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Talking points preview: The Melbourne Derby

A spicy affair is lined up for this weekend's Melbourne Derby; it's first vs last, best attack against second-worst attack, and the resumption of a rivalry interrupted by idiot thugs.

With a chance to clear the air somewhat, Rado-ball is beginning to hit its stride and so long as we can solidify at the back, we're in for some derby destruction.

Not quite closure

The weird context hanging around this weekend's derby is weighing on the occasion heavily.

While the suspended match from earlier in the year is yet to be continued - from the 21st minute and with a goal advantage - it definitely feels like the stage is set to work out the tension between the two teams.

It seems an impossible task to keep the violent events of the previous attempted derby from the minds of the players. Who knows what will be running through the head of Tom Glover come the blow of the whistle? Meanwhile, in the stands, our fans will be wanting to punish Melbourne Victory, and consequently their fans, for completely ruining the league-wide peaceful protests and handing an easy win to the APL - not to mention the injuring of our number one.

In a couple years' time this kind of game could be an opportunity to condemn our bitter rivals to relegation, for now we'll just have to settle for the opportunity to humiliate the Vuck.

Time to let the scoreline speak - Photo: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)


I commented on last week's podcast that I was still unsure of our still freshly announced full-time manager, but each week we get a clearer picture of Rado Vidosic.

Much has been made of the different layers built into this team by recent managers; Joyce, Mombaerts, Kisnorbo. But the name that comes to mind with Rado-ball is John van't Schip. His reckless 'just-outscore-the-opponents' approach to management has been more evident in recent matches where we've seen a total of 19 goals in the previous three matches.

At the cost of a little discipline, we're seeing players embrace their individual flair as they shed a little fear of straying outside the system. This newfound creativity has been crucial to unlocking the deeply set defences we come across nearly every week in the A-League Mens.

This Saturday's derby is ripe for the ultimate expression of this perfect synthesis between collective and individual. Victory is in a dire state, busy signing players that performed well for us seven seasons ago. Despite the lack of opposition that faces us, the players will be fired up as usual against our local rivals, providing the perfect inspiration for the boys up front to really rip them to shreds.

We're in fine form at the moment and coming up against paltry opposition in a derby under Vidosic's guidance, we're going to be putting on a demolition.

Rado straddles the influences of managers past - Screenshot: Channel 10/Paramount+ livestream

A defence of sorts

If Rado is bringing shades of the days of JVS, that means the nervy defence as well as the potent attack.

While the quality of our backline is leagues ahead of what the Dutchman had to deal with, there are some questions around recent selections. There will always be an inherent risk in our game style, but a certain amount of that risk should be mitigated with a wealth of defensive quality players in Good, Nuno, Lam, Talbot and Galloway. I only omit Jordy Bos' name from that list because I think I can speak for all of us when I say we're perfectly happy to send him upfield and deal with the trade-off in defence that comes with that decision.

The decision that has raised eyebrows in recent weeks though is Nuno Reis starting at right-back over Talbot and Galloway. Nuno has become a real fan favourite since signing, and while we haven't seen him as much this season due to injury and increased competition at centre-back due to the arrival of Thomas Lam, full-back is certainly not his strongest position at this point of his career, especially not when we have Talbot and Galloway in the wings - who knows what they've done to lose their spots?

Perhaps it's simply a tactical decision that flies over this amateur's head, but when Good has to miss a game through injury I would think Nuno should take over in the centre of defence rather than Jamieson.

Our backline has been the most inconsistent part of the line-up all season, and considering how crucial our full-backs are in our style of play, it's key that we utilise players in their natural positions and play to their strengths.

Has Talbot been one of the best right-backs in the league this season? - Photo: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)


Hopefully we manage to sort out the backline, as then all we'll have to do is "Trust the process". Regardless, there's no way this limp excuse for a football team called Melbourne Victory is getting past us this weekend.

8-0 incoming.

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