Victory, Roar found wanting in A-League
THERE'S an unusual look to the A-League ladder after two rounds, with Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar the two clubs left with zero points.
While it is still the formative days of the 2017-18 season, two of the competition's most successful clubs have issues of varying degrees to sort out.
For Kevin Muscat, he needs to address questions of predictability in attack, while questions of John Aloisi's side's durability are coming to the fore with two performances that faded after the hour mark.
Victory have now been edged by Sydney FC and Melbourne City despite dictating terms for long periods, and pressing for a key breakthrough through their usually swashbuckling attack, with Leroy George an impressive new addition to the attacking mix.
"I wouldn't say (they need to) change, but tweak things, from an attacking perspective," Mark Bosnich assessed on Fox Sports' Shootout program.
"The last two games, they've pretty much dominated. The last 30 minutes against Sydney, who looked so solid and stout ... pretty similar yesterday with exception of first 10 minutes when City came after them, they pretty much had better of the first-half and the second-half.
"But once again, like last week, it looked like they could've attacked all night and were not going to score.
"They need to have a little bit more variation in their attacking play.
"Teams can read them ... Warren Joyce, like Graham Arnold had game plans, even though they dominated, it looked like they could've gone a long, long time (without scoring).
"In terms of what Kevin Muscat must be thinking, it's a difficult one; if they dominate like that they'll win far more than they lose ... but just a little tweak (is needed).
"At home, they've got to realise, because of how many good players they have, teams are going to come and set up, and try and defend them on the break."
Watch the A-League Hour on Monday, 7pm AEDT, Fox Sports 501 HD, for further analysis from Adam Peacock, Mark Bosnich and John Kosmina.
While the attacking breakthroughs need to come, they weren't helped by the manner of the two goals they copped to their Melbourne rivals.
Ned Zelic added: "He has to find some balance.
"I think Kevin will be quite frustrated by the goal they conceded on the counter attack, giving City that much room."
As for Brisbane, they've now dropped points to City and Adelaide, and at Suncorp on Friday, that lead was 1-0 as late as the 88th minute before Ryan Kitto and Johan Absalonsen struck.
John Kosmina said of Brisbane: "I might sound like a dinosaur but it's really simple: if you can't run, you can't play.
"It's a physical game ... you've got to be able to compete for 90 minutes ... stay alive in the game and two weeks in a row they've hit the 55-60 minute mark and they've blown a casket.
"The possession stats for Adelaide in that second-half were astronomical.
"32 entries into the penalty area, as opposed to eight. Nine corners to nil. 69% of the possession was in Brisbane's half.
"Brisbane could not get back into the game.
"People are talking about Dad's Army, which might be a bit harsh. John Aloisi has mentioned ... the disrupted pre-season but they still should be in better nick than they are ... they are flat footed. They're second to everything."
He added: "He meant disrupted in terms of ... a lot of players are unfit ... players who have all carried injuries into the season."
Eric Bautheac has not yet arrived from France due to visa issues, but Kosmina warned: "If you're waiting for one player to come and change your whole season, you've got problems."
Bosnich pointed to off-field issues as alarming.
"We are hearing a lot of things going on behind the scenes which are detrimental to the club.
"Bills not being paid, things like this. If this is going on, we need verification, it doesn't make it impossible for John and Ross but it doesn't add to the environment of a football club."