Talking points preview: Sydney vs City
After a tight win against an Adelaide United side that we simply should have scored more against, we come up against fellow league title hopefuls Sydney FC away from home.
Sydney have been in inspired form, picking up 12 out of 15 available points in their last five outings. This will be a great test of strength, and definitely prove whether or not we can keep up the pace in the title chase.
Now four games unbeaten, our City girls should go into the match looking to maintain the same amount of grit that we have become accustomed to in our search for points. If we bring our shooting boots up to New South Wales, we could definitely make a statement.
Here are the three talking points leading into this one:
Sydney have goals in them
One thing that we have had control over this season is our defence, only shipping a measly eight in eleven matches. A testament to how well our defenders scramble, and how Bubs and Sally James have kept this season.
However, Sydney have just put six goals past Melbourne Victory away from home. If they're on a similar mission this weekend, we will have to be on point to keep the ball out of the net. Due to this result, Sydney are now closing in on our once vastly superior goal difference.
The top of the table is tight, and Sydney have two games in hand over us. To ensure that we do not give up easy ground, we must give Sydney a run for their money. Any points lost against the in-form team will surely come back to bite us in the run home.
Sally James - Our number one
It was devastating when we learned that Melissa Barbieri was down with an injury, as she has been one of the most influential and great players of this past generation. Still going strong at 43, and according to FBRef.com, Bubs boasts an unbelievable save rate of 93.3% this season. For a goalkeeper to be that secure is actually incredible at any point of their career. It is giving Thomas Sørensen vibes; getting even better as the years tick on.
But we are certainly in safe hands when it comes to her understudy, 20-year-old Sally James, who has kept two clean sheets so far this season. It will be exciting to see how the young goalkeeper progresses as she gains more game time.
Returning from her own injury woes, Sally made three saves to keep the clean sheet intact. We'll all be hoping for a similar performance come Saturday night!
Fix the finishing
Our attacking play has been phenomenal at times this season once we get into forward positions, but our finishing simply hasn't been up to standard. This is not a swipe at Hannah Wilkinson or our other forwards, but rather a pain point that requires improving.
Against Adelaide, we had multiple chances that should have resulted in a goal. A 3-0 result in the context of our season means so much more than a one-goal win, especially in terms of confidence. As previously mentioned, Sydney have shown that they're able to find the back of the net, and if they hit us with the ferocity that they did against Victory, we'll have to hit them back with the same amount of guile.
All in all, this is an important fixture, especially leading into the final seven games of the season. It will be great viewing in preparation for the men's game against Macarthur, so make sure you pop it on and support the girls from afar!
Score prediction: Sydney 2 - 2 City