We preview the two-time champions in the lead up to the beginning of the A-League season this weekend.
The Victory went into the 2013/14 season labelled as a title challenger, but the loss of coach Ange Postecoglou to the national team was a huge blow for the club.
Interim coach Kevin Muscat eventually signed a two-year deal, and despite the former captain leading the side into the finals, the two-time champions never really seemed to be a title contender.
The 2014/15 season looks to be a promising one for Melbourne, with a number of key signings made to strengthen the side across the park.
Muscat has now had a full off-season to instil his playing style on the team, but don’t expect a huge change from what we saw last season.
Under Muscat, Victory will look to still play an attacking, possession-based brand of football, but there’ll no doubt be a change in shape to tighten up the team defensively.
The Victory shipped a worrying 43 goals in 27 games last year, with only Wellington conceding more.
The arrival of defensive midfielder Carl Valeri is key from that viewpoint, as is new French stopper Mattieu Delpierre.
Besart Berisha will add goals to a team that certainly weren’t struggling for them in 2013/14, but the spot in between the sticks remains an issue.
Nathan Coe was below average last season, while Muscat doesn’t seem to have too much confidence in second ‘keeper Lawrence Thomas.
Besart Berisha (Brisbane Roar/AUS), Mattieu Delpierre (FC Utrecht/NED), Daniel Georgievski (Steaua Bucharest/ROU), Carl Valeri (Ternana/ITA), Fahid Ben Khalfallah (Troyes AC/FRA)
James Troisi (Zulte Waregem/BEL), Tom Rogic (Loan Return, Celtic/SCO), Adama Traore (Vitoria S.C./POR), James Jeggo (Adelaide United/AUS), Pablo Contreras (Retired), Francesco Stella (Released)
Goalkeepers: Nathan Coe, Lawrence Thomas.
Defenders: Adrian Leijer, Jason Geria, Nick Ansell, Daniel Georgievski, Mattieu Delpierre, Dylan Murnane, Scott Galloway
Midfielders: Mark Milligan, Leigh Broxham, Guilherme Finkler, Rashid Mahazi, Carl Valeri, Jesse Makarounas, Jordan Brown, Fahid Ben Khalfallah.
Attackers: Archie Thompson, Besart Berisha, Connor Pain, Kosta Barbarouses, Andrew Nabbout.
Prediction: Top two finish
Quite simply, the Victory need to make the grand final this season.
Kevin Muscat’s side is littered with talent all over the park, but even more importantly there is depth in each position.
The Victory went unbeaten in pre-season – including in the FFA Cup – and there are signs that this side could go all the way.