Adelaide United hosted Melbourne Victory on Friday night in a match that always stirs the passions of the fans. In an electric atmosphere, the hosts defeated the Victory 1-0 through an opportunistic Sergio van Dijk goal. Here is what I learnt.
1. What a difference a week makes
Compare the reaction after last week’s game against Sydney to this week. The reaction after this week’s game on twittersphere was extraordinary after this game.
Apparently, Mehmet Durakovic should be sacked, Carlos Hernandez shouldn’t start ever again and Harry Kewell is a waste of money. My belief is that a side with plenty of attacking options is going to take time to adjust.
This side needs to figure out what is the best set-up, and fast. It is going to take time, just not sure how much time there is for the Victory to do so.
2. The defence is thin
Here is the Victory’s defensive stocks available for this week’s Melbourne derby: Vargas, Fabio, Foschini, Franjic, Ferreira and Broxham with the last two names there midfielders more than backs. A little thin, isn’t it?
Adrian Leijer, as captain, should have known better than to get himself sent off. His suspension leaves a gaping hole in defence, one I’m not sure how will be plugged.
3. Might be time to change shape
The last two games have seen the Victory start in a 4-2-3-1. Against Adelaide, Kewell started as the lone striker with Carlos Hernandez in the hole.
It might be time for Archie Thompson and Kewell to start together up the front. Harry was isolated alone starting as the lone striker and Archie wasn’t at all effective out wide.
I’d suggest a 4-1-3-2, with Kewell and Archie up the front, Rojas and Cernak on the wings, Hernandez in behind and Brebner screening.
4. Durakovic needs to use his subs better
A few curious decisions from Mehm on the sidelines against Adelaide. I agreed with Solorzano on for Thompson (who struggled), but taking off Rojas (who was clearly the best player for the Victory) was questionable.
5. Try Isaka Cernak at defensive midfield
Cernak is a player that works hard, can tackle and win possession. Mehm could do worse than placing ‘Izzy’ as a holding mid, possibly next to Grant Brebner or even in place of the feisty Scot.
Final point: There should be no panicking from the Victory now. Things are going to take time, and I’m confident that the problems they have at the moment will be sorted out.
1.What a difference a week makes
United were very poor against the Glory away the week before. The Adelaide team that played the Victory looked a markedly different team to the one that played in Perth and in a much better way
2. Dario Vidosic will have a big season
Vidosic wasn’t quite ready for his sides trip to Perth the other week, but he was the key for Adelaide against the Victory.
Starting behind van Dijk in a 4-2-3-1, Vidosic looked in good touch and was probably man of the match. Against Perth, United looked like they were missing a quality touch in the midfield and now they have got it in Vidosic.
He will form a great partnership with van Dijk.
3. Susak and McKain are rock solid
The new Adelaide defensive pairing are quality pick-ups for Adelaide. Milan Susak, ex-Brisbane defender, put in a very strong performance against the Victory, possibly man of the match.
Experienced defender and captain Jon McKain also gave nothing away. I get the feeling that this central pairing will be hard to get through.
4. Sergio van Dijk will be a goal machine again
Last year’s golden boot winner pounced on a very poor backpass from Victory defender Fabio to fire a shot past keeper Ante Covic to, as it would turn out, win the game for United.
Van Dijk has a lot of ways in which he can score goals. Whether on his bald head, a rifle of a free kick (witness his free kick against the Victory last season) or pouncing in the box, van Dijk will be a key to how far United go this season.
5. Fortress Hindmarsh
I can’t see Adelaide dropping too many points at their home ground. They love playing there.
Victory players looked a little intimidated by the hostile atmosphere the fans produced, just look at Ante Covic’s (almost costly) blunder in front of the Adelaide fans behind goal.
I’ll back the Reds to win at Hindmarsh almost 100% of the time.
Final thoughts: Their performance against Perth was an abberation. With Vidosic in, the side looks settled. They are set for a big season.