Could Victory start the season without a recognised striker?
Archie Thompson of Melbourne Victory FC and Seb Van Den Brink of Perth Glory FC. AAP Image/Martin Philbey
Melbourne Victory and Ange Postecoglou pulled off the fantastic signing of Marco Flores in July, but many questioned how the Argentine would fit into the Victory’s system.
With Brazilian Guilherme Finkler already signed before Flores’ arrival, it’s a genuine question for the Victory.
Both South Americans play the typical “number-ten” role, sitting in behind the striker, while linking the midfield and attack. So does that mean only one could start?
In the preseason 3-0 defeat of Victorian Premier League side Moreland Zebras, Postecoglou played no recognized striker in the first-half, with Flores and Finkler interchanging between the striker and number-ten positions, making it hard for the duo to be marked.
Moreland Zebras player/coach Grant Brebner told the media after the game he didn’t know where they were actually playing.
“Flores and Finkler, their movement was fantastic. I still don’t know now where they were really playing because they were all over the place.
“I don’t know who their centre-forward was and I don’t know who the one behind was, because they were interchanging and it’s hard to mark,” Brebner said.
The two-time A-League Champions were missing Archie Thompson and Marco Rojas, who were on international duty and those two weren’t the only forwards left out as Danny Allsopp sat on the bench.
Allsopp did come on after the break, but the Victory weren’t as successful as in the first half where mauled the Zebras.
The outstanding movement though doesn’t stop with Flores and Finkler.
Julius Davies and Theo Markelis out wide had wonderful first-halves, connecting with the central duo, while manoeuvring their way inside the opposition box before scoring.
Davies and Markelis had the support of fullbacks Spase Dilevski and Sam Gallagher who ran riot down the flanks, threatening from wide positions and linked up well with the wide men.
Meanwhile Diogo Ferreira and Leigh Broxham screened the back four, but the latter unexpectedly provided two goals on the night, setting up Davies, Markelis and also winning a second-half penalty.
Broxham under previous managers has played in a more deeper ball winning role, without really penetrating the opposition box, but Postecoglou seems to have found another side to Broxham’s game.
Victory were ever so impressive, although the A-League powerhouse was missing Adama Traore, Jimmy Jeggo and Billy Celeski. Adrian Leijer and Mark Milligan started on the bench as well.
Leijer playing the last twenty minutes, his first preseason minutes as he recovers from hip and groin problems was more positive news for Victory fans.
Postecoglou didn’t put out his strongest eleven however Moreland, the VPL’s second last side, struggled for most of the first-half as they were overwhelmed by Victory’s quality.
The A-League season less than a month away and Postecoglou’s Victory seem to be hitting their straps.
With Flores and Finkler already producing a lively partnership, could the Melbourne Victory start the A-League season with no recognised striker? And what does that mean for Allsopp and Thompson?
For every NRL game of 2014 on demand on your tablet and mobile, there's only one app. Sign up here for your free trial of the official NRL app, brought to you by Telstra.