'Nothing Left to Prove': 3 things we learned - Victory vs City
The City girls are on the verge of securing a second W-League Premiership following their 4-0 thumping of rivals Melbourne Victory in the second and final Derby of the season.
Emily van Egmond opened the scoring with a mesmerising curler before Claire Emslie rounded the keeper to score her first goal from open play for the season.
Our Scottish import would later double her tally with an easy finish from the rebound of her initial shot, whilst Kyah Simon killed the game with a tap in later in the second half.
With our girls presumably set to write themselves into the history books within the next week, here’s what we learned from our Derby win:
Nothing left to prove
After our convicting 4-0 battering of Melbourne Victory in the final W-League Derby of the season, our City girls have – if anything – proven that they’ve nothing left to prove.
What we’re saying is that it feels as though today was the day that we well and truly won the league (without actually having done so yet), and here’s why:
Our squad is stacked from top to bottom, we’ve kept a record-equalling SEVEN consecutive clean sheets and, terrifyingly, it seems as though we’re just getting better and better as the season’s end draws nearer.
Though we face respectable opposition in our remaining two games (against Western Sydney and Brisbane Roar respectively), there’s absolutely no reason we can’t finish the season undefeated.
It must be said though, for all that another ‘Invincibles’ season sounds terrific, it doesn’t count for a whole lot if we don’t go on to remain unbeaten throughout Finals.
Going for the record
As aforementioned, City’s shutout of Melbourne Victory means that the City girls have now kept a record-equalling seven consecutive clean sheets, a feat only previously achieved by our ‘Invincibles’ squad back in 2015/16.
With Western Sydney Wanderers away representing our next challenge on our way to a potential fourth W-League title (and second Premiership), the girls will be looking to break their own record by keeping out a Wanderers frontline which no longer boasts superstar signing Lynn Williams and which will also be missing North Carolina Courage forward Kristen Williams, another of the Wanderers’ best players, who received her marching order in her side’s recent Derby loss to Sydney FC.
Whilst wingbacks Steph Catley and Ellie Carpenter often receive the most praise given their contributions to City’s attacking output, our regular back three of Lauren Barnes, Emma Checker and Rebekah Stott also deserve plenty of credit for their role in City’s run of 650+ minutes without conceding.
Whilst the up-and-coming Checker boasts performances worthy of regular Matildas action and whilst Lauren Barnes’ impeccable form only proves that she’s potentially getting better with age, we also want to give Rebekah Stott a serious pump-up for her invaluable ability to break the game open with driving runs through the middle of the park. Thanks to her capabilities on the ball, she’s occasionally entitled to roam higher up the pitch to become a deeper-lying midfielder during City’s attacking transition, allowing for more advanced midfielders to push even further forward and to make runs beyond the opposition backline.
EvE’s dominance continues
It’s been said multiple times on the podcasts already, but Emily van Egmond is surely now the most influential player in Melbourne City’s W-League side since the GOAT herself, Jess Fishlock.
Accordingly, we’ve simply got to give ‘EvE’ another round of credit after another dazzling performance in the Derby.
There are genuinely very few attacking midfielders in WORLD football who are as prolific a goalscorer as van Egmond, whose curling effort to open the scoring for City was yet another stunner to add to the several worldies she’s scored this season alone.
Beyond her goalscoring ability, she’s an aggressive-minded attacker whose first move is always to look for a way forward, and her interplay with our attacking wingers and fullbacks serves as the cornerstone of the buildup play for City’s best attacking chances.
van Egmond’s inclusion in the current City squad simply can’t be appreciated enough by the City faithful and we can genuinely only hope that we’re able to secure her services for the season/s to come.