Talking points preview: City vs Newcastle
In the blink of an eye, it’s time for more Melbourne City action, with the men’s side now setting their sights on the Newcastle Jets in what will be the team's fourth game in just 10 days.
As the season progresses and we scramble to make up for lost time due to COVID-related postponements, the season is looking more and more like a survival of the fittest.
Nonetheless, another game is another opportunity for points. Here are three things to look at going into Friday night’s clash.
Careful with injuries
City’s schedule has been nothing short of crazy. Games here, there and everywhere with no consistent rests in between can wreak havoc on a professional athlete. This was evident on Tuesday as Marco Tilio and Scott Jamison both failed to see 60 minutes before being struck down with injury.
Unfortunately for us, it doesn’t look like it’ll get any easier. City are fixtured for Asian Champions League games right as the league is entering its crucial final weeks. Making sure we are able to field our best XI during that time is pivotal if we’re serious about competing for both competitions.
With so many games in such a short period of time, don’t be surprised to again see City be forced into some serious squad rotation on Friday in an attempt to keep as many players as possible off of our injury list.
Keep the foot on the gas
City produced more than decent performances in each of our last three games, arguably being unlucky not to win all three.
Those performances were a welcome breath of fresh air to a side that was starting to plant seeds of doubt in regards to what we were seeing on the pitch previously.
You feel that the team worked hard to wrestle back that momentum and confidence, and a couple of home losses on the trot would be a blow to the belief that we’re on track to being back to our best.
So, whilst we may definitely need to be mindful of keeping players fit when going into this game, the importance of these three points on offer mustn’t go understated. A win would keep us well within the mix for first position, while a loss could well bring in a feeling of one step forward two steps back.
This is especially relevant when considering we had no issue dispatching Newcastle just 10 days prior to this fixture.
With the competition around us looking as even as it has been for years, those precious top two places could very well be decided by just a few points. City must take full advantage of our home games to ensure we’re part of those places.
Do we rest Glover?
This is not in any way an attack on our #1, it’s not even saying we should rest him, but I think the question is worth asking.
We’re all aware of the quality Tom possesses, we were reminded of this not too long ago when he put in a standout performance against Western United. But, if we’re being honest Glover hasn’t really looked comfortable all season. We’ve definitely seen glimpses, but overall he looks rocked.
His body language seemed to show this after Adelaide's goals on Tuesday. The second wasn’t his fault but nonetheless, he looks far away from the rock we saw last season.
Handling poor goalkeeper form is tough because they’re only ever a game away from finding their feet, but you also risk points the longer you persist. You also obviously risk further confidence lost if you do decide to bench them, so the decision can’t be made lightly.
The management will decide what is best, but Matt Sutton may be starting to fancy his chances at a chance in between the posts. If we do stay with Glover, let’s hope he gets back to his best. When he’s on, Melbourne City are far better for it.
Melbourne City are always a good chance of a win when at home, and Friday should be no different. We’ve proven our ability against Newcastle this season, and the boys should be confident they can repeat the result again.
Score prediction: City 4-1 Newcastle