Saturday preview: City vs Jets and Wanderers
It’s been almost a month since City fans have seen either of their senior sides collect even a single point, with both our A-League and our W-League team losing every game since the weekend of January 16-17 that saw wins over Western United and Melbourne Victory.
…let’s just skip right past the conventional discussion of our recent form and get into this, shall we?
AL: Another loss would be catastrophic
Aside from the obvious consequences of losing yet another of our early-season fixtures, defeat at the hands of the Wanderers this Saturday would mark the first time that the team has lost four consecutive fixtures as Melbourne City.
Not since the dark days of Heart’s tumultuous 2013/14 campaign has that particular feat been achieved, when the side suffered an aggregate scoreline of 10-1 between Rounds 3 and 7.
To go any further with all the potential record-breaking would be overly pessimistic even by our standards, so we’ll wrap it up here: boys, don’t come back without those three points.
AL: If there’s anything to be optimistic about though…
It’s JMac’s (and City’s) recent form against the Wanderers.
Spoiler alert: This preview is a shit-sandwich. It hasn’t started positively, it’s not going to end positively, so here’s the tasty bit in the middle.
If we’re looking for positives then it’s that everybody’s favourite number nine has netted four times and assisted once in his three games against the Wanderers since joining City in January 2019. To recap, that’s one goal in that 2019 FFA Cup 3-0, a brace in Round 7’s 2-3 win away from home and a penalty later in the 2019/20 season when the teams drew 1-1.
With that brief recap, we can also see that it’s been three games since City last failed to secure points against the Wanderers, so maybe things are looking up after all…
Alright, back to the shit-sandwich.
WL: This is it
There’s only so long that we – and, soon enough, the club – can keep pushing the narrative that our City girls are on the precipice of a miraculous turnaround in form which will sneak them into Finals by the most fractional of margins.
It will feel so incredibly strange to be a bystander during this year’s W-League Finals series if City are unable to pull off the impossible. For so long the side has been an ever-reliable source of pride and joy for fans with their unprecedented success in the league, but it looks like that could very soon be coming to an end.
Despite our squad finally being at full-strength, and with this being evident in our recent competitive performances against big-dogs Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar, Melbourne City currently occupy seventh-place on four points with five games to play, including the Jets clash.
For City to sneak into 4th, they’d have to win the remainder of their games AND THEN rely on Victory and Adelaide (10 pts) to perform worse in their final six games than they did in their opening six.
What that equation adds up to is the contention that we’ve stated in the title: this is it. This game against Newcastle is when we’ll learn if it’s effectively season-over for 2020/21 or whether our City girls will live to fight yet another round and make us say the same thing next week.