Arguably the biggest club in the A-League, the Melbourne Victory consistently make the finals but have failed to lift the silverware for the past four seasons.
With Kevin Muscat having had his first pre-season with the team, there will be no excuses for the Victory boys to deliver this season.
Last Season: 4th
Ins: Besart Berisha (Brisbane Roar), Carl Valeri (Ternana), Matthieu Delpierre (Utrecht), Daniel Georgievski (Steaua Bucuresti), Fahid Ben Khalfallah (Troyes)
Outs: Pablo Contreras (retired), James Jeggo (Adelaide United), Tom Rogic (Celtic), James Troisi (Atalanta), Adama Traore (Vitoria de Guimaraes)
Strengths: Since Ange Postecoglou left the club midway through last season, the remnants of his tiki-taka playing style remains and that is where Melbourne win games. The ability to maintain possession frustrates oppositions while the addition of incisive passing brings goals.
Weaknesses: Defensively last season the Victory were stable but leaked needless goals and with the departure of Contreras and Traore the back-line is brittle which could pose a real problem for Muscat.
Key Players: Besart Berisha
The Albanian is never shy of making his name known in the A-League, whether it be positive or negative, the one certainty is goals. For the Brisbane Roar Berisha scored 48 goals in 76 games, combined with a plethora of assists. The Melbourne Victory presents a different challenge for the 29-year-old, but if pre-season form is anything to judge it seems nothing has changed.
Manager: Kevin Muscat was appointed interim coach mid-way through last season and managed to guide Melbourne into a semi-final. Now with a full pre-season behind him, Muscat’s style will be fully implemented into the team leaving no excuses. The style itself will most likely remain similar, lengthy spells of possession, intricate passing but the only real change will be a ruthless mentality mimicking Muscat.
Prediction: Melbourne Victory wasted too many goal scoring opportunities last season, now with a clinical finisher at the helm that qualm will not return. 2nd. – Jake O’Brien
Top photo from Rhondda’s Flickr photostream