Talking points preview: City vs Adelaide
After a triumphant win over the Wanderers on Friday night, Melbourne City again looks forward to a quick turnaround between matches. This time out, City set its eyes on Adelaide United, in which a win would see the club take nine points in just seven days.
This will be the third meeting between the clubs already this season, with the previous two iterations providing plenty of entertainment, and this one promises more of the same.
With that said, let's look at 3 things to look out for in preparation for Tuesday night's clash:
The arrival of Mathew Leckie
Mathew Leckie has had more than his fair share of criticism so far this season, but it seems the Socceroo mainstay has finally found his feet in the league.
Leckie probably dished up his two best performances in City colours this past week, finding the back of the net three times. Not only were we treated to two brilliant headers on Friday, but it finally looked as though Leckie had built up the confidence that many expected him to start with when he signed for City.
Chances created between the front three are becoming more and more common, as the relationship looks to also grow in cohesion and confidence.
Tuesday night will be Leckie’s first opportunity to play in front of the City faithful since finding this run of form, and he will surely be looking to show the home fans just what he can bring to this team.
If Leckie can work with Maclaren and Nabbout as well as he has over the past two matches, City will feel very confident that they can breach Adelaide’s defence for a third time running this season.
No walk in the park
City has already matched up twice against the Reds this season, and both times Carl Veart’s men have caused headaches for our boys in blue, forcing us to settle for a 2-2 draw in each of the previous affairs.
Adelaide definitely haven’t had the best of City, but both of the prior matchups followed a similar narrative: City maintaining the lead for the majority of the match, only to be pressured into goal concession late on in the second half. Each time the results left City fans frustrated and wondering how we walked away with only one point.
Finding goals against the Reds hasn’t been an issue for City, so this may result in a more cautious approach, emphasising a little more focus on keeping Adelaide out as opposed to getting through them.
Whichever way City lines up, one thing is for certain: Patrick Kisnorbo’s men will be extra determined to rectify the mistakes that have ultimately cost the team four points this season.
An opportunity to put the league on notice
City had a clear objective at the start of the season: defend our titles.
This goal was made a lot harder after a start consisting of COVID cases and the sale of one of our strongest players, making it hard to find any sort of consistency. However, all in all it seems City has navigated this period well, only losing two games so far this season - keeping in mind no team has lost less.
Between us being hard to beat and a few handy results between those team around us going in our favour, a win against Adelaide would see City climb back into first for now, whilst also avoiding the chance of being overtaken by any teams with games in hand on us, even if they win said matches. The key takeaway here is that a win on Tuesday will keep us ahead of most, all while never really being at our best so far this season. As we continue to grow game by game, that should excite many.
Earlier in the year, opposition teams may have fancied their chances against City, but this match presents itself a great opportunity to remind the league who its champions are, and more importantly, if we’re at our best, we don’t lose. There’s really no better way to prove that than taking nine points from three games, in just seven days.
Melbourne City’s return to form the last two matches has reignited the excitement felt towards the playing group at the start of the season. A win against a side that’s had our measure so far this season would only add to that buzz.
Will it be easy? Not likely, but Melbourne City will be looking to put the rest of the league on notice, sending a firm reminder that we are still the benchmark of Australian football.
Score prediction: City 2-1 Adelaide