HOW TO BEAT: Melbourne Victory

Welcome to this week’s ‘How To Beat:’ – a weekly tactical preview of Western Sydney Wanderer’s opponent and how they can be beaten.

This week – Melbourne Victory. Let’s get right into it.


Melbourne Victory – Round 6 – Saturday 1st December 7:50pm (Marvel Stadium – Docklands)


HAL Round 5 – Sydney FC 1 – Melbourne Victory 2


HAL Round 5 – Sydney FC 1 – Melbourne Victory 2

A tight match this one – no clear dominant team.

Melbourne in the first half relied upon going down their wings and using Keisuke Honda as a pivot to introduce Troisi who would find a third man either centrally or down the wing to get in the oppositions final third.

Though, the first goal was down the left wing for Victory after Redmayne had cleared the ball up the pitch hoping to find either Brosque or Le Fondre. This was immediately dealt with by Neidermeier who found Terry Antonis that passed it immediately to James Troisi who found some open space down Sydney’s right wing to pass to Barbarouses who smartly left it for Toivenon to be the  goal scorer. The move was pure efficiency.

Jop van der Linden for Sydney FC was caught ball watching and left Toivenon wide open to have his chance on a hapless Andrew Redmayne.

There was a lot of back and forth in this match. As I mentioned earlier; there wasn’t a clear dominant side. Both sides had their chances and their opportunities. Sydney’s first goal was unfortunate for Victory and Antonis as the penalty look to be quite dubious as Paulo Retre never looked a chance to get to the ball. But focusing on this issue alone forgets that Melbourne had difficulty with Sydney’s presence in their box and were unable to clear the ball from danger.

Sydney like to play direct football; Melbourne were able to stop this from happening by ensuring that distribution through the middle of the park was difficult to come by. At times, Redmayne was left to clear the ball high to find their attacking line.

Though when Sydney had possession in Victory’s half; Melbourne defended in numbers and got behind the ball – something the Wanderers fail to do. Sydney tried throwing everything to get through their line.

This game looked to be heading to a draw but the woeful Jop van der Linden brought down Honda in the box in what was a silly challenge. Honda had a tight gap if he could get his shot off and knew he would be much better going for the penalty which was what eventuated.


Victory’s strength is in their wings. They leave quite a bit of space between Troisi and Valeri in the centre of the park. This could be opportunity for us – we should look to move the ball centrally when playing out from the back and then expand via our width when in the opposition’s third. Very similar to how we attacked Sydney FC in the derby.

If we can get Baumjohann in to areas that he is most effective and we maintain our shape, we could spring a surprise here but let’s delve in to how we should organise defensively and offensively:


Shall I continually persist with this pointless task of talking about defence?

It’s been five rounds thus far and I have not noticed one improvement in defence. Babbel may blame personnel, which may be fair, but structure can make up for individual shortfalls and our structure has been diabolical.

On the pod this week, which you can find here, I mention the idea of moving to a back 5. This means having three centre backs in Hamill, Elrich (who isn’t really a centre back) and Ziegler (if fit) and two wing backs in Llorente & Risdon.

Moving to three centre backs can provide cover down the wings when Risdon or Llorente can’t be bothered getting back in defence. Also, we’re just simply not good enough to play with two centre backs of which one of those, Elrich, isn’t a centre back at all. We are too exposed.

Yes this would mean we sacrifice a player in our midfield but quite frankly; we haven’t been outscoring teams to continue with four at the back.


Baumjohann must never, ever get in to our own half when we have possession.

Now write it on the blackboard 50 times!

Whenever Baumjohann drifts deep to receive the ball, we sacrifice service to our wingers and to Oriol Riera and isn’t effective at all. Play the ball to Baumjohann in areas that he can work.

Quite a few times in our match against the Jets, I noticed Baccus getting forward at the expense of both O’Doherty & Baumjohann. This ultimately left a gaping hole in front of our defence for Newcastle to explore and have Hoffman running off the shoulder of our centre backs.

If this is to happen in this week’s fixture; expect Troisi to be more damaging with Honda coming down the right wing and Ola Toivenon to get in behind our centre backs.


Baccus or our centre backs need to find O’Doherty to be our ball carrier to unlock Kamau or Majok down our wings or Baumjohann in the middle.

Majok, who frustrated us last week, was probably our most threatening player on the pitch. Took on players successfully, got in to great positions and had chances in 1v1 against the goalkeeper. I can’t fault Majok except for that touch. I dare say Majok had let the occasion get to him, which is more than understandable, lets see if he shakes it off and is as threatening as he was against the Jets!


Melbourne Victory are finding their stride. They’ve got Ola Toivenon back and they’re starting to figure out their formation with both Troisi and Honda in the side.

They’re comfortable in letting you have the middle of the pitch but they will punish you down the wings with Troisi drifting behind the striker as the number ten.

If we defend like we did against the Jets, this could be a hockey score.

NEXT WEEK:  Central Coast Mariners – Round 7 – Friday 7th December, 7:50pm – Shithole Stadium, Homebush.

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