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Talking points preview: Brisbane vs City

Looking to bounce back after a disappointing loss away to league-leaders Sydney FC, our City girls travel to Brisbane where they will take on the Brisbane Roar at Redcliffe Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Here are three key talking points before this one:

Source: Andrew Wiseman / @wisemansports

How big a loss is Holly McNamara?

After scoring the opening goal of the A-League Women’s season with an absolute screamer against Canberra United, Holly McNamara has had a truly flying start to her time in a Melbourne City shirt.

With a goal and three assists so far, McNamara has proved pivotal for City in attack, linking brilliantly with Hannah Wilkinson and providing plenty of spark and creativity up front.

Of course her brilliant start has not gone unnoticed, with the 18-year-old forward receiving her first call-up to the Matildas for the Asian Cup, including her first start last night.

As incredible as this is for Holly, just how much of an effect is this having on City? Having not featured in the last two matches for City, the difference in our attack has been noticeable.

Against Adelaide, despite taking a 1-0 win, our attack looked less potent without her. Against Sydney on the weekend, our attacking play was massively diminished.

Now, Sydney are a very good team, so potentially this could be the reasoning for last week’s attacking performance, but as McNamara continues her Asian Cup journey with the Matildas we must hope that City can adapt to her loss and bring back our free-scoring ways.

Defensive concerns

A loss to the team on top of the table isn’t a terrible result; a 3-0 loss in which several defensive lapses cost us goals is slightly more concerning though.

Our defence has been solid for the vast majority of the season, only conceding four goals in six games before the three we shipped on the weekend.

This game was different though. Sydney’s attacking prowess is obvious, however it was errors by City’s backline that provided their best chances: a lack of tracking and chasing by Tori Tumeth on two occasions saw Sydney’s forwards race through into acres of space and score past a valiant, but in both cases helpless, Melissa Barbieri in goal.

Barbieri had a terrific game, and if it weren’t for her the scoreline would have been much worse, but our defensive efforts left a lot to be desired.

We will need to turn it around quickly and tighten things up at the back against the Roar this weekend.

Bouncing Back

City’s championship mentality across the years has been unquestionable. With three premierships and four championships over the side’s short history, City’s women’s sides have always been known for their ruthlessness.

The biggest outlier to this is last season. Finishing outside of the finals for the first time ever, City’s 2020/21 campaign was disappointing to say the least. Losses compounded on one another and the season dragged on to a sputtering end.

This season, however, things seem bright again. Our girls have only recorded two losses for the season, once against the reigning champions, and once against the top side in the league.

Our strong mentality will be needed this week as we look to bounce back from a bad result against Sydney last week.

Earlier in the season, after losing to Melbourne Victory, City came out and won four games straight, including a 5-1 demolition of the Victory in the next derby just a couple of weeks later.

This team can bounce back and get back to its best, and that’s what we’ll need to do this weekend.

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