jump for these and attempt to get his head on it, and when he did, Thompson was running off him to collect it.
Looking through the other A-League clubs, we see that almost every club has a forward with a strong physical presence. Melbourne Heart has John Aloisi and co. Adelaide has their Sergio. The Roar has their Reinaldo. And even the name Robbie Fowler is something all of Perth’s opponents fear. Then look at the Victory, sure we have some serious pace going forward, but what do we do when the defense outmuscles us?
Basically what I’m trying to say, we need to show the A-League that not only our defense is physically present. Sure we have our Muscat and Leijer who are constantly giving attacks a hard time, but where’s our argy-bargy up forward?
Our attack needs to be harder to the ball, hungrier for goals, and more ruthless.
Just like against the Roar where we managed to slam three goals past them. Ricardinho’s goal was nothing more than determination and hard work, and it showed that it prevails. Brebner’s was pure force, thumping it into the back of the net.
There’s nothing better than seeing an attacker legitimately knock a defender to the ground out of pure strength.
And there’s nothing worse than seeing your forward fall over in an attempt to receive a free kick and be booked for simulation.
Melbourne is sitting well at the moment though, and what I’ve said is only some points to think about. We aren’t losing, which is a positive, and we still have Thompson and Kemp in the stands hungry for action. When our entire squad is fit, I believe we will be a force to be reckoned with.
Hernandez, Thompson, Kruse, Ricardinho, Grant Brebner, Kellway and Mate, all in the line-up at the same time, we are bound to have a landslide of goals and we’ll all be on the edge of our seats. Hopefully.