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Match preview: City vs Newcastle

Melbourne City will play their second W-League game in four days when they take on Newcastle Jets this Sunday afternoon at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex.

City’s Thursday night clash against Western Sydney was one of the lowlights of an already disappointing season, with the Wanderers trouncing the home team four goals to nil.

Newcastle’s most-recent result was a dominant 4-0 win over Perth Glory on Monday night, with goals to Rhianna Pollicina, Lauren Allan and two to Sunny Franco.

Having missed the Thursday night game against Western Sydney, Teagan Micah and Harriet Withers aren’t expected to play in tomorrow’s clash against the Jets.

Here are the major talking points heading into the game:

Andrew Wiseman // @wisemansports

Impact of injuries

Fans who attended the Wanderers game at Frank Holohan Reserve would have been shocked to see Teagan Micah on the wrong side of the fence to what they were expecting, with City’s #1 left on crutches following a midweek injury.

As a result, playing-assistant coach Melissa Barbieri became the oldest player to appear in the W-League at 41 years and 19 days, and the veteran performed admirably despite the circumstances, pulling off a number of vital saves.

Unless Micah makes a miracle recovery in record time, it looks as though Barbieri will make history again by breaking her own newly-set record when she appears this Sunday.

In other news, Harriet Withers continues to be sidelined for what we can only imagine is an injury-related reason, once again depriving City of the forward’s dynamic, line-breaking runs.

Again, unless Withers is cleared to play just three days after being deemed unfit for the Wanderers game, it appears as though City are set for another difficult 90 minutes up the attacking end.

A spark of hope before the Perth showdown

Let’s face it, the only games that matter now are our final two fixtures of the season against Perth Glory as both teams scrap to avoid finishing bottom of the table.

After Perth’s inspired performance against Canberra last night, in which they were only denied a point thanks to a literal last-minute winner from Michelle Heyman, the Glory are looking an ominous force that could very easily knock City off the way things are going.

As a result, this weekend’s clash against Newcastle Jets represents a chance to both nab a point or three that could prove decisive in the wooden spoon ‘race’ and to also inspire some much-needed hope ahead of the Perth games.

History’s on our side against Newcastle too, with the Jets never having won against City in nine previous meetings, whilst City have never failed to score at home against this Sunday’s opposition.

Stars need to rediscover their shine

A noticeable trend underpinning our recent poor form has been that the stars within the team have very much lost their shine since making strong starts initially.

Alex Chidiac shoulders a great deal of the attacking burden and needs to be making the most of her limited goalscoring opportunities given the quality she boasts.

Chinatsu Kira works harder than just about anyone on the field, but has to rediscover her creativity and reward her efforts with goal contributions as she was doing earlier in the season.

Finally, whilst she may be earlier in her career than her more-experienced counterparts, Hollie Palmer similarly needs to lift in the final three fixtures. The 19-year-old arrived at City on the back of a full season of starts with Brisbane Roar, so has well and truly had time to find her feet in the league. With just two assists to her name this campaign, the attacking midfielder needs to ease the load on midfield partner Chidiac and bring some desperately-needed dynamism and unpredictability to City’s final third movements.

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