Last Saturday night’s game in Sydney was a bit of a roller coaster ride with the first half going City’s way, then the second half going Sydney’s way. It was great seeing David Villa come on and score in the later part of the game, which raised a few questions during the week on social media feeds: if Villa had been on for the first half would we have had a few goals and a win? You can catch our full review of City’s round 1 game by Hakan, here.
Stats VS Newcastle Jets (W/D/L): 4/2/6
Our record at AAMI Park (W/D/L): 19/16/19
(Stats taken from Ultimate A-League web site)
Newcastle Jets had a hard F3 Derby battle in the opening round, struggling to get that ball in the back of the net and then having Central Coast Mariners steal the match in injury time. Jets brought in some good players during the off season, but this could be said for most of the teams. After last Saturday’s loss they will be certainly looking for a win and some goals.
The great news for City is that we have a few good players coming into our 18 man squad. We will hopefully finally see our marquee player Robert Koren playing this Sunday. Along with Koren, Williams and Hoffman are back in the mix. Hoffman will most likely get his right back spot back, so can expect to see him in the starting line up and it might be good having Williams on the bench, last year he did get some good goals as a substitute. The biggest question on everyone’s mind has been will David Villa be in the starting line up? JVS has indicated he will be.
I cannot wait for Sunday with over 9,000 members now and David Villa playing…will we see our biggest home crowd ever, outside of the Melbourne derby? I hope so. Make sure you come along and bring your friends. Newcastle will not be a walk over, but I can feel a win in the air.
If you are wanting more Melbourne City and A-League podcast shows to listen to before this Sunday’s match, you can:
- Catch me on this week’s From The Stands #FTSWeekly podcast; and
- Listen to Hakan on the Melbourne City Podcast show.
Melbourne City FC Squad list for this match:
1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK)
20.Tando VELAPHI (GK)
24.Patrick KISNORBO (C)
***two to be omitted***
10.Robert KOREN (promoted)
15.David WILLIAMS (promoted)
17.Jason HOFFMAN (returns from suspension)
25.Jacob MELLING (not selected)
4.Connor Chapman (glandular fever – ongoing)
13.Jonatan Germano (2-5 weeks)
19.Benjamin GARUCCIO (2-5 weeks)
21.Stefan Mauk (returning from Young Socceroos duty)
“The more things change, the more they stay the same”. That was what most Melbourne City fans had thought of when the half time whistle was blown. The club had changed its name, badge and home colours. However, it seemed like the same old Melbourne Heart perhaps due to wearing the red and white shirt in which most of the team’s disappointing results came in.
City had dominated the home side in the first 45 minutes and could have easily gone into the change rooms with a comfortable lead. John van’t Schip’s side, for the first half at least, had carried out what they intended to do; dominate possession and press hard to regain it when it was lost. This was helped by a poor Sydney FC side who had not seemed to turn up until the second term.
A great chance had fallen to the visitors early in the game as a cut back to the edge of the box from Damien Duff had met James Brown who hit the crossbar. The chances didn’t end there as a miss-timed clearance by Ognenovski had led to a chance that should have easily been put away by Dugandzic but had somehow missed. It was a moment that had been a regular occurrence last season as simple chances had gone begging.
Dugandzic had almost allowed fans to forget his disastrous moment as the ball had fallen to him outside the box before he lashed at it first time only to see Janjetovic pull out a great save. City had gone into the half time break looking the better side but the missed chances had let Sydney off the hook.
In the 48th minute, the moment all Melbourne City fans and Australian football fans in general had been waiting for had arrived. David Villa; a former World Cup, European Championship, Champions League and La Liga winner had come on for the visitors.
It appeared to be a completely different home side that entered the pitch for the second stanza as the sky blues had struck first in the 54th minute. Nick Carle’s pass to Corey Gameiro led to a fantastic finish from the 21-year-old from a tough angle which left Andrew Redmayne fuming. It was deja vu for Melbourne City fans as the missed chances had come back to haunt them as they were taken advantage of through Sydney’s first real chance of the game.
The home side suddenly looked very comfortable until a surreal moment had occurred. With his first chance since coming on, David Villa scored for Melbourne City after a great pass from Duff had fallen to his feet. The Spaniard instantly showed his class as he gathered, controlled and slotted the ball in the bottom corner and set the A-League alight. It was something that no City fan, especially those who travelled to the Allianz Stadium, would ever forget.
Chances were few and far between until late in the game when Terry Antonis’ pearler of a shot had rattled the crossbar and was unable to be turned in on the follow up by young Max Burgess.
The final whistle was blown and despite dominating the early stages of the game, City fans along with van’t Schip would be content with a point as it will be something to build on in the next 26 matches. We return to AAMI Park after six months as we host the Newcastle Jets in front of what should be a great crowd.
That’s me in the picture, top right with that ‘BELIEVE’ cap on, arms crossed standing in the aisle, frustrated. That picture was taken last time we played Sydney over at Allianz Stadium. We lost that day 2-1 with Harry Kewell missing a penalty and of course that Maltese Mifdud, sorry Mifsud, missing a few open goals that my friend’s 5 year son could have kicked.
A lot has changed since that match and now we find ourselves starting the new season against Sydney. Lucky for us this time no Mifsud, in fact, we have lots of new faces along with the new colours, logo and team name. This match could nearly be called ‘The Battle of the Sky Blue’, ironically we will be in our old home colours of red and white.
Stats VS Sydney (W/D/L): 4/5/3
Allianz Stadium (W/D/L): 2/1/2
(Stats taken from Ultimate A-League web site)
Sydney have had a great pre season, which included beating us in the round of 32 FFA cup. Our defence let us down in that match. Our pre season hasn’t been too bad, we played well over in England and we finally had our first pre season win over another A-League club, against Perth Glory recently. Pre season form is often not a gauge for how round 1 will go.
Sydney will be without a few of their key players, I believe some will be on international duty and will miss this match. I think the main advantage that Sydney have over Melbourne City in this match is Graeme Arnold, their coach. He has a fantastic record against us and I am not sure if we did actually beat them while he was coaching Central Coast Mariners.
Let’s hope for our sake that Arnold doesn’t have that hold on us in his new club and that we can come away with a win in the first round to start our new journey on a high. Hopefully David Villa takes the field, while bringing his quality and goals with him.
Looking forward to the new season and round 1.
Melbourne City FC Squad:
1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK)
3. Robbie WIELAERT
5. Erik PAARTALU
6. Aaron MOOY
7. Iain RAMSAY
8. Massimo MURDOCCA
9. David VILLA
10. Robert KOREN
11. Damien DUFF
14. James BROWN
15. David WILLIAMS
18. Paulo RETRE
20. Tando VELAPHI (GK)
22. Nick KALMAR
23. Mate DUGANDZIC
24. Patrick KISNORBO (C)
26. Marco MARINO
27. Ross ARCHIBALD
It’s time to get back into the swing of the A-League again and it feels like forever since the last season. For me the season finished early because I missed the last month of football due to travelling around the US for a month. Can’t say that I regretted the trip and lucky for me but not for the club that Heart didn’t make the finals. Ok enough about me, let’s have a quick look at the Heart that was and City that is.
For Heart fans like myself, it’s been a long and winding road to where we are now. I believe last season had a few forks in the road for our beloved club. The first being the disastrous first half of the season, that actually defined and strengthened the supporter base in a weird way. You would have imagined that crowd attendance would have dropped during that period, but the loyal supporters stuck through it week in and week out. For a membership base of only around 7,300, Heart members were very loyal and we stuck it out during the hard times.
The next fork in the road was the new owners, with the City group taking over the club. This brought along a huge amount of excitement and a turnaround in coach and on-field performance. No sooner had the season ended and the big talking points were our club colours and name. The name change didn’t seem to upset the loyal supporters group too much and was quickly accepted along with the new logo. The colours was and still is a huge talking point. With the colours dividing the loyal supporters we saw the new owners compromising (for the short term) by keeping the red and white stripes as the away shirt and creating a new home shirt.
Now with pre season coming to an end, it’s all talk about the on-field performance for the new season ahead of us. It’s funny that the bottom dwellers for last season seem to be the favourites amongst the betting agencies for the new season. I myself cannot see this. Last season I had very high hopes for our club, this season I am taking a harder approach to where our club will go. I am hoping that we make finals this season, but with the Roar, WSW, Sydney and our cross town rivals, it is hard to see us as the favourites.
One thing for sure, I love my club. I will never forget Heart and our very short history. I’m looking forward to Melbourne City and creating new exciting memories with my friends and fellow City supporters.
No longer is it Go Heart!
It’s now Go City!