Melbourne Victory drew with Sydney FC on Saturday night and it was a scrappy game to watch.
The 1-1 draw showed two things: Victory don’t know when to shoot and the Sky Blues don’t know how to counter-attack.
Kevin Muscat’s side played their usual possession game but it was guilty of playing one pass too many, which is one of the drawbacks to playing a possession-heavy style.
Players are so focused on passing and being unselfish and as a result, they don’t know when they should stick to the gameplan or show some arrogance.
The Victory players needed to be more willing to shoot when an opportunity presents itself. Slow movement in possession gives the opposition defence to set itself up and Melbourne showed that last night.
Excessive passing from Melbourne allowed Sydney to block the Victory’s avenues to goal and the Sky Blues’ defence was well-marshalled by Sasa Ognenovski.
The Sky Blues are not a fast team and they proved it again last night. Frank Farina’s team played in the 4-4-2 formation with a diamond midfield and it soaked up pressure more than it tried to create play.
Whenever Sydney won the ball, the transition from defence to attack was slow. Having a 39-year-old Alessandro Del Piero does not help in that aspect but with his technique and vision, he can make a decisive pass to a teammate in space.
Richard Garcia and Joel Chianese weren’t great threats on the wings and the best wide player for Sydney was Ali Abbas, who is playing as a makeshift left-back.
Abbas’ did go from hero to zero, making the error which resulted in James Troisi’s goal, but he played a massive part in creating Chianese’s goal for the Sky Blues. Out of all the Sydney’s players, at least he provided some direct running with the ball.
Victory will persist with their high-possession game but they need to test opposition goalkeepers more frequently. Even if they don’t think, they should be more instinctive.
Sydney looks like a team that need a rebuild but as things stand, Farina needs his team to be quicker. Even if its not in terms of running, the Sky Blues need to be quicker in ball transition.