Early signs are good ahead of trip to Perth

Two rounds in and Melbourne Heart are looking good on the field despite no wins. Max and Ash now take a look at last week’s game and their predictions against Perth:

Melbourne Heart VS Central Coast Mariners:
Ash: What can be said, our record against Mariners is not that good, and being a heart supporter, you had to think of the worst going into this match up. But, once again Heart had a solid performance to go along with the first round match. The attacking trio of Golgol, Williams and Ramsay seem to gell well in the match. Although a little scratchy at times, they got the results needed. Unfortunately two penalties against Heart got the Mariners back into the game. The Mariners had a lucky save at the end to stop Williams from getting his hat trick. Looking over the highlights one of the two penalties was very light and we were pretty unlucky not to come out with a win. The positives out of the match was the goals, the great combination in our central defences and the solid performance by the team. If they keep this up for most of the season we should see wins away and finals football for the club. But, it’s a long season ahead, so let’s just hope they take it a game at a time.

Max: This was one of the most enjoyable contests against the Mariners which is usually a low scoring dour affair. Heart took the game up to them and were rewarded with those two second half goals, however our failure to convert some decent chances in the first half came back to bite us. We deserved the win but clearly we needed at least three goals to achieve it, after the referee rewarded Simmons for his niggling of Redmayne and Kisnorbo on the goal line and then we were plain unlucky with the penalty for handball. I was impressed by Golgol’s efforts including his usefulness in defence at corners and Kisnorbo and Wielaert give the team confidence at the back.

The Stats against Perth Glory:
- Overall (Win/Draw/Loss): 3/3/4
NIB stadium (Win/Draw/Loss): 1/2/2


Our Predictions for the Perth Glory VS Melbourne Heart:
Ash: Our record against Perth and at NIB is not too bad, the big question Heart have to answer this round is: Can Heart finally break the hoodoo of this losing streak? After round one, they certainly answered the question regarding the attacking line up, with Williams, Golgol and Ramsey all playing well together. Hopefully we will finally see Mifsud in his first Heart match, which should certainly add more fire power to the attacking line up. Harry Kewell didn’t make the squad for this match, but he is back at training so hopefully he will be ready to put on the red and white for round 4. The squad is looking good, and JA has tough decisions to make with the starting 11. Going by Heart’s form and our record against Perth overall, I believe Heart can finally break this hoodoo, and see us with our first win for the season. With Mifsud playing, you can only expect better attacking options to go along with a tight playing outfit that Heart seems to have in the first two rounds.

Max: Perth have continued to improve their impressive squad (with Gallas the latest signing) and Alistair Edwards is a shrewd manager. The home side will be hungry for a first win, as will the Heart, and I think the home ground advantage will see Perth take this one. I have confidence Heart’s away form will improve but we will need to wait a bit longer before that breakthrough win happens.

First home game after derby stalemate

It’s great to have the A-League back and it’ll be great to be on home turf today to take on last season’s champions the Central Coast Mariners. Here’s Max and Ash’s take on Melbourne Heart’s first game against Victory last weekend and what’s to come.

Melbourne Derby
Ash: It wasn’t the most entertaining Melbourne Derby match to date, but I feel the club can take a lot out of it. 1: Victory still have not beaten us in any of the first derby matches in a season. 2: The central defence of Kisnorbo and Wielaert was great. 3: The team overall look neat and tidy, except in the forward line. No real fire power, Golgol (I like him, don’t get me wrong) just looked out of place right up in the front spot for the whole match.
I was also a little disappointed to see Gerhardt warming the bench for the full 90+ minutes. He was one of our star players last year, and even though the central defence looked in great shape for most of the match, having Gerhardt not take to the pitch was a little sad.
Max: This derby lacked atmosphere despite a record crowd and most disappointingly there were few attempts on goal by both teams. It was predictable that both teams would still be getting used to their new line-ups, but the usual derby intensity was sacrificed it seemed in favour of structure and stability. I’m not begrudging a deserved point, especially when we should have salvaged a point from many games last season. The one satisfying thing to witness was the solid performance of our backline and some real purpose in midfield.

The Stats against Mariners:
- Overall (Win/Draw/Loss): 1/1/7
- Biggest crowd against Mariners at AAMI: 2010/11 Round 1: 11,050.

Our Predictions for Round 2
Ash: Both teams had a draw in the first round and they both will be looking for the full points out of this one. Our record against Mariners is very poor, having only beaten them once out of 9 matches. This will be no easy game, and going by our game against Victory, it’s great having a solid team but lacking that someone who can put the ball in the net is a slight worry. Mifsud will not have recovered from his international trip and also the reports are that Harry Kewell will be rested from slight whiplash from the derby match. Going to be tough, but if we can get a nice crowd coming to the match and all cheering for the red  and white, it will lift the team. I believe Heart will come out with a draw, unless they find the back of the net.
Max: Recent history tells us the Mariners are very hard to break down with few goals determining the result. The Mariners however have had to rebuild somewhat since winning the championship. I believe that Aloisi will be looking to take the new Mariners by surprise and employ some unexpected attacking options, while still maintaining our discipline at the back. We have more depth in our squad this season, so even with Kewell and Mifsud out, we can call upon Williams, Golgol, Dugandzic, Ramsay or Macallister, backed by an organised midfield, to produce some of that good home form we saw last season. Hopefully the team can feed off some home crowd excitement to score an unlikely win.

A-League is back and it’s Melbourne Derby time!

The pre-season activity and build up is over – the A-League season is underway! Like last season the first round features the Melbourne derby match at docklands stadium. The derby is always great to experience and we can expect this to be another fiery one.

Not only will the Heart and Victory want to get in front on the head-to-head derby tally, both teams will want to make a good start to the season. The most obvious reason for the Heart is that everyone is hungry for our young club’s potential to be turned into success, with John Aloisi out to prove he can take us forward in his second year as manager.

We have an exciting revamped squad with a new captain, the one and only Harry Kewell. Not only will he play against his old club tomorrow (what reception will he get?), he will be out to prove this season that he’s still worthy of making Australia’s World Cup team. Unfortunately our marquee player Orlando Engelaar will be recovering from injury for the first 6 months of the season, but the derby gives many of our new players their first taste of the ever-improving A-league in front of more than 40,000 fans.

Even if Heart wins tomorrow’s ‘away’ match, the club still needs to win away from Victoria. We have to wait till round 3 against Perth at NIB stadium for that chance, despite history being against us in the west. Let’s hope for a good start for the Heart, matched by plenty of noisy red and white fans in the crowd tomorrow night. Go Heart!

Record against Melbourne Victory:
- Overall (Win/Draw/Loss): 3/3/3
- Against Victory at Etihad (W/D/L): 1/2/1

Our predictions:
- Ash: The first derby matches of the season favour Heart, going by this trend I believe that Heart will win 2-1.
- Max:: Both teams will be getting used to new line-ups and formations. I predict an entertaining 1-1 draw.

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Why The Big Heart believes in Melbourne Heart

20130921-155829.jpgMelbourne Heart believes! And we do too. Heading into the club’s fourth season in the A-league, Melbourne Heart has had one of its busiest pre-seasons in response to the 2012/13 Jekyll and Hyde-like season. Where at home the team seemed unstoppable for most of the season, when the club travelled interstate it was like watching a different team play altogether.

Here’s the reasons why we’re believing more than ever in the Heart:

1. The club has been very busy re-building the player list

There has been significant player movement out of the club: Bolton (retired), Tadic, Babalj, Colosimo, Thompson, Fred, Marcel Meeuwis, Jamie Coyne. It was sad seeing a few of these players disappear from our line up, especially the experienced veterans and on-field leaders. With what the club has lost, we look to have gained just has much in the new players who have joined us, with the list being: Orlando Engelaar, Rob Wielaert, Harry Kewell, Massimo Murdocca, Tando Velaphi, Iain Ramsay, Aziz Behich, Patrick Kisnorbo and Michael Mifsud (hoping I haven’t forgotten anyone!). The profile of Harry Kewell as our new captain is certainly a welcome boost, as we’ll all be hoping he returns to great form too.

The team is looking very impressive on paper, although unfortunately Engelaar will be sidelined for most of the first half of the season. The club is making a statement in the pre-season, showing that it does want to make the finals and be a contender. Still unlucky in the interstate practice matches, they are only practice matches and Aloisi has been trying and testing a few different players. Let’s not take too much out of these games in regards to results.

2. Heart’s “believe” campaign backed up by action

The pre-season could have been a time where the club had pointed fingers and been negative, but no, they chose to go on a positive attack. Members and potential members/supporters have been asked to Believe, backed up by the club’s actions of recruiting and investing in the future of the club with the connection to the Cruyff football school. The club is very serious about proving, not just to itself and members, but the whole community that they are a club that’s here to stay for the long term.

Melbourne Heart every year seems to grow on us, it’s unexpected but you can feel it getting stronger and stronger each year. It is hard to explain the exact reason why we believe in the club. The passion the players bring on the field at the home games; the passionate members and supporters bring to the home matches; the great efforts the club puts back into the community, via the school programs and the youth academy, and working with community groups; the exciting fan engagements during the home games.

Since day 1, the club has had a plan, and this plan they have stuck to, even when things do not seem to go their way. This is way the club has a great atmosphere around it, and you can see this in a few different ways. The first being that players are happy to come back to the club; also Bolton retired yet has continued on with the club, behind the scenes. The second being the supporter base. Like most of the members, we love the club and love the community spirit. There are lots of members who spend a lot of their time helping promote the club in whatever way they can, like us and this blog site.

Well, that’s why we believe, with the first match being the Melbourne Derby at Etihad Stadium on Saturday 12th October at 7:30pm. If you have never been to a A-League match before this definitely is a great one to go to for your first time. Both clubs go up a level, both supporters base are loud and fantastic, it is just a great experience all round.
Come along to the derby and see what Heart is all about. If you have been before, isn’t it now time to join up and become a member? Go to www.mhfc.com.au.

GO HEART for 2013/14!

LINKS:
– Melbourne Heart BELIEVES video, click HERE
– Other Melbourne Heart video’s, HERE

The Big Heart predictions for Melbourne Heart for 2013/14

Coming up to the new A-League season, we thought we’d let you know how we feel Melbourne Heart will go.

Ash predicts: I am really feeling good about our team’s line up for this season. My selection process was done by the team’s past stats, gut feeling, and trying not to be too biased. I Believe:
– that it will be the first time Heart will have total wins in the double digits. I see the club winning at least 12 games in the season, and around 7 draws.
– I see that we will be finals contenders, being a top five side this season.
– I think the club has been very active in the pre-season, and we are going to see a club that will be tough to beat, home and away.

Max predicts: the revamp of our player list in the off season has surely given all Heart fans renewed hope of our best season yet. I should be cautious because most other clubs have improved their squads too, which means the whole league will go to a new level of competition and hopefully quality football. It all depends on Aloisi turning a list of exciting players into a winning team. I Believe:

– Heart will get more points on the board this season through a combination of more wins than previous seasons and better resilience to grind out draws in tough games; not sure we can totally reverse the away game hoodoo

– Heart will be there in the finals series for sure, with the season’s success to build a platform for an even better 2014/15 season