Toivonen shows his class against the Reds

Melbourne Victory may have just won their fifth game courtesy of a 2-0 win over Adelaide in the Hyundai A-League, but it was Sweden international Ola Toivonen who should steal all the headlines.

Toivonen recorded five shots against Adelaide, with three of those testing the Reds custodian Paul Izzo. He also succeeded in 74% of his passes, suggesting he not only caused problems up front but brought his teammates into play too.

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After the game, Toivonen confirmed what opposition defences had feared: That Victory’s connections up front are only getting better.

“It feels good getting to know the players more and more and we feel we have big confidence at the moment so, yeah, onto the next one,” said Toivonen.

“We knew Adelaide were going to come here and play compact, and we knew the space was going to be bigger in the second half so we were just patient.”

Since joining Victory via a red-hot 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ showing, Toivonen has flaunted his class in all four Hyundai A-League appearances and justified Melbourne’s bold recruitment.

The 32-year-old has contributed either a goal or assist in every game thus far, making him another cog in the Melbourne machine that is inundated in talent and international caps.

Eight of his 10 shots have produced a save from opposition keepers, so it’s probably best to prevent Toivonen from shooting.

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Niedermeier injury helps Toivonen

Interestingly, an early injury to Georg Neidermeier may have in fact benefited Toivonen as it forced a change in formation and style of play for Victory.

Prior to the German’s injury, Leigh Broxham played on the right of a narrow midfield diamond which allowed Corey space to overlap. 

However, after Niedermeier came off, Broxham entered the backline and Troisi entered the left flank of changed, flat midfield four.

With Troisi on one flank and Honda on the other, the two naturally drifted inside and offered a creative overload for Melbourne, much to the delight of Toivonen.

This was only half the equation, though. Further afield, the formation change allowed Kosta Barbarouses to play up front with Toivonen as the two alternated between lading the line or playing just behind. 

Such interplay eased the burden for Toivonen, who no longer had to play as an out-and-out centre forward. This allowed him to link up with Barbarouses and co., and would eventually see the Sweden international grab his second goal of the campaign.