Why Tony Popovic’s Melbourne Victory are destined to be champions

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In perhaps the most dramatic resurgence in A-League Men history, in one season Melbourne Victory has catapulted itself from bottom of the barrel to second on the ladder at the end of the regular season.

While they have been enjoying a week off before they compete for the championship, we’ve laid out the key reasons why you should expect Tony Popovic’s men to be the ones hoisting the trophy aloft at season’s end.

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Hottest team in the league

Victory heads into the A-League Men finals undefeated in their last 15 domestic matches, by far the longest unbeaten streak in the league this season, and the longest in club history. It has come in spite of them often playing multiple games in a seven-day span due to COVID complications.

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By comparison, their two Victorian rivals both lost two of their last three, while Victory stormed home, earning the full three points in four of their last five matches.

This is a battle-tested side that, through injury and hardship, has demonstrated it can maintain consistency and get a result.

Dependable back four

Victory head into this finals campaign boasting the best defence in the league from a pure goals-allowed perspective.

The only team in the competition to allow fewer than 30 goals this season, they’ve given away less than one goal per game on average. This has been primarily due to their ability maintain a core group of defenders who have been iron-men throughout the season.

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The two Jasons, Geria and Davidson, have been ever-present fixtures at full-back, playing 25 and 23 fixtures respectively, while Brendan Hamill has been instrumental in the middle.

“Defence wins championships” might be a cliché, but it usually rings true, and Victory certainly has that aspect of the game down to a tee.

Explosive attack

Defence is an undeniably important aspect of the game, but if you can’t score goals, you can’t win games. Fortunately, Victory has one of the most prolific attacks in the league, having scored the fourth-most goals of any team this season, and the third-most of any team in the finals.

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Nick D’Agostino simply has a knack for finding the goal, and despite starting the season firmly in the back-up group, managed to score 10 goals in 24 appearances, good for equal-third in the competition. And with Jake Brimmer, Marco Rojas and more running the middle and ever-dangerous, Victory’s attack is a force to be reckoned with.

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Conclusion

Melbourne Victory has put together one of the most well-rounded and consistent squads in the competition.

With just three games between them and the championship, you wouldn’t like to be betting against them at this stage.

Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Mitchell Turner
Third Year Undergraduate Arts Student at Monash University (Journalism Major). Generic sports tragic living out my failed dreams of going pro vicariously through other people.

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