Oakleigh lined up in a defensive 5-4-1 formation and by sticking to this rigidly for the vast majority of the game, made themselves tough to break down, particularly in the first half. Meanwhile, Macarthur looked to play in a more fluid 4-2-3-1 shape, using the ball quickly and incisively in offensive transition to find space between the lines, dragging opposition players out of position. This was emphasised in the second period as Oakleigh began to tire, after a hectic schedule (3 days post NPL Victoria Grand Final) and large periods without the ball. Macarthur’s dominance in possession and edge in ability ultimately showed as they ran out 5-2 winners against a side that had previously knocked out powerhouse A League team, Sydney FC. Macarthur scored a range of goals in this game; two penalties, a long range effort, a close tap in and a controlled placement into the bottom corner. They have a well balanced team, with some experience dotted around a youthful, energetic squad and provide threats from all angles going forward.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Australia
- Age: 23
- Date of birth: 10/05/99
- Club: MacArthur FC
- Career: Northbridge FC, Blacktown Spartans, Blacktown City, NWS Spirit FC
- Position: Striker
- Secondary position: Winger
- Preferred foot: Right
In this game, Rose was deployed as the focal point in a relatively fluid Macarthur attacking structure. Rose is well built and showed some good physicality with his back to goal, able to hold off opposition defenders of a more imposing stature and showed good technical ability by bringing others into play with flick ons or neat lay offs for the players with more creative responsibility in the team.
Rose was responsible for a lot of the leg work, both in and out of possession, at the top end of the pitch. His work ethic was very good, leading the press with good intensity and not allowing opposition defenders time to settle on the ball. With Macarthur in possession, Rose predominantly looked to play on the shoulder of the last defender, initiating a distraction for the defensive line whilst also giving himself the best starting position for a through ball or to take advantage of a loose ball. Rose isn’t the quickest, but shows an improving ability to read the game (a largely underrated attribute for a forward player) and good anticipation to capitalise on defensive errors.
Despite coming into this game on the back of 3 competition goals so far, Rose didn’t offer much in the way of a goal threat in this game, aside from an early chance that he hit wildly wide and a couple of shots straight at the ‘keeper; his finishing could still do with some work. Another area for improvement could be aerially, as he doesn’t fare particularly well in duels and attacking set pieces despite an improvement in his physical attributes (mentioned above). Rose was entrusted with the front post zone for defensive corners, making some good clearances. He was replaced after an hour of this game.
Rating – B2
Historically, Rose has played in a wider role on either flank or a deeper role with more of a creative emphasis. However this seems to have changed following the appointment of Dwight Yorke as Head Coach in the off-season. The emergence of some talented youngsters and some new additions in the wider areas, look to have pushed Yorke to seek a new positional development for Rose. In this game there were definite signs of Yorke’s influence in Rose’s game, as mentioned above. Other additions to the squad in the front area will ensure that Rose is not guaranteed a starting berth each game, but he will definitely offer something different as Macarthur look to build on last season’s disappointment of missing out on the finals series.
- Nationality: Australian
- Age: 23
- Date of birth: 04/01/99
- Club: MacArthur FC
- Career: Lommel (loan), Utrecht (loan), Celtic (loan), Manchester City, Melbourne City
- Position: Attacking midfield/winger
- Preferred foot: Right
Arzani started this game on the left of an attacking three behind a striker. Arzani was lively throughout his time on the pitch, using his low centre of gravity and fast, jinking running style to cover ground quickly. He has a great ability to carry the ball at high speed whilst being able to ride challenges with some neat pieces of skill and athleticism. Arzani often lured defenders into a challenge committal with some close control and a quick injection of pace, resulting in numerous fouls. Technically very good, rarely did the ball escape him, other than through some miss-hit passes early on.
His passing range and vision recovered well from a sloppy start as he showed his undoubted quality with some long range switches of play and quick give and go’s. Positionally, Arzani swapped wings once in the first period, but then remained in the wide left area for the remainder of his time on the pitch. In possession, Arzani looked to move the ball quickly, often cutting inside onto his favoured right foot to shoot, pass inside or draw a foul. Transitionally, Arzani was much better than first anticipated. In the defensive transition, he tracked back well and with high intensity, to attempt and often win the ball back; the aforementioned injection of pace was a real highlight throughout his performance, particularly evident in offensive transition.
He played a critical role in Macarthur’s threat from set pieces; Arzani was the designated corner taker from the left, in swinging the ball into some good areas while also offering up two good ‘knuckle ball-esque’ efforts on goal from central free kicks around 25 yards out, one dipping just over the bar and another helped over by the opposition keeper. Arzani had a big hand in 3 of Macarthur’s 5 goals in this match. Firstly, showing good anticipation to follow in well on a parry from the goalkeeper to smash the ball in from very close range for their second. Arzani won and scored a penalty for Macarthur’s third, being brought down by the keeper after he had used his speed to nick the ball away. After scoring two goals, Arzani then won a second penalty, using some excellent skill and fast feet to wrong foot two defenders before being brought down by a third, however he was unselfish this time, opting to forego his hat trick and handing the ball to his captain to score his second of the game. Arzani was replaced on the hour mark in this game.
Rating – A2
Arzani has been touted as one of the best talents to come out of Australia since the Harry Kewell/Mark Viduka era, however so far he has struggled on his journey across some of Europe’s biggest clubs, most namely Manchester City and a loan spell at Celtic. This off season he has been provided with a great a chance for him to return home and get some minutes before hoping to squeeze into contention for the Socceroos World Cup squad for Qatar. Arzani was very good in this game, albeit against opponents of undoubtedly less ability, but a key mindset shift from a player previously labelled by some as ‘lazy’, was evident in this game. Arzani was able to withstand the physical attention afforded him on numerous occasions, picking himself up and going time and again. Arzani’s ability with the ball is without question. Still only 23, if this move goes well, it may be just the reset he needs to take on Europe once again.