Melbourne City are set to host their first home game of the W-League season in a vital Melbourne Derby that our City girls will see as a must-win encounter against their local rivals.
Despite two very competitive showings, City have collected only a single point thus far following a 0-0 draw with Brisbane Roar and an injury-time defeat to Canberra United, which ended 2-1. Melbourne Victory also played out a 0-0 stalemate with Brisbane in their only game of the season so far.
Rado Vidosic will have a mostly unchanged squad from which to select his starting lineup for Sunday’s clash, with no new injuries to note. There’s a big-name inclusion on the cards, with Alex Chidiac having finished her quarantine period just in time for the game, though it would seem unlikely that the fringe-Matilda would get anything more than a second-half substitute appearance.
Here’s what we’re focusing on ahead of a crucial Melbourne Derby:
Midfield moves: Kira, Chidiac to bring much-needed quality?
It’d be an understatement to say that the additional inclusion of Alex Chidiac in the midfield alongside a starting Chinatsu Kira would be crucial to a City win.
Whilst the City defence has held up well so far, our attacking transitions are all too often breaking down within the first few passes out from the back, not only leaving our forwards starved of proper service but also finding our defenders occasionally out of position and vulnerable on the counter.
The City midfield is in dire need of quality and experience. Kira’s already proven she’s got those – Chidiac will hardly need to.
Focal point: Does Withers need to start?
With no goals scored from open play in 180 minutes, our pre-season concerns regarding City’s lack of a reliable goalscorer remain relevant.
Rhali Dobson’s experience and attacking-smarts are invaluable in such a unique season, but the Talking City favourite hasn’t been the right fit playing out of position as a striker.
To this point, Harriet Withers remains City’s only out-and-out number nine and the ex-US college athlete possesses impressive size and athleticism which might make her a more effective centre-forward, with Dobson then providing service from the wings.
Three points or bust…
This one we’ll keep short and sweet – just like the W-League season.
In such a compact season where only the four best teams make it to the Finals, there’s little room for mediocrity in the early stages of the campaign.
Melbourne City – to this point – have been fairly mediocre and that MUST end with a Derby win this Sunday if we’re to be any chance of defending our title.
Melbourne City’s W-League side will host Melbourne Victory at CB Smith Reserve in a vital Derby clash on Sunday, January 10 at 4:05pm. Tickets are NOT available for purchase at the venue and will need to be booked online.