Fan Talk with The Punter - Edition #8

There’s not really much to say about the match against Brisbane Roar. It was disappointing, to say the least, and as John van ‘t Schip said there aren’t many positives that we can take out of it.

There-s not really much to say about the match against Brisbane Roar. It was disappointing, to say the least, and as John van ‘t Schip said there aren-t many positives that we can take out of it.

For me, there were two positives.

Clint Bolton has been in phenomenally good form this season. It says a lot about a player when you-ve got the highest goals conceded in the league and you-re still being touted as possibly the best shot stopper in Australia. If it weren-t for Clint, we would probably have reached the double-digits of goals conceded last week.

The other positive was the attitude and effort of Michael Marrone. He-s had a few ups and downs so far this season, and has certainly been under the pressure early on, however he seemed to be the only outfield player looking to take the game to Brisbane on the weekend.

He was getting himself into good positions, running at players, tracking back and making himself accountable. If we all played this way week in, week out, we-d be top of the league.

When people asked me at the start of the season about when I would start judging the Heart, I told everyone that we wouldn-t have jelled until about Round 8. Given that this round has come and gone, here-s what I think of our team so far.

Each match we seem to have a 20 minute period of brilliance. Against Perth, that came in the first half, and against Wellington we scored two goals in quick succession and probably should-ve had a few more. During this period, we play some of the most entertaining, attacking football I-ve seen in this country.

At home, we seem to take a huge amount of confidence from our fans. Slowly but surely, we-re turning AAMI Park into a fortress that other teams should fear. We-re not at the stage of it being like Westpac Stadium is for Wellington, but we look powerful at home.

Away from home, though, we don-t look anything like our team at home. Last week we clearly lost the midfield battle and were not quick enough to deal with the attacking potency of Broich, McKay and Partaalu.

Do we need to play a slightly adjusted formation and adapt our game on the road? Given the results we-ve had so far, I-d say we certainly need something to be different.

Discipline is another issue that we desperately need to deal with. So far, we-ve received 15 yellow cards, one second yellow and one red card to give us 20 points in the Fair Play awards. This puts us equal last with Wellington Phoenix.

The problem here is that many of these were preventable and due to lax challenges, dissent and becoming overly frustrated with the game. We need to be calmer, especially given the match coming up, as losing our cool could make us lose games.

The thing that I would love to see over the next 8 rounds is consistency. Our attacking moves need to be more potent, we need to pressure higher up the park to force mistakes from our opposition and we need to be more solid in defence.

We-ve had one clean sheet so far, and I-d love to see four more by the time we reach Round 16.

Also, I-d love to see us spank the Victory. Just saying.

Yours in support,

- The Punter - The home for all Melbourne Heart supporters