Sleeping giant awoken; four points in a week for Melbourne Victory

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Melbourne Victory defeated Perth Glory 2-1 on Tuesday night to pick up their first points of the young season. A nil-all draw with Western United secures them four points in a week signalling the A-League’s sleeping giant of recent years has awoken. 

Despite being the second most successful club in the A-League’s history, Victory fell to their lowest ever finish last year and underwent a full rebuild in the off-season. 

From Champions in the 2017/18 season, Victory placed third the following year and then finished 10th last season, missing out on A-League finals for the first time in eight years.

With momentum finally on their side following Tuesday’s last-minute comeback and a follow up draw with United, the competition should be wary of the Big V this season.

A perfect blend of youth and experience

Over the winter break, Melbourne signed several experienced international players such as Rudy Gestede, Jacob Butterfield, Callum McManaman and Ryan Shotton. 

Along with the talented imports, the Victory added young Australians, Dylan Ryan and Ben Folami, on loan from Europe to increase their youth stocks. 

Including Ryan and Folami, Victory’s young core consisting of Jay Barnett, Birkan Kirdar, Aaron Anderson and Brandon Lauton, will significantly benefit from the team’s experienced signings. 

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With a wealth of international footballing knowledge at their fingertips, there is no doubt that some of these youngsters will improve throughout the season.

Having a balanced mixture of level headed veterans and young players with plenty of potential, is a deadly combination that could help the Victory return to their glory days. 

 

Familiar styles of football

Each of the Victory’s new international signings this year has had long tenures in the English EFL Championship. 

McManaman, Butterfield, Gestede and Shotton have all spent the majority of their careers in the English football system with the latter two playing together at Middlesborough for three years. 

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Considering they all played a similar style of football, the imports should not take long to form a strong connection on the field. 

Recruiting players from a common football background was an effective strategy from the Victory since quality and chemistry are two attributes of every successful team.

 

Grant Brebner believes his squad has serious potential

After upgrading club hero, Grant Brebner from caretaker manager to head coach this season, Victory committed to a complete roster overhaul. 

Even though Melbourne lost their two opening matches of the competition, Brebner remained positive and expressed his belief in the players. 

During a post-match press conference following the Victory’s 1-0 defeat in Adelaide, Brebner maintained that as soon as his side begins building momentum, they will be difficult to stop. 

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“We obviously need to pick up some results and once we do, I’ve got no doubt this team will start winning games.”

Brebner backed up his statement after his club secured their first points of the season on Tuesday night. 

“It’s our first win and in the manner we won it, a lot of people will gain confidence from it.

“We knew we’ve been playing well in patches but tonight other than the own goal we conceded, we thoroughly deserved the win.”, he said. 

Judging by his comments, Brebner genuinely believes the Big V has what it takes to use the momentum from the midweek triumph and begin climbing towards the A-League summit once again. 

With a head coach that has complete faith in his squad’s ability to win, and a team full of young and international stars, all A-League sides should be cautious when squaring off against the competition’s sleeping giant. 

Feature image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Amir Daou
Amir Daou
Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Activity and Bachelor of Media and Communications student at Flinders University. Writing intern covering the latest in Adelaide United news and matches. Sport is my passion and I'm excited to learn more about the industry during my time with The Football Sack.

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