Last week’s W-League Derby ended with Yukari Kinga sealing a big win for City that put us to the top of the table, and fans will be hoping for a similar three-point performance in the A-League’s Christmas Derby this Saturday evening.
Victory have never been more vulnerable than they are currently, just two points and three positions off the bottom of the table, with Newcastle and Central Coast having two games in-hand whilst Brisbane have one.
In the W-League, our top-placed City girls will strive to secure top-spot heading into their Round 7 Bye week, with Thursday night’s clash against second-bottom Perth Glory expected to be a one-way affair.
Here are the big talking points heading into the penultimate round of the decade:
Oh how things have changed…
We surely can’t discuss this weekend’s Derby without bringing up the massive, highly-satisfying discrepency between City and Victory this season.
Injuries to star players may have been an excuse early on (you know things are bad when Corey Brown’s playing on the wing), but their “fearsome” attacking trio of Kruse, Toivonen and Nabbout didn’t do a whole lot to prevent their 3-1 loss to Western United and 0-0 draw with Wellington in the past two weeks, now did they?
In the meantime, they’ve unearthed an absolute spud (mind the pun) in the form of Kristijan Dobras, who unfortunately won’t be taking to the field against City this Saturday evening thanks to his red card against the Phoenix.
It’s a truly glorious thing to see as a City fan, especially when we’re doing so well comparatively – the gap was at its biggest at the completion of Round 7 (11 points) but could grow to as much as 13 with a game in-hand if we win this weekend.
However, if history’s got anything to say about this particular fixture it’s that we might have to work a little harder for the three points this time around…
We haven’t won a Christmas Derby since Thomas Sorensen’s blinder in 2015/16
December 19, 2015, was the last time we took all three points from a Christmas Derby…
…that’s 1,464 days…
And yeah, look, we know the ‘days since’ measurement is a little misleading considering only three Christmas Derbies have been played since then, but we’re getting a little twitchy and want our Christmas win soon.
Since then, we’ve had the 2-1 loss in 2016/17, the last-minute Victory penalty in 2017/18’s 1-0 loss (cheers Deano), and Dario Vidosic’s stoppage-time equaliser last December.
W-League: Time to buck some trends
Missed goalscoring opportunities have been the focus of just about every post-match review we’ve done so far on our W-League side and with second-bottom Perth Glory coming up, this is our best chance for our strikers to start converting their shots and gain some real confidence.
Hopefully we’ll be able to come away with a big win, ensuring we secure top spot for another week and address one of our secondary criticisms: that we’re not putting teams away like we’re capable of doing.
The respective 2-1 and 2-0 wins over Canberra and Adelaide that preceded the big Sydney win earned us the three points but weren’t exactly inspiring, and the recent Melbourne Derby result should realistically have been secured much earlier in the game, with three or four scoreable opportunities preceding Yukari Kinga’s eventual winner.
In short, the real talking point here is that we should be looking to win this game by SEVERAL goals.
The W-League side are in action from 7:30pm tomorrow night at ABD Stadium in Broadmeadows whilst The Christmas Derby kicks off at 5pm at AAMI Stadium on Saturday, December 21.