Match preview: City vs Newcastle
After missing our chance to establish a buffer at the top of the table, the City boys will be as hungry as ever for another chance to collect three points as we head into the business end of the season.
City’s last game was a 1-1 draw against Macarthur FC last Saturday night, with the boys looking good money for a win until a misplaced pass and subsequent Kerrin Stokes defensive calamity allowed Michael Ruhs to nip in to score the frustrating equaliser.
Thursday night’s opposition, the Newcastle Jets, last played on Monday night against Western United, going down 2-0 in what we’re sure you’re already aware was the lowest official crowd in A-League history… SMFC Mike must have been having a field day with that one…
With the club having previously indicated that Nuno Reis’ and Rostyn Griffiths’ post-Derby ailments should only require one week on the sidelines, the two defensive options should be back in contention for starting spots come tomorrow night.
Here are the major talking points heading into the game:
The dangerous ‘should’ word
The bottom line is that Newcastle, to put it lightly, aren’t very good right now.
The Jets haven’t won in their last ten games, including an equal club-worst losing streak of seven games in that time, and haven’t won against Melbourne City at AAMI Park for five and a half years.
Whilst we’re not expecting another 6- or 7-0, because the Jets tend to actually be competitive in the games they lose as opposed to another bottom-feeder club we know of, Thursday’s game SHOULD be a comfortable three points for the boys and a chance to improve on our recent performances, starting with one man…
Time to sort out this one-on-one form, Macca
Alright Jamie, you’ve gotten the wayward shooting out of the way, you can go back to scoring sitters when you’re one-on-one against the keeper now.
Having outlined just how poor Newcastle have been recently, Thursday night’s game should represent a fairly low-stakes affair (shouldn’t be a need for clutch winners) for Maclaren to rediscover his form in one-on-one situations.
Here’s hoping he shatters the 100 A-League goal ceiling with a brace or hattrick and scores one or two of those simple chances that we’ve been needing him to convert for a while.
Reinforcing the back four
It’s not yet been confirmed at the time of writing (Wednesday morning; you’ll probably know by the time you’re reading this though) but Nuno Reis and Rostyn Griffiths should be in line for a return to the starting lineup following a week off with soreness.
We know it’d appease quite a few supporters who were critical of Kerrin Stokes to see either of those more experienced central defensive options come into the side for the youngster and objectively, it’s also the right move to make assuming they’re fit.
Newcastle Jets have scored the fewest goals in the league – the only side to be scoring at a rate of less than a goal a game – so with the likes of Reis and/or Griffiths returning and Curtis Good in career-best form, securing the clean sheet is a must.