Nothing more than a minor miracle on the final day of the season can now strip Melbourne Victory of their first A-League Premiers Plate this decade. Sydney will have to beat The Wellington Phoenix by more than seven goals and hope that The Central Coast Mariners do a job on Kevin Muscatís men at AAMI Park. Neither of which seem very likely.
But rather than storm to the title we have to be honest and say The Deep Dark Blue sealed the trophy looking battered and bruised, limping over the line with a 1-0 win against the Brisbane Roar youth team. The Roar rested several of their key players for the match against Melbourne with one eye on an all-important Asian Champions League tie this coming Tuesday. It was thought that Besart Berisha and Co would have a field day at Suncorp Stadium and wrap up top spot in style. But such is their form at the moment it just wasn'tít to be.
The "Boys in Blue" still look shaky at the back. Even with the impressive form of Matthieu Delpierre, the defensive four still look more likely to concede than not. The Roar had several chances last night and even rattled the bar in the first half giving me and many other fans an almighty scare. There just doesnít seem to be any composure. We really on a lot of last ditch challenges, heroic blocks and last minute Jamie Carragher like defending. Some might say that shows great determination. But itís a dangerous way to go about your business because if the forwards arenít firing the opposition always have hope, just ask Newcastle.
And thatís another problem, the forward line arenít firing. For me as much as I love Berisha he just hasnít been as good as I had hoped for this season. I get that he holds up play very well, but that bullying, clinical nature that made him such a handful at Brisbane seems to a dissipated, just a little. He getís caught offside far to often from situations that a top class striker just shouldnít. I get that he likes to play right on the defenders shoulder and push that line to the limit but he needs to be smarter. He needs to watch some Alan Shearer You Tube videos.
But itís not just Bes that is struggling. Kosta Barbarouses is finding it hard since returning from injury and FBK is being restricted to long-range efforts while getting kicked to all corners of the stadium. Teams seem to have found a way to break up the Victory flow.† Play the Arsenal offside trap against Berishia, muscle FBK out of it and put the back line under pressure with lots of long balls. Itís not pretty but it has caused The Victory issues. †The question is can Muscat figure a way out to combat this style of play? If not, then this yearís finals series could be a very short one indeed.†