Melbourne Heart have some big questions to answer tomorrow in the round 14 clash at home against the Jets. In the same match up in round 8, we had 2 goals under our belt within the first five minutes, only for it to end in a 3 all draw. Then last week against Wellington, Heart was again 2 goals up in the first 15 minutes, but ended up losing 3-2.
This is redemption time for the Heart. We can expect the Jets to be more prepared at the start this time. Looking at the form of both teams in the last five games, they have each only won one and drawn one, so they both will be hungry for a win tomorrow. With Colosimo and Gerhardt back from suspension and Garcia and Behich back from being rested we are back to our usual line-up. Golgol has recently provided fresh legs and more attacking options up front, so Aloisi has some tough decisions to work out who will be playing in the game.
The crowd attendance last time they played at AAMI park was 7,132. Heart is again offering the special promotion to all members who can bring a friend for free. If you’re a member, who are you bringing along? If we all bring a friend to the game we should have a good crowd attendance of over 10,000. Lets all show our support for Heart and bring in the new year with a great crowd attendance. It’s not just on the field that we need to show a winning spirit as a club – the members and supporters need to also show up and help provide an exciting environment for the game. Go Heart!
Wellington Phoenix 3 – Melbourne Heart 2
Before this game the odds were certainly stacked against the Heart. Knowing that we hadn’t won any points over at Wellington to date, getting a draw would have been equal to a win, especially with the suspension of Colosimo and Gerhardt and Aloisi’s decision to rest Garcia and Behich.
From the start both sides were on fire, and Heart looked good for a side missing numerous A players. With a free kick going Heart’s way, Golgol was up, and what a goal, bending it like Beckham. Then within a minute, Williams’ shot was deflected in by Durante. At 2 goals up, Heart were looking great with a comfortable lead to defend or build on. However within 5 minutes of our second goal, our back line didn’t deal with a mistake in midfield and Wellington broke free to score their first.
From this point on it was a hard game to watch. Wellington were all over Heart, having 15 corners and 21 goal attempts. You could just see Wellington getting another goal, while hoping that Heart would come out with a draw. In the end Wellington were too good for Heart and it ended up being the loss we hoped to avoid.
We have seen this scenario too many times this season – Heart being in front and not being able to hold on for the win as it fades in the second half. This was a game where Heart was competitive at the start to get 2 goals in front, then seem to “stop playing” as Aloisi confessed afterwards. Only in injury time did the team seem to find the fire again, by then it was too little too late.
We now sit on the bottom of the ladder and it’s a long road ahead to revive our season. Can we afford to keep resting our top players? Is it time we now bring in Grella? Unlike Western Sydney we don’t have an instant membership base, so getting good crowds to home games given our current form appears to be another major challenge. It doesn’t help that we are competing against the most supported team in the A-League for fans. And without having a big name marquee player like Beckham or Del Piero, the fans can only hope that Aloisi and Foxe re-assess some of their decisions and game plans to get the best out of what is a very good playing squad. New Year’s Day is when the team will need us to come out in force with whoever we can bring along to give the club a lift.
Melbourne Heart will field quite a different line-up for its trip to Wellington today, with a number of youth players likely to get a chance to shine again. Heart’s youth have produced exciting displays whenever called upon and hopefully they can do the same against the Phoenix as the team chases points to stay in finals contention.
The dramatic derby loss to Victory produced yellow cards and suspension for our defensive duo of Gerhardt and Colosimo, so Aloisi has David Vrankovic, Stephen Gray and Sam Mitchinson as options. Wellington have had a similar hot-cold run like the Heart and are only one point ahead of us. At home they will be pressing our defence for maximum points and will be confident after their draw against league leader Central Coast.
With two new year’s home games coming up, Aloisi has perhaps thought it wise to rest Garcia and Behich who both played games for the Socceroos in December. The attacking impetus of both will be missed, but again it gives a chance for the likes of Jeremy Walker and Jason Hoffman to show what they can do. Heart proved yet again against Victory that the club has quality in all departments and can hold its head high after only losing out to a quality goal from Archie Thompson. Let’s hope we can finish 2012 with at least another point to show for it.
Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that the season started with the Heart completely outplaying the Victory 2-1? Suddenly it’s Christmas time and the two Melbourne teams face each other again today, having had quite different results since the first derby.
Heart fans may well ask which Melbourne Heart will turn up tonight at AAMI park, based on mixed performances this season. Fortunately Heart always give their best against Victory, as the head to head record shows – 3 wins to Heart and 1 lone win for Melbourne’s most supported club. And our home form has got stronger of late, with satisfying wins against Brisbane and Perth. It wasn’t too suprising that we lost to top team Central Coast in Gosford last week, but we played quite well, whereas Victory could only manage a home draw against out-of-form Brisbane. On the whole though Victory have found better form than the Heart, relfected by their 5 point lead.
The Heart will be optimistic it can peg back Victory and push itself up the table with the return of in-form Tadic and Germano after a long lay-off. Bolton is highly unlikely to have a horror game like he did against the Mariners and our defence will be ready for the likes of Rojas and Thompson. Another exciting installment awaits a packed house – fire up Heart fans and take the derby atmosphere to new heights of colour and noise. Go heart!
This weekend we face Perth Glory again, this time at home. Perth seem to have it over the Heart more than any other team. When it’s looked like we have had the game in the bag against Glory, I can recall numerous times where either a ref’s goal or something weird happens in the final minutes of the match, and it ends up being a draw.
We are getting to the point in the season where losing is really not an option and we need Melbourne Heart to capitalise on all the games ahead. This will be a tough game, not only due to the likely 37 degree heat, but because Perth’s excellent form has fallen away and they will be hungry to get a win, despite Heart’s home ground advantage.
Some disappointing news for Heart is Grella’s setback, which means another 3 weeks without him due to soreness. We also have 3 key players still away for the Socceroos this week – Garcia, Behich and Marrone. It is great that our players have been selected for the National Sqaud, but in a time where we need to get the wins, it will be added pressure for other players to step up. You could tell from the Sydney game that we missed these players, especially Garcia’s contribution to scoring and creating goals. One good sign is Germano is back to training this week, but is he ready for this Saturday? We won’t know until game day when the squad list is out.
Last home game against Glory we lost it 2-1. This was in front of a Heart crowd of 7,233. Out of 8 games played against Glory to date we have only won 1 game and drawn 3 of them. It is not our worst record against an A-League club but it is close, and Perth over the last 4 games have really got it over us, so we need to buckle down and get the full points and stay in touch of the top 6 positions.
Beckham updates: As you might have noticed we have been trying to keep up to date with the global media updates on Beckham over the last few weeks, and tweeting anything interesting about it. Now that he has officially finished in the MLS things will definitely heat up in the media. From what I can pick up it seems Beckham is leaning towards playing in Europe again, with the A-League a slight outside chance including Heart’s offer of a ten game plus finals stint. We will just have to see what the Christmas / New Year period brings.