'Questions asked, City answered': Three things we learned - City vs Newcastle
Friday night saw Melbourne City put in a dominant performance as they ran over the top of the Newcastle Jets, finishing the game 3-0 winners.
The result put City back on top of the A-League Men's table for the time being, whilst further cementing that we currently are in possession of the most lethal attack in the league.
As City continues to gather points, here are three things we learned from last night's match:
The Tilio Show Last night saw Marco Tilio put in one of the best halves we’ve seen him have for the club.
Both teams struggled to really develop any sense of authority on the game in the first half, with some Berenguer and Maclaren magic in the dying embers of the first half being the only thing separating the two sides at the break.
Enter Marco Tilio.
Tilio came out like a man on the mission. Every time he gained possession on the ball he looked to attack with intent and purpose. Ultimately this became the difference in the game.
Tilio created chance after chance, completing three successful dribbles into the opposition area, five key passes and earning himself two assists on the night, feeding Leckie and Jenkinson both on a silver platter.
He also managed to be the most fouled player on the night, drawing Taylor Regan into both of his cautionable offences that resulted in his early shower.
All things considered, Marco Tilio was the rightful recipient of the man of the match award in a statement performance.
Tilio has struggled for regular first-team action with the likes of Nabbout and Leckie ahead of him, but if he keeps putting in shifts like that, just try keeping him out of the starting XI.
O'Neill pivotal to our success With so many stars at City, it can sometimes be difficult to ensure every player is getting the plaudits they deserve, and Aiden O’Neill is one of these players.
The ex-Premier League man missed a lot of football due to injury last year, but has managed to become a mainstay in the squad this season.
He is what so many clubs desire but don’t all have, a reliable rock in the middle of the pitch. City relies on fast, controlled ball movement from defence to attack and O’Neill is the route to most of these transitions going forward, whilst also being pivotal on the defensive side of things.
Playing almost every minute this season (1160) whilst maintaining an 84% pass success rate is a testament to the form he’s been in and he is often overlooked due to the talent of those around him. Make no mistake, Aiden O’Neill is as pivotal to this side's success as our highest-profile names.
When in such form, it's no surprise as to why he was able to play at the highest level of English football at such a young age. His performances have cemented his spot in our central midfield and so they should, he has been a pleasure to watch so far this season. Long may it continue.
Taking points when it matters City has managed to claim nine points out of a possible 12 over the last 10 days, which is a fantastic return. These results have earned us first place for now and will keep us right in the hunt for the top two positions regardless of results when those with games in hand on us catch up.
Being asked to play four games in 10 days is a mammoth task, but due to Covid postponements, it's probably something most teams will have to go through. Due to the difficulty of so much football in such a short space of time, these will be the games that could make or break a side's season.
We have not only put in solid performances during this time but have taken an impressive amount of points in a period that could’ve seen us drop some.
With ACL scheduled so close to the finals, earning a top-two place and therefore a week off during the finals upon returning from the hub could be a huge factor around managing fatigue at the business end of the season. The way to give us the best possible chance at success during that time is a top-two place and right now we’re doing exactly what we need to do: win matches.
It’s near impossible to predict what will be asked of us moving forward; PK has stated openly that we can only take it one game at a time. Thankfully, we’re bearing the fruits of this approach.
Despite the positive result, we must move on as another quick turnaround awaits. Next, we prepare for the Central Coast Mariners on Tuesday night, where an opportunity to break away further from those around us presents itself.
The league continues to ask questions of Melbourne City, and for now, we continue to answer.