Melbourne City vs Adelaide United Preview

Melbourne City are looking to bounce back tonight following last week’s derby disappointment, but face a strong Adelaide United side that looks set for a big season.

The goals were flowing last week, as we predicted, and once again the question for Melbourne City is can they tighten up at the back and give themselves a chance here? Fans will be eager to see if JVS once again persists with Iain Ramsay at left fullback, last week’s dismal performance should have spelt the end of the experiment. Meanwhile, City will have a tougher time going forward, with Gombau’s man having conceded the equal least goals so far this season. Chances could be at a premium, and must be better converted tonight.

Adelaide United look like a contender this season. A great attack, a tight defence, playing entertaining football, and, most important of all, getting results. Undefeated so far, they’ll be looking to continue that streak tonight. Cirio is in great form and will be someone who City need to have a plan for, otherwise he could potentially cause havoc. But their attacking quality doesn’t end there, with players such as Pablo Sanchez and Bruce Djite surely fancying themselves against a defence that conceeded 5 last week.

Line ups
Melbourne City Squad:
1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK)
3.Robbie WIELAERT
5.Erik PAARTALU
6.Aaron MOOY
7.Iain RAMSAY
8.Massimo MURDOCCA
9.David VILLA
11.Damien DUFF
14.James BROWN
15.David WILLIAMS
17.Jason HOFFMAN
18.Paulo RETRE
20.Tando VELAPHI (GK)
23.Mate DUGANDZIC
24.Patrick KISNORBO (C)
27.Ross ARCHIBALD
two to be omitted

Ins:
13.Jonatan GERMANO (promoted)
15.David WILLIAMS (returns from injury)
19.Ben GARUCCIO (promoted)

Outs:
25.Jacob MELLING (omitted)

Adelaide United Squad:
1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (C) (GK)
2.Michael MARRONE
3.Nigel BOOGAARD
4.Dylan McGOWAN
5.Osama MALIK
6.CÁSSIO
7.PABLO SÁNCHEZ
8.ISAÍAS
9.Sergio CIRIO
10.Marcelo CARRUSCA
11.Bruce DJITE
16.Craig GOODWIN
17.Awer MABIL
18.Jimmy JEGGO
20.Paul IZZO (GK)
21.Tarek ELRICH
24.Bruce KAMAU
32.Nathan KOSTANDOPOULOS
two to be omitted

Ins:
6.CÁSSIO (promoted)
11.Bruce DJITE (returns from injury)
20.Paul IZZO (GK) (promoted)
24.Bruce KAMAU (promoted)

Outs:
30.John HALL (GK) (omitted)
22.Fabio FERREIRA (hamstring 2-4 weeks)

Prediction
Adelaide United look likely to claim an away victory tonight, 2-1 will be the final score.

Betting Odds
Perhaps somewhat inexplicably, Melbourne City are the favourites tonight, paying $2.40. Adelaide United look great value at $2.70 and I’m sure many fancy themselves to outsmart the bookies tonight at that price. The draw is paying $3.50.

Match Details
Who: Melbourne City vs Adelaide United
When: 7:40 PM, Friday 31st October 2014
Where: AAMI Park

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Melbourne Victory vs Melbourne City Review

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
― Tweeted by Joey Barton (also Friedrich Nietzsche)

A debacle. I could very easily end the review of the match there. Quite happily I would pack all memories of this derby in the part of the brain that holds information never to be required again, such as the Melbourne Heart career of Vince Grella and anything learnt in a post-year 10 maths class.

Historically the Melbourne derby has been of incredible importance for our club. It was a real chance to show our mettle against a club with more resources and an increasingly ironic name in Melbourne Victory. These circumstances only amplified the usual euphoria associated with winning a cross-town derby and with the last derby resulting in a 4-0 win for the mighty Heart (and a brutally pleasant hangover for yours truly), this match had been looked forward to since the fixtures were released months ago.

Seeing the usual pre-derby faces at the pub and on the march to the ground beforehand brought back great memories of past successes and suddenly irrelevant full-back concerns evaporated in a sea of pre-match booze. This was the derby after all and no matter what the circumstance, if there was one thing Melbourne Heart could do, it was lift when faced with the other mob that we share this great city with.

Despite generally hating Etihad stadium, it was impossible to deny the great atmosphere produced by walking into a sold-out 45,000 seat stadium. The presence of several Manchester City supporters groups (and the occasional Gallagher brother lookalike) in the top tier only added to the atmosphere and it is something that we will hopefully continue to see at future matches. While the takeover has been unquestionably controversial, the way that both local and overseas-based Manchester City fans have embraced the club has been a big positive. They clearly love their club and the fact that the also share a city with a shouty attention-seeking Brother means that they know the importance of banding together for derby matches.

The first half started well enough with David Villa causing Melbourne Victory all kinds of problems as they struggled to deal with one of the most accomplished players in footballing history. Similarly, Damian Duff was finding plenty of space and was displaying the kind of drive that has already made him a hero among the fans.

With Villa and Duff causing most of the headaches for Victory, it was not surprising to see us take the lead. The surprise did come however, from the avenue from which the goal came. WE ACTUALLY SCORED FROM A SET-PIECE. A mere year after the set-piece bingo that featured so heavily during the Aloisi era, it was fantastic to see Robbie Wielaert knocking the ball in from a Mooy delivery. Despite falling off the chair I was precariously balanced on (a re-occurrence throughout the next 90 minutes), this goal brought about the aforementioned euphoria that only a derby goal can produce.

Annoyingly this lead only lasted ten minutes as Archie Thompson scored an incredibly offside goal for Melbourne Victory. It was not what we deserved and it was the kind of against the run of play goal that is incredibly demoralizing for both players and supporters. The fact that Thompson was closer to the stands then he was to the defensive line only added to the frustration. This frustration did not last long however.

Channelling his 2012-13 pre-season scoring form, full-back Jason Hoffman), was able to score to give us a 2-1 lead. This was his second goal in three matches (including the last match of the 13-14 season), giving him a better return then he had in his years as an out and out striker. Bafflingly, this goal once again came from a set piece and the expected future arrival of Jesus Kennedy will only increase our newly discovered threatening nature from set plays.

The half continued with chances for either side, however with only stoppage time remaining, it looked like the half was going to end with Melbourne City holding a slender, yet deserved, 2-1 lead. Just as fans were beginning to leave their seats to join the mammoth beer-queues, Victory scored a goal more sobering then the mid-strength beer about to be served. Redmayne made a reaction save from a Victory surge forward and Berisha was on hand to knock in the rebound to tie things up at 2-2. With only seconds to go until half time, conceding such a goal was devastating and really exposed the defensive problems that we unquestionably have.

Despite the disappointment of conceding so late in the half, being level at half time was not as concerning as it may have been. We’d controlled the play and for a change we’d been able to turn our possession into goals. While there were unquestionably holes in defence, the fact was that the first goal we’d conceded had been offside and the second had only come about due to the defence switching off late in the half. As such, there was a sense of optimism present, especially as Villa looked like he was on the verge of taking the game by the scruff of its neck.

In the second half though, with MCFC defenders spread akimbo across the field, it all fell apart as we once again conceded after a ludicrously short amount of time. I’d barely been able to balance myself back on top of my seat before Berisha was able to find way to much space and score his second goal of the night. In the space of two minutes of play, we’d managed to go from looking comfortable in the lead to being on the ropes and a goal down. Allowing goals to be conceded so close either side of half time shows a real lack of focus by the team and seemingly a lack of leadership on the field.

There is little point dwelling on the rest of the second half as, to be frank, it was pathetic. They scored two more goals after some soul-crushing defending and Damian Duff got booked for toppling over in the box. Honestly, the only positive in the second half was the fact that we only lost by three goals, ensuring that we still hold the record for a derby win.

To quote Harvey Dent, “the night is darkest before the dawn” and on Saturday the night was pretty damn dark. We can only put this result behind us and pray to all things sacred that we finally see the dawn this Friday vs. Adelaide United.

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Melbourne Victory vs Melbourne City Preview

The first derby of the season is upon us! After a disappointing 1-1 draw last week against the Newcastle Jets, Melbourne City face an in-form Melbourne Victory in front of a sold out crowd at Etihad Stadium.

Melbourne Heart always lifted for a derby, and Melbourne City fans will be hoping the new team continues that tradition. Despite David Villa’s lethal touch, which has seen him make the most of the few chances he has had to score, Melbourne City continue to struggle to turn dominance into goals, and with Koren not expected to make his first appearance for a while yet, there are real question marks over the team’s creative ability. Creating some clear cut chances for Villa and others will be crucial to the chances of Melbourne City tonight. The defence is unlikely to be able to stop the Victory attack, so City will need at least a couple of goals here.

It’s early in the season, but Victory have already shown signs of what they are capable of. They have a strong attack, which is likely to menace teams all season long. With the defensive abilities of the Melbourne City fullbacks questionable, and the lack of an A-League quality keeper defending the City goal, Victory will fancy themselves to get on the score board tonight. But can their defence contain the Melbourne City attack lead by David Villa?

This one is definitely not ending as a scoreless draw.

Line ups
Melbourne Victory Squad:
1.Nathan COE (GK)
5.Mark MILLIGAN (C)
6.Leigh BROXHAM
7.Gui FINKLER
8.Besart BERISHA
9.Kosta BARBAROUSES
10.Archie THOMPSON
11.Connor PAIN
14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH
15.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI
16.Rashid MAHAZI
17.Matthieu DELPIERRE
18.Dylan MURNANE
20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK)
21.Carl VALERI
22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS
23.Adrian LEIJER
24.Scott GALLOWAY
two to be omitted

Ins:
18.Dylan MURNANE (returns from international duty)
22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS (promoted)
24.Scott GALLOWAY (returns from international duty)

Outs:
2.Jason GERIA (ankle)

Melbourne City Squad:
1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK)
3.Robbie WIELAERT
5.Erik PAARTALU
6.Aaron MOOY
7.Iain RAMSAY
8.Massimo MURDOCCA
9.David VILLA
11.Damien DUFF
14.James BROWN
15.David WILLIAMS
17.Jason HOFFMAN
18.Paulo RETRE
20.Tando VELAPHI (GK)
23.Mate DUGANDZIC
24.Patrick KISNORBO (C)
25.Jacob MELLING
26.Marc MARINO
27.Ross ARCHIBALD
two to be omitted

Ins:
25.Jacob MELLING (promoted)
26.Marc MARINO (promoted)

Outs:
Nil

Prediction
We are likely to see a few goals tonight, but there isn’t a lot separating the teams if Melbourne City lift for this derby game as expected. A 2-2 draw looks to be on the cards here.

Betting Odds
Melbourne Victory are the favourites today, and are paying $2.30 for the win, while a Melbourne City win will see you receive $3.10. A draw between these two teams is paying $3.50.

Match Details
Who: Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City
When: 7:30 PM, Saturday 25th October 2014
Where: Etihad Stadium

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Melbourne City vs Newcastle Jets Review

David Villa

After what is surely the longest off-season in World Football, finally the World Game was back at AAMI Park. While this was supposedly “Melbourne City’s exciting first ever home game”, taking on the Newcastle Jets, a lot of the familiar traits of Melbourne Heart were still present – missed chances, domination of possession and an indisputable universal hatred of Kevin Muscat.

A year ago, at a time that the excitement around the impending arrival of seemingly-exotic striker Michael Mifsud was at its peak, the idea that a player the calibre of David Villa would be lining up for the club seemed about as likely as Maycon getting called up to the Seleção . With that said, I don’t think anyone could have predicted the City Football Group takeover and the resultant drastic makeover that the Club has undergone in recent months.

Obviously the takeover has come at a cost, with much derision over changes in the home kit; crest and the name change still a sore-point for many fans. Taking that into mind, there is also no doubt that the club has never been more attractive to the casual fan with David Villa in particular helping many ‘euro-snobs’ overcome their phobia of supporting something local. With the membership tally soon expected to pass 10,000 and a record non-derby crowd of 15,717, there is no doubt that the club is beginning to make serious waves in Melbourne’s sporting landscape.

There are certainly some challenges associated with this new hype; such as the snaking unexpected beer queues previously never experienced outside of a derby match; the first half was highlighted by the clubs age-old inability to actually get the ball in the back of the net. Despite dominating the play and creating several glaring chances, Melbourne City couldn’t find a way onto the score sheet. David Williams was most at fault spurring a one on one chance from just inside the penalty area created by some poor Newcastle defending.

However, Newcastle generally defended very well, blocking and cutting out any half-chances that came Melbourne City’s way through some serious parking of the bus. As a result of the Jets defensive mindset, City never really felt threatened defensively, with all the frustrations revolving around the lack of a goal for the home side. David Villa (whose every touch seemed to excite both new and established fans) and Irish star Damien Duff continually attempted to break open the Newcastle defense through pure class, however the Newcastle defenders were able to relatively comfortably see off any half-openings that were created by the pair.

While the midfield trio of Murdocca, Paartalu and particularly Aaron Mooy did create some nice openings, a lack of creativity in midfield was an issue and one can’t help but feel there is a Robert Koren-shaped hole in the team at the moment. While it is still early days, there is a very strong possibility that Koren’s fitness could shape just how successful the club is on field this season.

With the first half ending scoreless, there was a greater feeling of urgency to find an opener in the second half. Unfortunately, this urgency seemed to come from Newcastle who finally began to open up and attack the City goal. Despite this, City still generally controlled the play and really should have taken the lead. Unexpectedly it was David Villa who missed the best of the chances, skying a shot from close range after a clever Patrick Kisnorbo knock-on from a Duff corner. Despite this miss, the crowd still found themselves rising as one, however it was not due to a goal, instead it was down to the unexpected appearance of Kevin Muscat.

Proving as popular as a plot point in a porno, Muscat’s comic-book-villain-like appearance on the big screen at AAMI Park united the fans as 15,799 people booed in unison. He seemed to enjoy the negative attention, but having been a flag-bearer for knee high-tackles; this doesn’t really come as a surprise. It was not long after this that Newcastle took the lead.

Joel Griffiths found himself with plenty of space on the Newcastle wing and sent in a cross that newly imported Ecuadorian striker Edson Montano was able to head in at Andrew Redmayne’s near post. This felt all too familiar and it felt that, once again, Melbourne City was going to go down in disappointing fashion after finding itself on the big stage.

At the cost of defending, which resulted in some glaring missed chances by Newcastle to double their lead, Melbourne City reacted to going down by employing all-out attack. David Villa, appearing at times in the first half to have just woken from a siesta, suddenly seemed incredibly motivated, taking on opponents every chance he got and displaying the passion of a player who’d supported Melbourne City his whole life.

Eventually, Villa’s class shone through and he found the breakthrough with an 87th minute drive from the edge of an extremely congested box. Notably, rather than celebrating his goal in front of 15,000 cheering fans, he sprinted into the goal, picked up the ball and with little more than a smile, sprinted the ball back to the centre circle, still desperate to find a winner. This showed an absolute desire to win, the kind required by a player of his CV, and will have no doubt rubbed off on the rest of the players who, Duff aside, have generally been starved of success.

Unfortunately, despite some late openings being created, 1-1 was the final result with City once again not getting all three points despite dominating the game. While a home draw against a seemingly poor team like Newcastle was disappointing, perhaps more important than the result was the fact that, despite all the change in the off-season, AAMI Park still felt like home. The crowd was buzzing with both new and old fans and despite not getting the win in the end; it feels safe to say that the future is in good hands. Bring on Saturday Night and the derby!

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Melbourne City vs Newcastle Jets Preview

After a 1-1 draw with Sydney FC in the first match of the season, a score that we correctly predicted, today Melbourne City welcome the Newcastle Jets to AAMI Park.

The first home game of the season is always well attended, but with David Villa set to start, interest and ticket sales have gone through the roof. Melbourne City will be looking to Villa to back up last week’s goal with another today. The world cup winner didn’t have many chances against Sydney FC, but showed his lethal touch with a classy goal shortly after coming off the bench. A finisher is something that Melbourne City and Melbourne Heart have been missing for quite some time, could the Spaniard finally be the answer? If Villa can finish off the numerous attacking opportunities Melbourne City are sure to create, they’ll be hard to beat here.

The Jets were largely unimpressive during the F3 ‘Derby’ and lost after an injury time goal. Phil Stubbins’ men need to improve significantly here if they’re to record their first win of the season. It’s early days yet, but Newcastle’s inability to create chances already looks like a serious problem. Melbourne City’s major weakness lies in the goalkeeping department, but if Newcastle can’t create chances, then they’re not going to be able to exploit this weakness.

Line ups
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
17. Jason HOFFMAN
18. Paulo RETRE
20. Tando VELAPHI (GK)
23. Mate DUGANDZIC
24. Patrick KISNORBO (C)
26. Marco MARINO
27. Ross ARCHIBALD
two to be omitted

Ins:
10. Robert KOREN (promoted)
15. David WILLIAMS (promoted)
17.Jason HOFFMAN (returns from suspension)

Outs:
25.Jacob MELLING (not selected)

Newcastle Jets Squad:
1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (GK)
2.Scott NEVILLE
3.Taylor REGAN
4.Kew JALIENS (C)
5.Ben KANTAROVSKI
7.Jeronimo NEUMANN
8.Zenon CARAVELLA
9.Joel GRIFFITHS
10.Marcos FLORES
11.Andrew HOOLE
12.Sam GALLAGHER
13.Edson MONTANO
16.Jacob PEPPER
17.James VIRGILI
20.Ben KENNEDY (GK)
21.Sam GALLAWAY
22.Jonny STEELE
23.David CARNEY
two to be omitted

Ins:
5.Ben KANTAROVSKI (return from injury)
21.Sam GALLAWAY (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Prediction
Melbourne City look to have the edge today, we see this ending 2-0 for the home team.

Betting Odds
Melbourne City head into the game as favourites, paying $1.60, while Newcastle Jets are out to $5.50. If you fancy a draw here, you’ll receive $3.80.

Match Details
Who: Melbourne City vs Newcastle Jets
When: 3.00pm, Sunday 19 October 2014
Where: AAMI Park

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Sydney FC vs Melbourne City Match Preview

Melbourne City’s first ever A-League game sees them travelling to Allianz Stadium to take on Sydney FC. Both teams have strengthened significantly in the off season and head into the game as joint second favourites to take out the title, behind cross town rivals Melbourne Victory.

The attention tonight will of course be on David Villa. The world cup winner is poised to make his Melbourne City debut, and football fans around the country are waiting to see how his undoubted ability translates to Australian football and the A-League. Unfortunately, he will be starting on the bench, but it’s highly likely that he will feature at some point.

Apart from loaning in star man David Villa from sister club New York City, Melbourne City have added some serious attacking quality in Damien Duff and Robert Koren. While Connor Chapman, James Brown, Aaron Mooy, Jacob Melling, Marc Marino, and Erik Paartalu round off the new signings. In terms of players leaving the club, the biggest loss is Orlando Engelaar, with the Dutchman’s contract not being renewed. Jeremy Walker, Sam Mitchinson, Patrick Gerhardt, Harry Kewell, Aziz Behich, and David Vranković have also departed. Leaving the team significantly stronger than the one that finished at the bottom of the table last season.

Sydney have gone about strengthening their squad as well during the off season, albeit without as much fanfare. Their most significant signing is Austrian international Marc Janko, but they’ve also added the prolific Shane Smeltz, alongside proven A-League players Alex Brosque and Bernie Ibini-Isei, leaving them with an attacking lineup that no team should ignore. Youngster Alex Gersbach was also added to add some defensive depth. The biggest lose is, of course, Alessandro Del Piero who has headed off to India, while Brett Emerton, Terry McFlynn, Richard Garcia, Marc Warren, Blake Powell, Mitch Mallia, Joel Chianese, and Ranko Despotović have also left the club.

Line ups
Sydney FC squad:
20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK)
2.Sebastian RYALL
3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI
5.Matthew JURMAN
6.Nikola PETKOVIC
7.Corey GAMEIRO
8. Milos DIMITRIJEVIC
14. Alex BROSQUE (C)
17. Terry ANTONIS
19. Nick CARLE
29. George BLACKWOOD

Substitutes:
1.Ivan NECEVSKI (GK)
4.Pedj BOJIC
16.Alex GERSBACH
18.Peter TRIANTIS
28. Max BURGESS

Melbourne City FC Squad:
1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK)
3. Robbie WIELAERT
5. Erik PAARTALU
6. Aaron MOOY
7. Iain RAMSAY
8. Massimo MURDOCCA
11. Damien DUFF
14. James BROWN
23. Mate DUGANDZIC
24. Patrick KISNORBO (C)
27. Ross ARCHIBALD

Substitutes:
20. Tando VELAPHI (GK)
9. David VILLA
18. Paulo RETRE
25. Jacob MELLING
26. Marco MARINO

Prediction
There isn’t much to separate the two teams, especially at this stage of the season, so we see this one ending in a 1-1 draw.

Betting Odds
Sydney FC head into the game as slight favourites, paying $2.55, while Melbourne City will give you a return of $2.70. The draw pays $3.25.

Match Details
Who: Sydney FC vs Melbourne City
When: 7.30pm on Saturday 11 October 2014
Where: Allianz Stadium

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Melbourne City 2014/15 Season Preview

Melbourne CIty

It’s 183 days, about 6 months, since the club played its last league match, and a great many changes have occurred. Ownership, club name, club badge, home jersey, away jersey, training ground, assistant coaches, international marquee and about half of the starting XI and overall playing squad list are all different. Now the question is whether there will be a change with the team’s season results, and perhaps a change with the club’s history of not winning silverware as well.

The end goal is clear. As Ferran Soriano has put it, the ultimate aim is to become ‘one of the most successful football clubs in Australia and throughout the region’. The coach John van’t Schip has also unambiguously stated on multiple occasions that ‘our goal is to become the best club in Australia’.

So what does Melbourne City’s first season in 2014/15 promise? Personnel affiliated with Melbourne City have downplayed this season’s expectations, whilst firmly underlining the club’s end goal ambitions. On the 2014/15 season, Van’t Schip has said ‘we have a chance’ to win the Championship, ‘if we work hard, if we gel, if we can deal with the different kind of pressure, and then we’re going to be a team that’s going to be up there, and that’s what we want’.
Given the vast number of changes, it’s tough to predict with certainty how Melbourne City will fare this season, as the many changes that have occurred could conceivably all come up trumps and propel the team to success, or all the changes could fall seriously short and hence be apart of an unsuccessful season, or things could yield mixed results. The consensus with pundits and observers is that Melbourne City will finish mid-table, somewhere between 3rd and 6th, with only outliers suggesting a 1st or a 2nd finish, or a finish outside the finals. However, the bookmakers are more optimistic, with Melbourne City being equal second favourites to win the league.

The way Melbourne City will play football in the 2014/15 season is much more clear. Van’t Schip has said ‘we want to dominate and have the ball’, with the coach further stating that the team will seek to attack more often than defend, try to win the ball back quickly after losing it and to routinely try to defend high up the pitch. The team will likely use a 4-3-3 formation, or a similar formation which utilises wide attacking players. As Van’t Schip has simply put it about team’s style of play: ‘[we] have a philosophy that we don’t change, we just try to play the same way and only we want to play better’.

Given the impossibility of stating with certainty how Melbourne City will go this season, this preview will rather provide the optimistic case for Melbourne City’s upcoming season, where the team finishes in a high position, as well as the pessimistic argument for the upcoming season, where things go astray and the team finishes towards the bottom half of the table. The pessimistic case first:

The glass is half empty because

  • The club doesn’t have a history of success, with the club’s 4 previous seasons being pretty unsuccessful.
  • In pre-season, the team only won 1 out of its 5 matches against A-League opposition.
  • 13 players who were apart of last season’s very unsuccessful campaign remain in the team.
  • David Villa will only play in the team for 10 games (at most), and his short stint could be disruptive.
  • The team hasn’t strengthened defensively, in particular in the fullback and goalkeeper positions.

The glass is half full because

  • Manchester City and the City Football Group have a strong and proven history of success with their undertakings.
  • In pre-season, the team was undefeated in 10 out of 13 matches, winning 7 (with 7-0, 6-0, 5-1, 5-0, 4-0, 1-0 and 2-1 scorelines). Against A-League opposition, the team drew inter-state with Central Coast Mariners and won 2-1 against Perth Glory (with their consolation goal coming around the 90th minute). Also, all of Melbourne City’s best players came towards the tail-end of pre-season (with the best player, David Villa, not featuring at all), and Melbourne City’s pre-season results improved proportionately to these players joining the team (for example, the team has a 100% record since Paartalu joined the team).
  • 10 new players have joined the team, at least 5 of whom will likely be starters (Villa, Duff, Koren, Mooy, Paartalu). Also, these new players provide the team with a strongly talented new spine, consisting of Villa, Koren and Paartalu.
  • Since arriving in Melbourne, Villa has looked like the utmost professional, and he looks set to make a very big impact across his 10 games. Villa’s professionalism is likely to rub off on the team and leave an indelible positive impression on the club. He could also help the team start the season very well, which may be especially helpful for this team in transition. Teams make the finals if they have 11 to 13 wins (at least 32 to 38 points), so Villa making an impact over 10 games alone can just about guarantee finals football.
  • The team has arguably the best midfield in the competition (Koren, Mooy, Paartalu), and maybe the strongest attack as well (Duff, Villa, Williams/Dugandzic). If the team plays to its strengths and plays attacking football, the midfield and attack will be significantly more involved and important in games than the team’s defence. Also, when fit the back four of Garuccio, Kisnorbo, Wielaert/Chapman and Germano/Hoffman is a decent A-League defence.

Overall, with the multitude of changes Melbourne City’s 2014/15 season promises a lot of new experiences. With so much change it is something of a fool’s errand to try and precisely predict how the season will unfold, with there being reasonable arguments for a largely successful season and for a not so successful season. But what we know for sure is that Melbourne City now has the financial support to put it on the road to long-lasting success. With the addition of two Premier League players of last season wearing the club’s jersey in 2014/15, and World Cup winner David Villa, it is sure to be a memorable season. All of these new and exciting changes will happen alongside an increased membership base, generating more attention toward the club than ever before.

This article is by Melbourne Football community member Murfy1.

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MCFC Fan Representative Group Update – September 2014

!Hola! (with a nod to David Villa) from the MCFC FRG for the upcoming 14/15 A-League Season!

The group met on Monday night (23/9/14) to discuss the upcoming season, the family day and other general matters that are on the minds and in the thoughts of our impressively growing support base. With membership numbers now exceeding 8000, it should be put on record that this a brilliant result and a genuine demonstration of the excitement building around Melbourne City, the A-League and the game in general.

Firstly, at our meeting, there was some talk about the family day. A great success, particularly for kids, and the supporters who attended were very grateful for the opportunity to speak with the players and club officials in a free and casual manner. With plenty of blue on show, some were disappointed that the official red & white away strip was not available on the day, but nevertheless, the home strip and other merchandise seemed to be selling like hotcakes.

On the colours, apart from the logo, it was tabled that at both the Ballarat game and on family day, players and staff were predominantly wearing sky blue, and hardly any red, with the club setup seeming a little like Sydney. Can we have more harmony between the old and new colours, eg. a choice of blue or red & white facepaint/balloons at games/events (not just blue)? Can the “Victory” navy blue stripe on the home shirt/membership card be red instead next season?

The FRG would love the club to give the supporters / members a chance to have a say on this.

In any event, there was still plenty of red and white on display from supporters, which will no doubt continue to be a feature in the stands on match day this season.

With regard to match day, supporters will soon become acquainted with the new active supporter group, the Melburnians. They have big shoes to fill, with Yarraside no more, but the FRG is sure the Melburnians will quickly develop into an integral part of the match day experience. A senior member of the Melburnians is on the FRG and he has indicated that he is hopefully that everyone in the stadium will join in with them singing So Happy Together, as well as other possible whole-of-crowd chants & songs, during the season.

With the other matchday songs (walkout, goal, etc) the club is working towards locking in some options, and the FRG understands that supporters will be given a chance to be part of the discussion in the coming days.

At our first ever home game the large home kit that supporters signed on family day will be unveiled by the club and will hung from the stadium rafters throughout the season.

The FRG is hopeful that our inaugural home game will be a celebration of our club (we have suggested an Etihad jet flyover!), whereby those who have been here in the past, and all our new supporters, can come together and start on a journey towards ongoing success that is built on respecting the game and playing attractive, exciting and winning football, whilst bringing families, friends and people together for love of the game.

The FRG also acknowledges that our away attendance for round 1 in Sydney will possibly set a club record, and that the Melbourne City FC should celebrate this, and assist supporters by putting things in place to enable fans to come together across the border, where hopefully we will get a win.

See you all in the stands! Our next meeting will be soon after our first home game and the club will canvass the membership base in the lead up to the meeting seeking questions and topics of interest for the FRG to discuss.

The Melbourne City FC FRG.

This update was provided to us by the Melbourne City FC FRG, we will continue to publish future updates from the group.

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