Season Preview: Melbourne Heart

In the lead-up to season 9 of the A-League we’ll be doing an extensive preview of the league club by club- today looking at Melbourne Heart.

Last Season: 9th in A-League.
It was a pretty ordinary year all round for the Heart outside of their opening day derby win against the Victory, with just 7 more wins for the entire season. Strong home form early in the campaign made up for their dismal away record, however when the wins dried up at home, the finals slipped out of reach. A better performance on the road- where they were winless last season- will be expected this year.

Manager: John Aloisi
Last season was Aloisi’ 1st as a head coach and his young side struggled for consistency. In his 2nd season as Heart boss with a more experienced and quality squad across the board the expectations will be higher and a finals berth will be expected.

Expected to remain the same this season, however they are having a fan voted 3rd strip at some point.

1) Velaphi, 2) Walker, 3) Wielaert, 4) Engelaar, 5) Mitchinson, 6) Gerhardt, 7) Ramsay, 8) Murdocca, 9) Macallister, 10) Kewell, 11) Mifsud, 13) Germano, 14) Mebrahtu, 15) Williams, 16) Behich, 17) Hoffman, 18) Vrankovic, 19) Garuccio, 20) Redmayne, 21) Mauk, 22) Kalmar, 23) Dugandzic, 24) Kisnorbo, 25) Migliorini.

Jeremy Walker, Sam Mitchinson, Stefan Mauk (All Melbourne Heart NYL), Iain Ramsay (Adelaide United), Massimo Murdocca (Brisbane Roar), Harry Kewell (Al-Gharafa- Qatar), Rob Wielaert (Roda JC- Netherlands), Aziz Behich (Bursaspor- Turkey, 1yr loan), Tando Velaphi (Melbourne Victory), Orlando Engelaar (PSV Eindhoven- Netherlands), Patrick Kisnorbo (Leeds United- England), Michael Mifsud (Valletta, Malta), Andrea Migliorini (Koper- Slovenia, 3month injury replacement for Engelaar).

Vince Grella (Retired), Steven Gray (Oakleigh Cannons- VPL), Clint Bolton (Retired), Matt Thompson (Released), Fred (Released), Simon Colosimo (Dempo S.C- India), Cameron Edwards (Perth), Jamie Coyne (Released), Marcel Meeuwis (FC Eindhoven), Josip Tadic (HNK Rijeka), Eli Babalj (AZ Alkmaar), Richard Garcia (Sydney FC).

Key player: Harry Kewell
With Heart’s marquee man is set to miss the majority of the season, the onus will be on the golden child of the golden generation to make things tick for the Heart, and with a 3rd world cup potentially in the offing expect a big year from the Socceroo.

Expected starting XI: (4-3-3)

Last Season against Brisbane:
Round 5: Melbourne Heart 4-1 Brisbane Roar
Round 13: Melbourne Heart 3-2 Brisbane Roar
Round 23: Brisbane Roar 2-0 Melbourne Heart

Meetings this season:
November 3rd: Brisbane Roar vs. Melbourne Heart
February 23rd: Melbourne Heart vs. Brisbane Roar
March 28th: Brisbane Roar vs. Melbourne Heart

Pre-season form:
GNEFA All Stars 1-4 Melbourne Heart
Melbourne Heart 12-0 La Trobe
Richmond SC 0-4 Melbourne Heart
Brisbane Roar 3-0 Melbourne Heart
Oakleigh Cannons 0-1 Melbourne Heart
Perth Glory 1-0 Melbourne Heart
Perth Glory 1-1 Melbourne Heart
Melbourne Heart 1-2 Adelaide United
Peninsula Select 1-4 Melbourne Heart

Brisbane connections:
There’s a few; season 2 short term ‘keeper Tando Velaphi has recently signed on from Melbourne Victory where he will compete for game time against two time Roar championship winning backup goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne. Joining them in Melbourne are season 1 flyer David Williams and foundation player Massimo Murdocca who has returned to Melbourne after 8 years, 2 championships, a premiership and 162 games with Brisbane.

They’ve definitely strengthened their squad the signing of Engelaar as a marquee was an astute one from Aloisi. Unfortunately for him it’s blown up in his face in the pre-season, but there’s still a good group of players there. They’re also much more experienced at the back with Wielaert and Kisnorbo back there, potentially allowing Gerhardt to move into a #6 role. They should be in and around bottom half of the top 6 when it’s all said and done.

One Comment on “Season Preview: Melbourne Heart”

  1. […] United Brisbane Roar Central Coast Mariners Melbourne Heart Melbourne Victory Newcastle Jets Perth Glory Sydney FC Wellington Phoenix Western Sydney […]

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