'Determination Over Creativity': Three things we learned - City vs Macarthur

We remain undefeated against the Macarthur Bulls after running out 3-1 winners at home on Wednesday night.


The scoreline somewhat flattered our performance, but the determination to come from behind after going down a goal early meant we truly deserved all three points.


Here's what we learned from the important three-point performance:


Source: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

Power and Pace


It was a shaky start to the game for the team in City blue; we couldn't hold onto the ball in the first half as we trotted out a somewhat disjointed performance.


There were no stand-out players as our passes failed to find their targets and our counter-attacks broke down due to our own errors.


On the balance of play we deserved the three points, largely due to a more composed second half, but considering a penalty and an own goal were required to contribute to our scoreline, we shouldn't let the result fool us into thinking there isn't still more work to be done.

Pace & Power Personified - Source: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

Macarthur managed to shut down our midfield tonight, largely keeping Metcalfe and Berenguer quiet during build-up play. It's hardly the first game this season where our defence has been forced to skip our midfield when on the attack and so it wasn't all too surprising when we were forced to play out wide - our tactics seemed to change early on to Operation: Get The Ball To Nabbout So He Can Bomb Down The Wing At Defenders. Not a bad idea when ex-City lad Moudi Najjar is playing as a left-wing-back for some reason.


With a rare start for Tilio it was a shame to not see him involved more, though like many others on the field he was far from his best - even if he did earn the penalty that sealed our victory.


Our form at home hasn't been the best this season so it was an important win to repay the faith to those of us who have been making our way to AAMI park for these midweek games this season. Let's just hope we can win more convincingly going forward.


Sutton Starts


As hinted in the line-up of the ill-fated game against the Nix on Sunday, Kisnorbo has made the huge call to drop Tommy Glover, our number one goalkeeper of the last few seasons, for his back-up Matthew Sutton. It's been a divisive debate amongst the City faithful all season but the gaffer finally decided it was time to give Sutto a chance at bedding down the position.


There must be immense pressure on 'keepers when given a chance to usurp the number one; opportunities like this only come along once or twice a season if at all, so how did he do? Well, not too shabby. His first half an hour was somewhat shaky and it's debatable if the goal conceded could've been managed better as it could be speculated that he would've been better off staying on his line rather than committing to coming out as he did. But, the truth is it was a good cross into the box and if Sutton is at fault, then our defenders are equally so as we failed to deal with the set-piece routine and subsequent follow-up.

Tilio gets another start under his belt - Source: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

As the game went on, however, the young lad's confidence between the sticks seemed to grow as he was emboldened as the minutes went by and the crowd's cheers of support rang loud behind his back in the second half. He was always committed in his decisions to come out to meet the ball or stay on his line, made some good punches at set-pieces, was calm under pressure with the ball at his feet and his distribution wasn't too bad either.


There's certainly no reason Sutton's time between the sticks shouldn't extend another ninety minutes.


Tussle For The Top


We're always happy to take three points at the end of a game, and no one would argue we didn't deserve it against the Bulls.


Hell, Flo and Jamie scored more goals to add to their impressive tallies and we saw plenty of youth take the field late on - there was plenty to be happy about.


But we know we need to do better if we want to win the Premiership again this season, and it's been an oddly frustrating one so far. Complaints of inconsistency have rung loud and it's plain for all to see that we haven't quite hit top gear yet - and we're starting to leave it late.

Our tug-o-war at the top continues - Source: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

Yet despite all this, we are currently sitting top of the table, though on goal difference and with two more games played than the team below us. Week in week out we temporarily go top of the table only to falter and allow Western United to go back up to the summit as they soldier on with their one-nil wins.


There have been questions about our goalkeepers, and weeks where we can't progress the ball through our midfield, but the plain truth is it's high time we hit our full potential across the board. There have been glimpses of it, we know it's there, we just need to reach it and stay there.


 

Determination can get us far, but we can't just keep plugging away and hope that own-goals and penalties get us over the line. We'll certainly have to be more creative and composed if we want to get a win on the weekend against the best defence in the league and truly stake our claim at the top of the table.


Opportunity is coming knocking this weekend, let's hope we rise to meet it, because simply doing enough - as we did against Macarthur - won't cut it this time around.



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