Today, our City girls have the opportunity to end the Victory's good run of form while sending us to equal-first after Western United experienced their first loss of the season yesterday.
With a seemingly good footballing temperature in Cranbourne today, it is expected that both teams will come out firing in a bid to claim bragging rights in this fixture. Our City girls have just come off a positive win against Adelaide United midweek and should be confident that they can do the same against Victory.
Being the first Melbourne Derby since our preliminary final loss at the end of last season, this will be our chance to exact revenge.
With so much on the line, here are the three things to look out for this afternoon:
Game management will be key
Here is where Dario Vidosic will really need to prove himself and display the ability to read the game, especially if things turn sour. Our girls have been put through the wars this week with a tough loss against the Wanderers, followed by a win in fatigue-inducing heat away to Adelaide.
Finally, coming back home for the first time since our win against Perth Glory to finish 2022, our girls have a chance to prove their fitness and round out a tough week with an impressive win. Conversely, the Victory should be in better shape as they have not had such a difficult week, last playing nine days ago in a Perth Glory draw.
Due to these factors, Dario must be ready to make tough decisions for the good of the team. A late insertion of Caitlin Karic could be decisive, as she has been known to have that game-changing flair that could be required in a fixture of such magnitude.
Chance to go top
As I touched on earlier, Western United copped a loss for the first time in their history. Fancy that; the loss came against Western Sydney who hadn't won a game in 14 attempts prior to beating us last weekend. Funny how fast things can seemingly change.
Although Western United still have a game in hand against us, it will be a massive morale boost to the girls to see us go joint-top of the league at this stage of the season, hopefully propelling us towards a title challenge.
If our girls are to play with as much passion and quality as we have seen throughout the majority of the season, we should feel very confident in the ability to see off a Victory side who have a much inferior scoring record in comparison to us. Just had to mention that.
Will Wilko click?
Our top scorer of last season has come back from injury recently but unfortunately has not been able to find the net in her opening three games. On the surface, this may be a problem, but, of course, things aren't as simple as that.
The way that we play emphasises finding the right passing lanes to professionally manufacture a clear-cut chance, mostly in the box. While this should mean that our striker gets most of the chances, lately Hannah Wilkinson has been making those aggressive runs to allow a team-mate to come in behind for a chance. Now, that is the sign of a great striker.
However, we would love to see Hannah get on the score sheet. This season has so far been a mixture of near-chances and near-misses. For our Kiwi goalscorer, it is only a matter of time. This afternoon could be perfect; we all know how much she loves to score against the Victory, putting five past them back in 2021.
Get down to Casey Fields at 5pm to support the girls this afternoon!
Score prediction: City 2 - 1 Victory