Last match for 2014

Newcastle-City

Melbourne City must have been on Santa’s good list for December with Saint Nick giving them 7 points under the Christmas tree. From the last three matches City have just missed out on maximum points by just 2 and that was in the last match with a draw against the top of the ladder team Perth Glory.

John van’t Schip made some big changes after the Wellington thrashing in round 8. Bringing young Chapman on in central defence and also taking Ramsay out of the left back and replacing him with Garuccio. These changes in the back line seem to have made a huge difference to our defensive line up. Most teams used the weakness of Ramsay in that left back position to get their goals and Garuccio seems to have stopped that. Chapman too has been able to stand up next to Kisnorbo in that Centre back spot.

The other big change being the new crowd favourite Tando Velaphi in goals. Redmayne was struggling in that position and Velaphi has certainly saved some great chances over the last few matches. Redmayne will have to fight hard to get that number one goal keeper position back, but with Velaphi playing the way he is at the moment it seems that he is looking very comfortable in the spot.

Along with some player movements we have had our marquee player coming off the bench in the last two matches. It is great to finally see Robert Koren come on, showing some good form against Perth Glory on Boxing Day.

Now for our first test since our form change, playing an away match. This sounds like it should be a walk in the park, the Jets have only won one match at the moment and have a lot more issues on and off the field than City. The Jets last home match was a 2 – 1 win over Adelaide United, they also only lost by a goal against Victory on the weekend at AAMI Park and that was scored in the in the 85th minute by Finkler. So their form hasn’t been to shabby over the last few rounds either.

If City can keep the current line up (maybe bring in Koren in the starting eleven) and form we should be a very good chance. It seems the Wellington loss in round 8 was a big reality check for the coaching staff and players and lets hope they keep this form going. If City keep this up for the full 90 minutes I “believe” we can win this one.

Go City!

All I want for Christmas…

City-Victory

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.

Go City!

Melbourne City: Let’s get real!

Let’s get real, fellow Melbourne City friends. We know the media and most betting sites hyped us up in the pre-season and put Melbourne City as favourites to win this season. City even won its first ever pre-season friendly against another A-League club!That sugar high of the pre-season had many of us up in the sky dreaming of what could be. But the current reality couldn’t be more different. Let’s break it down:

The Club:
Since the new owners have taken over a lot has been going on in the background that we don’t get to see. We’ve heard our new owners have been injecting money into infrastructure, school programs and a soccer academy, all of which will help create a strong club…in the future. The new owners look like they are putting money in creating a solid foundation that any successful club needs. But these will take time and Heart never had capital to be able to invest properly into these essentials.

The playing squad and Coach:
We picked up some great players during the off season, particularly Duff, Mooy and Paartalu. These guys are playing well for our team but the potential they offer hasn’t translated into better overall performances by the team. Unfortunately and incredibly it seems the club didn’t think to regenerate our defensive stocks or even our striking department. This lack of quality and depth has cost the team points and left fans understandably disappointed and angry, judging by the current debates on social media.

There’s also that sense of the Heart’s deficiencies lingering on through this season. It will take time to shape a new mentality in the team. In the meantime it’s hard watching the mistakes and inability to take charge of a game for the full 90 minutes. Allowing the Mariners to come back and snatch that 2-2 draw at home recently was just typical of critical games in previous seasons.

The City group have a world wide scouting network, which we hope they start using to greater effect. We will eventually get a quality squad that you would expect will rival the top clubs in the A-League. You cannot imagine City Group would want to waste time and money on a system which is not successful!

The pressure on John van’t Schip will continue to build, who has now come out and said no-one’s place in the team is guaranteed. We can only hope he means what he says and gets ruthless with those who are underperforming and gives others a genuine chance. The City group will not handle being bottom feeders and will be looking for the next coach that will take the team to the next level.

The Active Supporters and GA supporters:
We have record membership and great crowd attendance. Our active supporters group, the Melburnians, are new  too. They create the atmosphere and they are still working on their set pieces and formats. They are trying hard and trying to incorporate the GA – which sort of works some home games.

Like the club they too are a work in progress and will also take time to gel and work themselves out. When they do, seeing the three Active bays all in sync and chanting will look and sound great and will naturally see a flow on effect across the GA.

Let’s all remember we are Melbourne City and we have history. Yes it might be only four years and that’s a spec in time. But all us old Heart supporters went through lots of hard yards with the struggling club to get to where we are now. We cannot forget this and we shouldn’t! To be successful we need to remember where we come from and embrace it.

We can embrace and incorporate all that is old along with the new.
Let’s all cheer our club in red, white and sky blue!

We are Melbourne City!

What does all this mean?
Most successful clubs take time and money, along with the right management at the top and a coach who can build a team hungry to succeed. The City Group are building, investing and setting the infrastructure for what a great club needs to be the best. Unfortunately these all take time and we will have to ride out the transition period on the road to being a power house club that we all want.

Go City this Sunday at home against the Roar, the one and only side we’ve beaten this season. Getting another win will restore team confidence and may be help fans believe this squad has what it takes to not settle for mediocrity.