Last weekend our Men’s side took on Western Sydney at AAMI Park and were held to a rather disappointing 3-3 draw, after losing on penalties to Wellington Phoenix in the FFA Cup midweek. Safe to say it had not been a great week.
Now we head to Adelaide where we will take on a resurgent Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium. Here are three things to look out for ahead of this one:
Will things change?
It has become increasingly clear that something is not working. We are playing with a rigid game plan that fails to adapt to changes in the match and the need for different tactics. We are sticking to a lineup with players who are desperately out of form and refusing to make substitutions during the game. We are disjointed and struggling to break down opposition teams when they sit back and defend (which is what pretty much every team in the league is doing against us now).
Something needs to change, and fast.
Last season we had a slow start to the season and still managed to win the double, but that felt like more of an issue of the team adjusting to a new coach and new teammates. The squad hasn’t had a huge amount of turnover this off-season, but still feels very disconnected.
Changes will need to be made to ensure we are able to get our title defence on track. Dropping underperforming players like Mathew Leckie, using all of our substitutions appropriately and adjusting our tactics when the need arises are all vital changes that Patrick Kisnorbo needs to make.
The Return of Adelaide?
Adelaide’s start to the season has been poor to say the least; with only one win so far, the Reds have been struggling to get their season going.
The last few weeks, though, have provided a bit of hope. A 4-0 win over Wellington on New Years Day and a 1-1 draw against the Victory last week has seen a slight change of pace within the United squad.
The return of Lachlan Brook on loan from English Premier League side Brentford will be a welcome addition to the side, and may be able to provide a consistent goalscoring threat that Adelaide have sorely lacked this season.
However this is balanced out by the loss of Ben Halloran to Korea and the impending departure of captain Stefan Mauk, two big losses to their side (and one big win for intellectual property law in South Australia).
Will Adelaide’s mini-resurgence continue this week?
Coopers Stadium has been far from a happy hunting ground for City in previous years, with our last win in Adelaide coming all the way back in 2018.
This will be a tough test for two teams each in desperate need of some points.
That dreaded virus
COVID-19 has once again impacted Melbourne City’s squad, with Patrick Kisnorbo confirming this morning that a further four City players have tested positive to the virus. This comes after 12 players were struck down by it over the course of December and January.
The constant disruption of this season by COVID is clearly a major issue across the league, but on a club level, these cases are clearly having an impact. Several players were apparently quite strongly affected by the illness and their recovery has been difficult. Curtis Good is yet to return to action for the club and will not be available for this game due to his ongoing recovery.
Just which players are the most affected is a fairly tightly-kept secret being held by the club, who quite reasonably do not wish to make too public the health information of the players.
It is hard to say how much of an impact the outbreak is having on the fitness and recovery ability of the team, but it is clear that several players are struggling to bounce straight back.
At this stage we don’t know which players will miss this game due to Covid, but regardless, four players missing is a big impact, and hopefully the team will be able to perform well without them.