Talking points preview: Newcastle vs City
After demolishing the Perth Glory on Saturday afternoon, City will now head up to Newcastle for the last fixture before the A-League Men's World Cup break.
City have had the edge over the Jets in recent times, winning the last two fixtures played 4-2 and 3-0 respectively.
If those score lines are anything to go by, City fans are in for a bit of a treat. However, football is never that simple, and long-term fans of the club will know trips up to the Hunter are never that simple.
With that said, here are three things to look forward to heading into the weekend's match:
A chance to pull away
City head into this match the only side in the league still yet to taste defeatly, currently sitting atop the table on 13 points, with four wins and one draw.
Perhaps the expectations held at the club are so high that we don’t really appreciate how good that is, but nonetheless there is still lots of work to be done.
Fortunately for City, WSW suffered a pretty heavy loss last weekend which now sees us sit three points clear on top of second place, and already five points ahead of a third-placed Adelaide.
If all goes in our favour, a win for City and losses elsewhere could potentially see us sit six points clear on top after just six games. Whilst we can’t and shouldn’t rely on other games, the message stays the same: win our games and the rest will take care of itself.
A win in this match and going into the World Cup break undefeated would have truly put the competition on notice - that's if they weren’t already.
J-Mac has started the season like an absolute house on fire scoring seven goals from five games, finding the back of the net in every game so far this season.
Somehow there are still doubters, but in all honesty, that is quickly becoming outside noise. Jamie scores for fun and everything he touches at the moment ends up in the back of the net.
At the time of writing, the World Cup squad is yet to be announced. Personally, I think Jamie should be one of the first people on the plane, and if he doesn’t it’ll be an all-time snub.
Nonetheless, Jamie is in the form of his life, and this game should be our last chance to look at him before (I’m calling it) he’s off to Qatar.
Considering some of the strikers we’ve had to endure at the club, Jamie is an absolute privilege to watch and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
In consideration of being dubbed Jamie Penclaren, or Maclapen (whichever is fine) it's worth noting that Newcastle have given away the most spot kicks so far this season with three, whilst City have earned the most with four - a dangerous equation for the Jets. Here's hoping for another goal or two from our #9 on Saturday.
Defensive masterclass continues?
I know, I can’t believe I’m writing it either - what was our biggest vice last season seems to be all but fixed.
Despite a couple of sticky patches and the late fade out to the Nix, the back four have been near flawless.
In fact, City kept the glory to just a single shot on target last weekend. New addition Talbot has been a bit of an unsung hero and continues to grow into the system game by game, and Bos has seemingly made the left back position his own for the time being.
Partnering that with either Good, Lam or Nuno, things at the back seem pretty rock solid at the moment.
A clean sheet on Saturday would see the back four having only conceded three goals in six games, an average of only one goal conceded every 180 minutes, which is excellent.
Newcastle have in the past been a bit of a tricky task for City, so this would be a really good test for the defence to see how they stand up against the sort of all-or-nothing-type football that they play.
Saturday against the Jets is is the last chance to see the boys for just under a month.
A win would see us enter the break undefeated, and the recent fixture history alongside the current form of the clubs suggests that their may be some fireworks on show in this one.
All in all, the current form of the squad should have us entering the match with the confidence and resources to add another three points to the tally.
Score prediction: 2-0 to City