Melbourne Victory shouldn’t underestimate Adelaide

That A-League Fan Roar Guru

By That A-League Fan, That A-League Fan is a Roar Guru


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    A few people have told me that Melbourne Victory should win comfortably against Adelaide, either 4-1 or 3-0.

    That may very well be the scoreline, but this article is about why people are underestimating their rivals, and why Adelaide is still a finals force.

    A reason why people don’t think highly of Adelaide in this finals series is that of Adelaide’s recent finals history. A reason for this is the claim that Adelaide has never won a finals game outside of the ‘City of Churches’. For reference, Adelaide’s last six away final games were:

    Sydney FC (second) versus Adelaide United (3rd) 4-1, 2014/15.

    Central Coast (3rd) versus Adelaide United (6th) 1-0, 2013/14.

    Melbourne Victory (1st) versus Adelaide United (second) 1-0, 2008/09.

    Melbourne Victory (1st) versus Adelaide United (second) 4-0, 2008/09.

    Melbourne Victory (1st) versus Adelaide United (second) 6-0, 2006/07.

    Melbourne Victory (1st) versus Adelaide United (second) 2-1, 2006/07.

    Might I ask, why are people using away finals games several seasons ago to determine the fate of a new Adelaide side?

    Another reason which people believe Melbourne Victory will win their final comfortably is because of Victory’s 3-0 triumph against Adelaide United. And while it was a convincing win, starters Ryan Strain, Taylor Regan, Jordan O’Doherty, George Blackwood and Ryan Kitto were all demoted and replaced by different squad members only two rounds after the loss to Victory.

    These promoted players were either injured or suspended which include Tarek Elrich, Vince Lia, Ersan Gulum, Nathan Kostandopoulous, Baba Diawara and most famously, Johan Absalonsen. Victory may face a completely different line-up, more like the team they faced in Round 3 (a 2-2 draw, in Hindmarsh Stadium, largely dominated by Kurz’s men).

    Victory is immensely confident about winning comfortably is that of their attack consisting of James Troisi, Kosta Barbarouses, Leroy George and Besart Berisha. Keeping Victory’s attack quiet will be vital, but perhaps not as difficult as some think.

    Kosta Barbarouses has only scored once in his past nine starts, Besart Berisha has scored fewer goals than usual this season (13), and James Troisi hasn’t managed as many scoring involvements as last season, but has managed to constantly foul players.

    Perhaps these players won’t manage to trouble the Adelaide United defence. In Round 10 (2-1 Adelaide away win), none of these players managed to find the back of the net, and Berisha had a spot kick which was saved by Paul Izzo. They also had ten minutes of relentless attacking against Adelaide who was reduced to nine men.

    Melbourne Victory
    Strengths: Attack. Scored the third most goals in the A-League season. Leroy George and Besart Berisha will be a real attacking threat to the Adelaide defence.

    Kosta Barbarouses

    (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

    Barbarouses and Troisi are more hit or miss, but are still international team players for a reason. In addition, Melbourne Victory was only held scoreless four times this season.

    Weaknesses: I would say Thomas Deng and Leigh Broxham aren’t natural full backs. Both play a more central role in the defence. In addition, Stefan Nigro (who is the only natural fullback) was outpaced and outsmarted by Mileusnic in his last clash against Adelaide.

    Adelaide United
    Strengths: I would say that Adelaide’s midfielders and wingers are their strongest suit. All the centre midfielders offer lots. Isaias offers leadership, Adlung creates opportunities and can score himself while Kostandopoulous adds lots of raw energy.

    Absalonsen has made a massive impact after returning from injury, scoring, assisting and also provides experience, while Mileusnic is one of the fastest footballers in the world and has shown to be a menace to opposing full backs. Both are so very different.

    Weaknesses: I would say the defence is quite vulnerable for a team who wishes to play finals. Adelaide hasn’t managed to keep a clean sheet since an away 1-0 victory against Wellington. However, Victory has only conceded one goal less than Adelaide in the entire A-League season.

    A very fiery match, especially as it is in the finals series and against two rivals. Someone will be sent off, but it will be a shame if Williams dives again.

    Predicted starting line-ups
    Melbourne Victory (4-2-3-1): Thomas; Deng, Donachie, Williams, Broxham; Antonis, Valeri; Barbarouses, Troisi, George; Berisha
    Subs) Acton, Athiu, Nigro, Hope, Sanchez

    Adelaide United (4-3-3): Izzo; Marrone, Elsey, Gulum, Garuccio, Kostandopoulous, Isaias, Adlung; Mileusnic, Diawara, Absalonsen
    Subs) Margush, Elrich, Blackwood, Kitto, Regan

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • April 22nd 2018 @ 9:38am
      Buddy said | April 22nd 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

      Isn’t it one of life’s stock standard sporting lessons “never underestimatethe opposition”. Only last night Liverpool were held to a 2-2 draw by relegation bound WBA and in spite of Klopp complaining about referee, assistants, the pitch, lack of red cards, the flavour in the meat pies and how cold the coffee was, there was still 90 minutes to prove they were a better side on the day and in that they failed. There are countless examples of one off upsets in knockout situations in every competition across the globe and throughout sporting history.
      I can’t imagine that Kevin Muscat will allow complacency given the topsy turvy season MV hve endured. Ignore history, different players, different time, stick to “the now”. Hopefully we will get an exciting and close game whatever the result unlike Friday night which was a case of the inevitable, just a matter of when it would happen.

      • April 22nd 2018 @ 12:48pm
        Kangajets said | April 22nd 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

        I think we might see a proper cup type match tonight with some tackles flying in early . Melbourne Victory aggression in the grand final last year , almost pinched the win ,….

        so I think they will bring that edge tonight, to get in the groove for next week semi against Sydney FC , which I expect them to win also .

        I pity the fourth official tonight.

    • April 22nd 2018 @ 11:30am
      Grobelaar said | April 22nd 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

      I’m expecting a crowd of 6000

      And ratings of 17 k

      I’ll be giving you the statistics first thing

    • April 22nd 2018 @ 11:36am
      Kangajets said | April 22nd 2018 @ 11:36am | ! Report

      I don’t expect Melbourne Victory will be underestimating Adelaide

      Leroy and barbarouses have been excellent this year , they will be important.

      I hope Adelaide can score early , to give the game a bit of an edge , so victory have to chase the game .

      God knows Friday’s game was incredibly dull , please let this be a good game .

      For those who love their Npl, the skill might not be as great , but I’m enjoying it on livestream. Edgeworth beating Hamilton 3-2 last night
      Also , the Scottish gsme last night was played at a sizzling pace , nice to see to Hibs get one over the green mob from Glasgow .

    • April 22nd 2018 @ 12:13pm
      Nemesis said | April 22nd 2018 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

      “Nigro (who is the only natural fullback)”

      Stefan Nigro is not a natural full back. He played his NPL and plays NYL for MVFC as a Defensive Midfielder.

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