Talking City's Grand Final Preview!
This club may have been through some tough times, but look at us now. Who would have thought during the Warren Joyce period that we would be going into our second Grand Final in as many years, let alone on the back of an inaugural Premiership?
Typically, as every pessimistic City fan had thought, I believed since we could not win anything with Aaron Mooy, Harry Novillo and Bruno Fornaroli then it was never going to happen.
Lo and behold, in comes a man who could turn Joyce's (well-meaning but at that time ineffectual) culture of hard work and selflessness into a winning one; Monsieur Mombaerts.
Partnered with Heart-turned-City legend Patrick Kisnorbo, the club became one with the fans, one with the players and – most of all – learned how to consistently perform.
With PK now at the helm, this club has been taken to its full potential; to further the contention that Melbourne City is truly in a dominant era, we have been part of the past three domestic finals – 2019 FFA Cup, 2019/2020 A-League Grand Final and now this evening, the 2020/2021 A-League Grand Final. But now it is time to win one.
We got a taste of victory in the 2016 FFA Cup final, then this season with the Premiership, but I am sure our captain Scott Jamieson and his hard-working squad are hungry for more.
A Championship would really push our beloved club in the right direction to overtake Sydney FC as the most dominant side in recent years and push for more silverware. You know what they say, however; you must beat the best to be the best.
Hence, we will look at where we should look to take our opportunities, and where we may need to be careful come later tonight.
As you will all be aware by now, we will be missing our Golden Boot master Jamie Maclaren, but Sydney will equally be out of luck in the goalkeeping department, with Andrew Redmayne in quarantine as well.
This will make for an interesting battle between our young guns up top and Sydney's backup keeper Tom Heward-Belle, whose inexperience (just 10 career senior appearances) may be the deciding factor. Will the pressure of the Melbourne home crowd be too much for him?
Mr Burns' favourite bear, Bobo. Ex-Premier League player, Le Fondre. You could have guessed this, right?
The pair came back to the Sky Blues at different points of the season, contributing effectively with an additional 15 goals combined.
A threat to any team when he steps onto the park, Bobo is a number nine that can score the most difficult of chances.
On the other hand, Le Fondre is a more mobile forward with a versatile skillset, capable of dropping into midfield or gaining space elsewhere.
Our predicted centre-backs in Rostyn Griffiths and Nuno Reis will have their hands full and will have to be mindful of the creativity that the pair holds. However, at least Griffiths has recent experience starting against Sydney in both meetings this season. Both times, he helped keep Bobo scoreless.
If he and his fellow defenders can do this tonight, we will have a terrific chance at taking home the toilet seat.