Friday, 22 February 2008

South look to relaunch seson at home - Round 2, South Melbourne vs Coburg United

Last time they met:
Never met in a league fixture.

Halfway through 2006 North Coburg, as they were called then, had just lost against Altona East, leaving them in last position and a bit of hole to dig themselves out of. That they not only did that, but in the following year also won promotion to the VPL shows that this club means business. Coburg sought to bolster their squad with players such as one time South players and Aussie soccer journeymen Andy Vlahos and Anthony Magnacca, and have a solid side which should challenge for at least the lower positions in the finals, though the chance of them doing another Kingston City and burning out halfway through is always a possibility. Last week they belted Western Suburbs 3-0 away from 'home' (they play at Knights Stadium until their new ground is ready next year), and if that doesn't seem like much, only three sides came away from Ralph Reserve with maximum points last season.

For South, last week's loss away to Heidelberg seemed to show the club was continuing on from last year; a team with able players in enough positions, but without the gritty midfield general (or two), possession is scarce and when obtained is often squandered cheaply. Because of this there is added pressure on the defence as well, who have to deal with more attacks than they should. South may have some injuries to Fernando and Diaco to deal with, as well as injury question marks over possible forward replacement Armenian. If South can at least neutralise the effectiveness of Coburg's midfield then they're a definite chance, as most armchair pundits tend to agree that Coburg's defence is its weakest link. For my money, there are few sides so top heavy with attacking prowess. It's the problem of getting the ball there that is, well, the problem. If South can solve that problem or at least find a way of avoiding it, then a win is in sight.

Prediction: A free flowing 1-1 draw, with plenty of chances, and hopefully some good play on a decent surface.

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