Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir feels the criticism levelled at Carlton this season has been unfair, saying the speedy Blues produce some of the AFL's best ball movement.
The Blues are already in danger of another wasted year after starting their campaign with losses to Richmond (25 points) and Collingwood (21 points).
A 0-3 start to the season would almost certainly consign Carlton to an eighth straight year without finals, making Sunday's clash with Fremantle at Marvel Stadium a high-stakes affair.
David Teague is in just his second full season as Carlton coach, but the pressure is already on him to produce results.
Longmuir, though, feels Carlton are not far away from hitting their stride.
"Some of the criticism on them has been a little bit unfair to be honest," Longmuir said.
"I watched the Richmond game and they were five points down with 10 minutes to go.
"I watched last week and they were coming in the last quarter against Collingwood.
"Collingwood and Richmond are two pretty good sides and they pushed them all the way. They're not far off. Their best is very good.
"(They move) the ball probably the fastest in the AFL, and (have) some of the best ball movement in the AFL."
For their part, Fremantle received a confidence boost from last week's 31-point win over GWS.
Star skipper Nat Fyfe has been ruled out with concussion, but the return of Michael Walters from a hamstring injury adds class and experience to the forward line.
The Blues will be without Jack Martin (knee) and Zac Fisher (ankle), but fan favourite Eddie Betts has been named for his first game of the AFL season.
Luke Parks will make his AFL debut, while Jack Silvagni returns.
Fremantle will be aiming to gain a slice of revenge against Carlton after losing the past two games to them by four points.
Last year's loss was particularly heartbreaking, with Carlton's Jack Newnes kicking a goal after the final siren having been awarded a controversial down-the-field free kick.