April Fool’s day 2012 will be a momentous day for Melbourne Heart fans, it will either put an end to John Van’t Schip’s tenure as head coach, or provide the club with their a memorable first playoff win.
Van’t Schip will have to call upon all his tactical nous to defeat a Perth Glory team that have won five of their last six home appearances, only losing to my title favourites Brisbane Roar. Simon Colosimo will have to be at his best to contain game breaker Shane Smeltz. Colosimo would be the first to say he hasn’t had the greatest year of his distinguished career but finals are an entirely different ball game.
The clash will be decided on the form of either superstar on both teams. Smeltz is coming off an incredible four goal blitz against the horribly disappointing Melbourne Victory, whilst Melbourne Heart captain Fred has been consistently showing his sublime skills over the last month. Fred has done everything but score goals lately, and may have to find the back of the net if Heart were to succeed. Matt Thompson will have to take control of the midfield for Heart, and make sure Jacob Burns and Liam Miller in check. Both these players are under fitness clouds, but you would expect them to play in an elimination final.
Whilst Perth will be relying on Smeltz to score heavily, Heart fans will turn to Eli Babalj and Mate Dugandzic. The youngsters have contributed almost half of their team’s goals this season. This game will be an open, free flowing affair providing chance for both teams. Don’t expect the lock down finals pressure that may affect the other two A-League fixtures.
At the moment my head says glory, but my heart says heart (naturally). I can see the game going to extra time, but not to penalties.
John Van’t Schip needs to remember that he brought out Rutger Worm with him for a reason, and I see no better reason that this Sunday afternoon. When in full flight Worm looks almost too good for the A-League, but flip the coin and he looks a park footballer at times. Van’t Schip has to instil that believe into his fellow countryman for Heart to be creative.
For all those fans attending you will be in for a treat, Heart fans you will witness history, where as Perth fans you can almost guarantee s special performance from Smeltz. He will be lurking ominously in and around the Heart defence, and unfortunately for those travelling fans may become a Heart breaker for all involved.
Prediction: Melbourne Heart 2 – Perth Glory 3 (After extra time)
Meetings this season:
16th October 2011: Melbourne Heart 1 – Perth Glory 2 (AAMI Park)
17th December 2011: Perth Glory 1 – Melbourne Heart 2 (NIB Stadium)
15th January 2012: Melbourne Heat 1 – Perth Glory 2 (AAMI Park)
- All games have been 2-1 wins to the AWAY team
- Shane Smeltz has scored THREE times against Heart this year
- Its ELEVEN week’s since the teams last clashed
Predictions from the twitterverse
@patzocaval Heart 3-1 (Babalj hat trick)
@majorCoronary Heart 2-1
@biancorosso7 Heart 3 (Babalj, Terra, Fred) Glory 2 (Smeltz double)
@jenweya Heart 2 – Glory 1 (Mate to grab the first and Eli with the winner)