Melbourne City are set to face some seriously good opposition as they prepare for a tough matchup in the FFA Cup Round of 32 against South Australian side Campbelltown City.
The reigning NPL Australia champions are comfortably on top of the NPL SA table, with two games in-hand over second-place.
Melbourne City, on the other hand, were fortunate to be awarded a last-minute penalty which stole an unlikely victory at Oakleigh last Tuesday night. It’s only early in the pre-season schedule, but City fans will be hoping for a more convincing display against Campbelltown when the two sides face off on Wednesday night in the FFA Cup.
We’ll be experimenting with the format of our match previews throughout the season, so let us know what you’d like to see in the previews via our social media platforms.
Heading into the knockout fixture, here are three storylines we’re looking forward to against Campbelltown City.
A proper look at the new attacking philosophy
City fans lamented the dreary, unattractive style of play of the past two seasons, and the dissatisfaction has probably been best-evidenced by some pretty poor home attendances in 2018/19.
The upcoming campaign promises plenty more goals however, with Erick Mombaert’s ambition to play an attacking style of football being well-publicised. We’ve got a top-quality striker in Jamie Maclaren and an impressive supporting cast of attacking-minded players who we’ve acquired throughout the pre-season, along with existing young talents like Lachie Wales, Denis Genreau and Rami Najjarine.
4-3: Just a one-off, right?
Whilst the friendly against Oakleigh Cannons was an opportunity for experimentation and chemistry-building, the fact that we conceded three goals was a little concerning, particularly given the challenge we’re about to face.
Campbelltown are streets ahead of every other NPL SA team offensively, leading the league in goals scored with 46, and averaging 2.66 per game.
As alluded to in our opposition preview, Campbelltown’s strength is in their attacking interplay and the individual quality of their star wingers Luigi DiTroia (11 goals in 18 app.) and Yohei Matsumoto (9 goals in 18 app.).
It’s far too early to hold any genuine concerns about our defensive capabilities, but the back four will need to be at their best if we’re to progress through to the Round of 16.
Speaking of all those new signings, who IS in the best XI?
Whilst Brillante, Galloway and Windbichler probably slot straight in, the BIG selection dilemma will be in the forward half, and how Mombaerts can fit new signings Craig Noone, Javier Cabrera and Adrián Luna into a starting XI which could also include Jamie Maclaren, Florin Berenguer and even talented youngsters Lachie Wales and Denis Genreau.
With the back four and at least one midfield spot sewn up, you’ve got to wonder which of those seven players will miss out on the five remaining positions, and whether individual quality may need to be sacrificed for team balance.
If you're heading over for the clash then make sure you check out the pregame event organised by the Travelling Fans group! Join them at the Rezz Hotel from 4pm.
Melbourne City will head to Steve Woodcock Sports Centre in South Australia for the FFA Cup Round of 16 fixture against Campbelltown City on Wednesday, July 31. Kick-off is at 7:30pm.