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'Back to our best... sort of': Three things we learned - City vs Wanderers

Melbourne City has picked up another vital three points with a solid 2-1 win at home to Western Sydney Wanderers earlier this afternoon.


The team was back to its attacking best and picked up two first-half goals thanks to Rhianna Pollicina and Holly McNamara, before conceding an unexpected consolation goal in first-half stoppage time that made the second 45 a tense affair.


Big chances were missed, questionable refereeing decisions were made and key players were subbed off at nerve-wracking times, but the City girls were ultimately able to hang on for the victory.


Here’s what we learned from the Sunday afternoon thriller:


Source: Robert Cianflone / Getty Images

An improved performance despite the close result

On the day that 19-year-old McNamara returned to the starting lineup, so too, unsurprisingly, did City’s attacking fluency.


The team fired off 14 shots, including nine on target, and had several huge opportunities to blow out the scoreline in what was a markedly improved attacking performance from recent weeks, when we’d similarly been securing only narrow victories against Adelaide and Brisbane but had predominantly been the inferior side.


It’s now no secret that the youngster’s presence on the team sheet makes City a markedly more dangerous attacking force, and with a solid run home to finish the season, fans will hope that McNamara and Co. can provide a consistent source of goals to help us consolidate second place – or better, because we need to consider…


Are we writing ourselves off for the Premiership too early?

Sydney FC have been the clear standouts this season, and we’ve not been shy to admit this in previous articles and podcasts, but for all their dominance, the Sky Blues lead the league by just four points following City’s win this afternoon.


Rado Vidosic’s side has demonstrated the ability to pick up wins even when not playing to their potential, and between the fact that we’ve lost just two games this season (against last season’s Premiers and Champions respectively) and our favourable run home (only one game against a current top four team), there’s every chance that the City girls could collect maximum points in our remaining fixtures.


There is, of course, the glaring exception to that manageable final run of games, being a home fixture against Sydney FC in what will be a blockbuster clash later in February.


Whilst the scoreline had a decidedly Sky Blue tinge to it when the two teams met earlier this season, the next time the teams face we’ll have McNamara – whose influence on the team has already been documented – who could help us to secure an unlikely victory given she wasn’t involved in the last meeting.


It’d take some consistently incredible performances, and preferably a slip-up or two by the current league leaders, but we’re not out of this title race just yet.


The club got its attacking signings spot-on

McNamara has taken all the plaudits so far in this piece, but it also needs to be said that City’s offensive acquisitions overall have been brilliant this season.


Between the aforementioned McNamara, Pollicina and Hannah Wilkinson, City’s front three have a combined 15 goals and four assists (the latter feels lower than it should be, but FBRef.com says otherwise).


It’s ironic that McNamara has been at the centre of the discussion in this post-match review when it was Pollicina who starred for City against the Wanderers, whilst Wilkinson’s exploits this season are well-known.


Whilst further attacking depth would be appreciated, highlighted by the aforementioned drop-off in City’s performances in McNamara’s absence, it needs to be said that the recruitment department have nailed their acquisitions up front this season.

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