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'Ceiling's Within Reach': 3 things we learned - Brisbane vs City

City’s W-League side have rolled on to another win to maintain their undefeated start to the season, easing to a 2-0 victory over Brisbane Roar.

In what was probably our most convincing performance of the past few weeks, an early goal to Milica Mijatovic following a deflected save from Roar’s keeper Mackenzie Arnold put City up 1-0 and freed us up to continue playing attacking football from there.

Despite several dominant periods however, it wasn’t until Aivi Luik’s 74th minute goal that we finally put Brisbane away, with the Roar creating several good scoring opportunities where they could’ve equalised.

Back on top of the W-League table for another week, here’s what we learned from Thursday night’s win:

We were wrong about Mijatovic

The Serbian who’d started out as a write-off in our books quickly became a ‘dark horse signing’ and, with her performance on Thursday, has now well and truly stepped into a spotlight of her own.

When she first signed we were concerned that she didn’t possess the same flair or game-breaking capabilities that we perceived in fellow signing Claire Emslie (more on that later), but Rado Vidosic’s switch to a 3-5-2 has facilitated a noticeable step-up in her performances, permitting her to feed balls wide to our wingbacks or through the middle to either Emslie or Kyah Simon.

Mijatovic has proven her ability to play fantastic and creative touches in the buildup play and to get into good positions at the right time, as she did for her well-taken goal against the Roar.

The Serbian now leads the team for assists and is tied with Emily van Egmond for most goals, and is without doubt outperforming a certain fellow signing of hers…

The ‘Craig Noone’ of the W-League side

In our W-League season preview, we’d highlighted Scottish recruit Claire Emslie as our ‘One to Watch’ in season 2019/20, but she’s been anything but in her six appearances thus far.

In fact, for all that Craig Noone’s received flack from fans watching the A-League side, Emslie (though she’s struggled with niggling injuries throughout the season) is probably performing worse.

Noone averages 2.27 key passes per game to Emslie’s 1.5, whilst averaging around the same amount of shots (at a higher accuracy), despite playing on the wing, whereas Emslie’s spent a decent amount of time as one of the two strikers in Rado Vidosic’s 3-5-2. Noone has two assists and a goal to Emslie’s one and zero.

Admittedly, one of the stronger aspects of Emslie’s game has been her willingness to drift wide and involve herself in the build-up play, but strikers are paid to score goals, and she’s yet to find the back of the net; something we’re hoping will change very soon.

We’ve finally caught glimpses of our ‘ceiling’ and it’s breathtaking to witness

All season long we’ve repeatedly mentioned that our W-League side are capable of achieving a much higher standard of play than they’ve demonstrated thus far. It goes to show how good of a team we have on our hands that we can go seven games undefeated (and on a six-game winning streak) without really hitting our straps.

In parts of Thursday night’s win, we finally hit that ceiling for a few 10-15 minute patches, and the football was a pleasure to watch. In these periods, the pressing was tenacious, attacking interplay between the wingers, strikers and midfielders was quick and incisive and chance creation was frequent and of good quality.

The issue remains, however, our inability to actually finish these chances and make the most of these 10-15 minute windows.

As ever, the floodgates are bulging and we’re waiting for them to burst…

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