City has once again been held to a draw by crosstown rivals Melbourne Victory in a fiery, but ultimately frustrating, Derby performance.
After falling behind on 19 minutes, City was able to salvage a point thanks to a Curtis Good header on the stroke of half-time.
Here are three things we learned from this one:
We are too predictable
Going forward and defending we are just way too easy to predict this season. Our game-plan is one-dimensional and we completely struggle to challenge teams that sit back and defend and then hit on the counter.
We are the reigning champions and we play a possession-based game style, of course other teams are going to sit back and park the bus against us!
All season we have consistently struggled to break down teams when they sit back, and the other side of a team playing that style is that they are going to attack on the counter trying to catch teams on the fast break, and we look all at sea when defending the break.
If it weren’t for some poor finishing by Victory they would have comfortably beat us last night. Every time they broke we looked lost and they looked like scoring.
I don’t understand how our defence is still struggling with this at this point in the season, but it is very worrying.
A golden opportunity wasted
This game was the perfect opportunity to solidify our spot on top of the table. Western United copped a big loss at the hands of Sydney, so taking all three points would have put us in a terrific position.
Victory was coming off two international flights and a 120-minute midweek match, while we were coming off a seven-day break. We completely failed to take advantage of this.
This game should 100% be viewed as two points dropped as opposed to one point gained. This should have been a win.
Last season we beat Victory 6-0 and then 7-0. Obviously, a lot has changed for them since then, but since that 7-0 win, we have only managed 3 draws against the worst team in the country last season.
Something doesn’t feel right
If you look at the ladder and you see Melbourne City in first position, you’d naturally think that everything was going well. If you look closer it becomes obvious that the table doesn’t truly reflect the reality of where teams are at. With such massive differences in games played across every team, it really is difficult to actually see who the best teams are. Then if you actually watch us play, you see that not everything is looking good at all.
Our keeping situation is inconsistent, with both Tom Glover and Matt Sutton failing to impress.
Our defence is one of the leakiest in the league, copping easy goals on the counter or from set-pieces consistently. Nuno Reis looks a shadow of his dominant self from last season. Whilst he pulled off a couple of terrific tackles, he has become much more prone to being booked as he is more regularly caught out of position and forced to foul, and his passing last night was poor at best.
Our midfield goes hot and cold, with some performances out of the top drawer whilst at other times appearing completely invisible.
Our forward line has been all over the place. Jamie Maclaren is still scoring goals, but the nature of his playing style is that he requires service to do so, and when we have a game like last night where that service is few and far between, he is wasted for us. Andrew Nabbout, after starting the season so brightly has failed to score or assist in 7 of his last 8 matches. Matthew Leckie started poor and then finally found his feet before getting injured. Stefan Colacovski looks completely devoid of any confidence when coming off the bench, and missed two clear-cut chances last night.
It’s all quite concerning. The table is making us look better than we have been, and the signs are not great heading into the back end of the season. Things need to turn around, and fast.