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'Playing like Manchester?': Three things we learned - City vs Mariners

That’s five in a row now for the City boys as the team rolls on to record an impressive 2-0 win over the league-leading Central Coast Mariners.

Jamie Maclaren latched on to a squaring pass from Florin Berenguer to put City ahead in the 31st minute, before Nathaniel Atkinson doubled our lead in the 56th minute by netting his first goal of the season.

The night was marred by an early groin injury to centre-back Nuno Reis, but it afforded an opportunity for midfielder Adrian Luna to get some minutes back into his legs following a period on the sidelines.

After yet another decisive win by the boys, here’s what we were able to take away:


Coming up big when the stakes are high

Macarthur: 3-0

Mariners: 2-0

Wanderers: ?

We said coming into the Macarthur game that the next two fixtures would be the litmus test for our season; a chance to see if we’re proper contenders or not.

As it turns out, we’ve not just passed the test, we’ve aced it.

Melbourne City has now well and truly established its title credentials following dominant wins over our fellow contenders, but another win over second-place Wanderers on Friday – aside from being a record sixth-consecutive victory – would surely establish us as the team to beat.

Playing like Manchester?

The incredible thing about this five-game winning streak is that, somehow, all five performances have been more pleasing than the results overall.

These wins haven’t even been close encounters, aside from a late scare from Sydney when they were already out of the game. The combined Expected Goals values of these wins goes to further this point, with City’s 12.38 heavily outweighing the 3.23 of its opposition, indicating not only that we’re being clinical and scoring from some of our more unlikely opportunities (xG would suggest that we’ve overperformed by about four goals), we’re also denying good scoring opportunities for our opposition.

This might be a sore spot for some fans of the club, but it feels as though there are plenty of parallels that can be drawn with our parent club Manchester City right now, especially in the manner that we’re clinically dispatching opposition on a consistent basis.

Four consecutive clean sheets certainly resembles the way our English counterparts have gone about their business this campaign, and we can only hope that we can build into a similar double-digit winning-streak that would also prove decisive in wrapping up the league.

Is there a better time to be coming on as a sub?

Confidence couldn’t be higher amongst the playing group right now and we can hardly think of a better time to be coming on as a substitute.

The likes of Colakovski, Tilio, Garuccio and Tsubaki are being thrown on in the second half when games are already won and are every chance of getting their names on the scoresheet or providing an assist.

It’s hard to go past Colakovski as the perfect example, with the winger already boasting a goal and an assist this year whilst being the narrowest of margins away from setting up a second goal for Maclaren last night, with Kye Rowles forced into making a goal-saving intervention to prevent the youngster from serving on a plate for Maclaren.

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