Davidson: Consistency is key in ALM finals race

As the race for the A-League Men’s finals steps into overdrive, Melbourne Victory defender Jason Davidson admits the tumultuous circumstances of the 2021-22 campaign mean that “anyone can beat anyone”.

Chaos ruled the ALM across the past week, with sides seemingly able to go from the outhouse to the penthouse, and vice versa, in an instant. 

After going scoreless in two straight games, Newcastle Jets exploded for six goals against Perth Glory while Sydney FC went from staring down the barrel of missing finals football to hammering Central Coast Mariners 5-0. 

Wellington Phoenix went from losing back-to-back games by a combined score of 11-0 to beating second-placed Western United 4-1 and Melbourne City went from the dizzying highs of putting ten goals past Wellington and Sydney to being vanquished 3-0 in the Melbourne Derby.

It makes predicting the make-up of the league’s top-six come to the end of the campaign – beyond City and Western – an almost Sisyphean task. 

Unbeaten in their last nine league games and currently in the midst of a three-game winning run, presently third-placed Victory would ostensibly loom as the most likely club to secure a presumptive finals place.

For Davidson, such circumstances will come down to weathering the storm of short turnarounds, injuries, and general chaos sweeping the lead and maintaining consistency; a task that will continue on Tuesday evening against Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park.

“If you look at the last weekend of games, who beat who, what the results were, it’s very up and down,” he said. 

“Anyone can beat anyone on their day. So we have to go into the game respecting that they can perform and upset anyone on their day and we’ve got to concentrate on what we have to do with the ball and how we want to play. 

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“We’re playing at home so for us we’ve just got to concentrate on what we want to do

“(The parity is) a bit of everything: the travel, fatigue. Depth in the squads is now getting tested because the games are coming thick and (fast) and the games can’t be postponed anymore so you’ve got to play with what you’ve got. 

“So trying to be consistent is the key for us. What we want to focus on is making sure that we take each game as they come and be consistent and give ourselves the best opportunity to catch the two teams above us.”

While team success is its own reward, Davidson has an extra incentive to finish the season strongly in the form of a possible return to the Socceroos setup for the first time since he played in a World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh in November, 2015. 

With figures such as Aziz Behich, Joel King, and Brad Smith all in the mix at left-back for the men’s national team, a strong end to the season could potentially leapfrog Davidson into contention for a looming playoff against the UAE and, potentially, Peru. 

The 30-year-old, however, said that his focus remained on his own domain. 

“With the Socceroos, I’ve always said the same thing: it’s about performing week in and week out and putting pressure on Arnie to make the decision,” he said. 

“The only thing that I can control is performing on the pitch. I feel as the season has gone on longer I’ve gotten stronger and been able to back up and perform week in and week out. 

“So, for me, I’ve just got to keep working hard, perform and do my job for Victory

“I have been contacted by (the national team staff) for the squads. Been in the, I think, the initial 30-man squads and stuff like that. And then after that, they’ve obviously cut it down to the squad they’ve selected. 

“So, like I said, the focus is on Victory, performing for them and controlling what I can control; that’s performing week in and week out for Victory.”

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Header Image Credit: Melbourne Victory

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