Wellington vs Melbourne City, Westpac Stadium, Saturday 8th of October @ 5:35pm AEST.
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Melbourne City: $2.05
Wellington Phoenix: $3.50
Anything worth a punt on? – Melbourne City to win both halves at $6.25 seems entirely reasonable. If you ignore the fact that we start the season terribly. And that we don’t play overly well away from home. And that we once drew with this team when they were missing not only 7 players, but also their coach (!). I’ve got a good feeling about this one.
Last time they met: A clinical 3-0 for Melbourne City where we arguably could (should?) have scored more. The game will probably most remembered for my call for goal of the season from Harry Novillo where he finished off an audacious chipped pass from Bruno Fornaroli. Also saw the start of the regulation capitulation that we like to observe at the end of the season.
Last season’s results: MCY 3:0 PHX (Novillo, Fornaroli x2) 28.03.2016
PHX 2:1 MCY (Mooy, in absentia: Defenders) 26.02.2016
MCY 3:1 PHX (Fornaroli, Novillo x2) 25.01.2016
Melbourne City: It’s difficult not to be excited about the start of the season. It might be the fact that City showed real promise in their last FFA Cup match against the Wanderers, it might be the fact that our off-season goes for 170 days, who knows. But City come into this one with a nearly full strength squad (minus Tim Cahill on international duty and Ivan Franjic whose been rumoured to have a November start date on his season, good news for all involved) and should look to beat Wellington comfortably. Nicholas Colazo will hopefully get a start to show his ability on the left flank as a marauding full back (looked energetic up and down against Auckland City on family day and took his goal well), while Osama Malik finally looked like the player he can be last time out, making forays into midfield to cut balls out, with the defence looking infinitely more solid with Jakobsen at the heart of defence. Connor Chapman as a right back isn’t an overly exciting thought, but he’s been serviceable enough in the absence of Franjic. The front third is loaded with an embarrassment of riches, with Fitzgerald relegated to the bench. The other bench spots are likely to be very defensive and made up of Retre, Muscat and Rose (though I’d like to see Daniel Arzani move onto the pine if Caceras moves into the starting 11 to replace Cahill).
Possible Starting 11.
Chapman Malik Jakobsen Colazo
Kamou Caceras Brandan
Wellington Phoenix: The Wellington Phoenix should be an exciting team (at least going forward) this year. But not when they’re decimated by international call ups like they will be on Saturday with Barbarouses, McGlinchey, Ridenton and Durante (and Louis Fenton a late call up to replace Ryan Thomas) all to miss and possibly Krishna too (but for the life of me I can’t determine if Fiji have a game or not in this international break). They’ll also struggle to replace Sigmunds graft in the backline, which will likely see a defence pairing of Dylan Fox and new import Marco Rossi who could have a torrid time against a Melbourne City front 3 who will be keen to get off on the right foot. Ernie Merrick does know how to put out a well drilled side though and Bonevacia and Finkler can be tricky when given space.
Possible Starting 11:
Lowry Fox Rossi Doyle
Parkhouse Bonevacia Rodriguez Lia
Prediction: Melbourne City 3-1 Wellington. Melbourne City should have far too much quality for an undermanned Wellington, we’ll conceded in the 70th-80th minute when the game is done for good measure.
Played for both clubs: Dylan Macallister. An entirely good question of why Dylan Macallister can be asked here. Because of his goal against Victory in the opening round derby of 12-13 season. Still our only winning start to a season in our history. Also managed to get himself sent off within 11 minutes against Perth which is an achievement in itself. Hard to remember but was a very good player for an entertaining Wellington side a few years before. Currently kicking around in the NPL NSW for Rockdale City.