Talking points preview: Melbourne Derby - ALM
It’s a massive double Derby weekend as City takes on the Victory in the A-League Men on Saturday night and in the A-League Women Preliminary Final on Sunday afternoon.
For now, let’s focus on the ALM Derby on Saturday night.
This one is huge; City currently sitting top of the pile on goal difference, Victory down in fourth but with quite a few games in hand.
Here are the key points ahead of this one:
The goalkeeper issue
After being the bonafide No. 1 for City over the past two seasons, Tommy Glover was dropped two weeks ago in favour of his backup Matt Sutton.
Glover’s form has been a much-discussed issue this season, with the Olyroos keeper struggling to rediscover his brilliant form of the past two seasons and costing the team several very poor goals.
After the pressure mounted throughout the season, Glover’s name was finally left off the team sheet for City’s game against the Phoenix in Wollongong three weeks ago. This game was postponed due to torrential rain, so Matt Sutton made his first start of the season in our midweek clash against Macarthur. He then started again on the weekend in our top-of-the-table clash with Western United.
In these two games, Sutton failed to impress. The goal he conceded against Macarthur was a very poor judgement error, and the first goal he copped against Western United went straight through his legs from a header.
Have his performances been awful? No, not really, but it begs the question, at what point does he drop out and Glover return to reclaim the number one spot? It will be extremely interesting to see how it works out.
The best attack, the worst defence
City has comfortably the best attack in the league this season. With 38 goals in 18 games, our incredible forward line, let by the red-hot Jamie Maclaren, has been firing on all cylinders.
The same cannot be said for our defence. They are currently the second-worst in the league, with 26 conceded in 18 games, only the struggling Newcastle Jets have conceded more.
Considering how terrific our defence looks on paper, this is both confusing and concerning. Are tactics to blame? Are the players not fit enough? It’s hard to say.
The last time we played the Victory, Nick D’Agostino came off the bench and made our defence look like schoolboys. A vast improvement will be needed this time to shut down Victory’s multiple attacking outlets.
The scum from across town
We all hate the Victory. This much is so well known. The loud, annoying, often disgusting tiprats with a simultaneous superiority and victim complex. We all despise them and, whilst they try very hard to pretend they don’t, they absolutely despise us too. There are few things that give me greater joy than seeing their horrible, horrible fans taken down a peg or two.
Last season was spectacular. A 6-0 followed by a 7-0 is a pair of Derby demolitions that is likely never to be repeated again.
The last two derbies have finished in stalemates, but this is as good a chance as any to take three points off them.
During the week Victory began their highly-anticipated Asian Champions League campaign. It was all a very big deal - did you see that they released two brand new kits for the campaign? They wore their brand new away kit in Japan as they took on Vissel Kobe, and after 120 minutes, their ACL tilt was already over. Just one game. Gee, I wonder how many people bought their home ACL jersey only for it to never be worn?
As much as I enjoy relishing in Victory’s misery, I am slowly making a point here. They flew to Japan and played 120 minutes midweek, whilst we had a seven-day break.
This really is a golden opportunity for us to knock them off and solidify our spot on the top of the table.
Make sure you get to AAMI Park on Saturday night and cheer them on!