The benefit of life in a small league is that re-matches come around quickly, so City fans haven’t had to wait long for a chance to address our mauling at the hands of Victory in October. So will Santa appear at AAMI park tomorrow night to magically deliver an early present to our club? It’ll take a lot more than Santa’s intervention to land a win, but let’s look at our chances.
Where is City’s season at?
A third of the way into the 2014/15 season, City’s season hangs in the balance. Since we posted a call for a reality check in late November about what the club was doing right and where we were going wrong, the team rebounded with a long overdue home win over Brisbane Roar. With a game in hand due to Western Sydney’s overseas adventure, our 7th placing looks respectable, however we need to quickly build on our 9 points to stay in touch with those teams competing for 4th, 5th and 6th places. Perth, Victory and FFA cup winners Adelaide and possibly Sydney FC all look too strong to let others into the top 3 places, even if their mid-season form dips for a bit.
After our home loss to Sydney then thrashing in Wellington, JVS must have finally realised that player changes were necessary. It was good to see Velaphi given a go in goals at last and our leaky defence reworked with the inclusion of young Connor Chapman. These young talents that we have, like Garuccio and Melling, are proving they’re hungry to play to get themselves a regular spot. It boosts the fans morale too to see young players coming through; without wanting to sound ageist, we need the hope that younger guys bring when, with a few exceptions, the club has depended too much for a few years now on players over 30 and generally past their best. Tomorrow night our marquee man Robbie Koren is set to finally appear to prove that he’s not in that category.
What’s our chances vs Victory?
We have to get real once again and note how strong Victory is this season, with a squad of some depth, plenty of goal scoring power and they’re the only undefeated team in the league. But this is a derby! Victory’s unbeaten run can’t go on indefinitely and the Melbourne derby at home would be City’s best chance to stop them regardless of current form. Milligan is suspended and Sydney showed that Victory’s midfield can be outplayed. We have Mooy in fantastic form and Melling has really added an edge to our play. If Williams can rediscover his goal scoring touch, and our defenders use their strength in set pieces like last derby, then City has every chance to take 3 much-needed points. I think we’ll do it this time round.