End of 2020/21 season report card: Melbourne Victory

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Believe it or not, the 2020/21 premiership season is done and dusted!

Here at The Football Sack we like to investigate each and every squad’s performance throughout the season so let us take a look at how the guys in Melbourne held up this year.

Season summary

It was Melbourne Victory’s worst ever campaign marked by the club’s first wooden spoon. Last season’s disappointment of finishing eighth was backed up by an unthinkable 12th place finish.

Winning games was always going to be a challenge for a team which conceded 60 goals in 26 matches. This was not helped by Robbie Kruse, Rudy Gestede, Marco Rojas and to an extent, Callum McManaman, not matching their on-field expectations when fit.

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Letting Grant Brebner go mid-way through the season did not help the team turn their fortunes around either. Despite showing some early signs of improvement under caretaker coach Steve Kean, Victory went on a run of five consecutive losses.

Areas of excellence

It is incredibly hard to name a single area after such a horrific campaign. With that said, Victory’s attacking potency was relatively good, compared to their defensive displays at least.

Scoring 31 goals in 26 games is an acceptable return, with a lot of those coming from set-pieces. This was a valuable source of scoring for a team struggling to create clear-cut chances from open play.

Notably, the ability to convert set pieces got Victory all three points in a 5-4 win against Western Sydney Wanderers. Three of their goals came directly from corners.

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Areas in need of improvement

Defending. Conceding 60 goals in an A-League season is simply unacceptable and must be addressed. The inability of the defence to track opposition runs and lack of midfield support for the back four were all contributing factors to this.

Simply put, a clean out is needed to improve the defensive ranks. A defensive-minded midfielder is also required to complement Jake Brimmer, who got caught out at times this season.

A new marquee player in needed too, as Kruse only contributed one assist in 19 matches this season.

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Top Student:

Elvis Kamsoba. This is definitely not the player many expected to be the most influential, but credit must be given when it is due.

Despite struggling to score goals throughout his A-League career, Kamsoba scored five from 20 appearances this season. This is a respectable output in roughly 1000 minutes of football – a goal every 207 minutes.

In comparison, Gestede averaged one per 255 minutes, while McManaman scored one every 354 minutes.

Interestingly, it was not Kamsoba or the fore mentioned players who received the Victory medal this season though. Kruse did.

How or why this happened remains a mystery.

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Class clown:

Robbie Kruse. Being awarded the Victory medal and the class clown mantle is contradicting, but one can not argue with stats. Contributing to only three per cent of goals this season is very poor for a marquee.

Kruse’s commitment and effort could not be questioned, but Elvis Kamsoba, Ben Folami and Lleyton Brooks would all be above him in the pecking order based on this season.

Maybe a fresh start is needed for him in an injury-free environment. Unfortunately, Victory is known for their injury woes and this may have played a part in his decline this season.

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Grade: F-

Outlook:

Victory will now look towards a new dawn under the guidance of Tony Popovic, in yet another rebuild.

With most of the players contracted until the end of this campaign, bringing in a new squad should not prove a challenge. It is about getting it right and Popovic is the right man to do it.

If this season has taught them anything, it is that maybe the English Football Championship League is not where A-League clubs should be looking if they wish to get a good return for their investment.

It did not work wonders for Brisbane Roar last season and turned out even worse for the Victory.

For now, the only positive is that this season is over and it almost certainly can not get any worse than this.

Feature Image Credit: Pokuah Frimpong

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Bogdan Vlasyuk
Total football fanatic. Supporter of the Melbourne Victory and Dynamo Kyiv 🙂
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