Tuesday night saw Melbourne City play out a 2-1 defeat against the traveling Adelaide United.
City started the game positively, perhaps even feeling unlucky not to go in two or three goals up at the break, but ultimately, we were again our own worst enemy conceding two cheap goals that cost the boys maximum points.
Whilst deeply frustrating, losses always provide an opportunity for reflection. Below are three things we learned from the fixture:
Pucciarelli won’t be a focal member of this squad
When the Italian signed for the club in the preseason many were left wondering just where exactly he would fit into this squad. I think it’s now pretty safe to say that nowhere is the answer to that question.
Pucciarelli has made just two league appearances out of a possible 12. To make that sound worse, his appearances consist of a four-minute spell and a one-minute cameo. That equals five played minutes out of 1080 available. Even as I write this I can’t quite wrap my head around how that’s happened.
Florin Berenguer is having possibly his best season for us, whilst Aiden O'Neill and Connor Metcalfe continue to put in decent shifts, which doesn’t make it easy for the Italian, but something sure isn’t right, it mustn’t be.
In recent weeks this has been highlighted by Taras Gomulka seemingly being given the faith as our midfield influence off the bench.
No disrespect to Gomulka, but I think we’d be hard-pressed to find a single City fan who expected a relatively inexperienced 20-year-old to be given the green light over one of our precious visa occupiers.
No one knows just what’s gone on, but it looks as if Pucciarelli could well be on his way to the long list of City imports who didn’t work out. A deep shame considering the promise he carried upon arrival.
Not learning our lesson
For a third time running this season, we have dropped points to the Reds from winning positions.
What makes this even more annoying is that on every one of those three occasions we were probably to blame for the goals conceded that cost us the wins.
The loss last night now means that City has dropped a total of seven points on offer from Adelaide, which means with some better game management we could’ve very well been comfy on top with 26 points right now.
Unfortunately, as we all know, football isn’t always decided by who deserved to win, but who can make the most of the opportunities presented to them.
The Reds have done this well this year, and have left everyone involved at City deeply, deeply frustrated.
All things considered, not a bad week:
I hate losing as much as any of us, but when we lose it's always key to look past raw emotion.
We’ll all be feeling pretty dirty because we know we could’ve and should’ve won last night, but I think most of us would’ve been happy to take six points from three games in seven days if you’d been asked at the start of the fixture run.
City’s performance last night I thought was good. We created a lot in the first half, forced some great saves from Gauci, but at times didn’t test him well enough from great positions.
We actually ended up having seven more shots on target than the Reds on the night, a whopping nine to two. The chances and intent on the night were there, we just lacked some polish. That’s not awfully surprising when we’ve played 270 minutes of football in the space of a week.
Up the other end, we conceded a fluke goal and gifted another. Super annoying, but it doesn’t truly reflect the overall performance on the night.
We stay second for now, being a couple of games in advantage on those around us, but even with results in other games possibly not going our way, we’re still well within reach of the top two with a heap of football still to be played.
The performances in all three matches this week were a vast improvement from what we’ve seen at times this season, and on another day we could’ve taken all nine points on offer.
It wasn’t the case this time, but we may just have to cop it on the chin and go back to the drawing board. Overall, however, we’re looking to be moving in the right direction.
Melbourne City ends a largely positive seven days on a sour note, but that doesn’t define the positive strides the group has seemingly made in that time.
Luckily for us, we won’t have to dwell on the loss too long. Our sights now move to Friday night where we’ll have an opportunity to jump back on the winners' list with a home clash against the Newcastle Jets.