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Talking points preview: The Melbourne Derby

With fixtures being postponed left, right and centre for our Men's team, today's Melbourne Derby in the A-League Women's can't come soon enough!

The City girls had their best performance of the season so far when they beat Adelaide United 3-1 at home in Round 3. Rhianna Pollicina opened the scoring before Hannah Wilkinson got off the mark for Season 2021/22 with a brace.

Melbourne Victory's last game out was an unconvincing 90 minutes that saw them hold on for a 3-2 win over Brisbane Roar away from home. The visiting side had fewer shots and corners, but the star quality of Lynn Williams - who finished with a goal and an assist - got them over the line.

Source: Andrew Wiseman // @wisemansports

Despite City's 2-1 loss in the most recent Melbourne Derby, we've put in some good performances to start the season and the girls will be eager to show that they can match it with the best.

Here are three talking points heading into the game:

Three points is very doable

In the Round 2 Derby, City took the lead in the first half thanks to an Amy Jackson own-goal. Fans may have still been disappointed to that point though, as we'd had plenty of chances to make it a bigger margin throughout the opening period, but failed to capitalise. This would come back to bite us too, with Victory scoring two goals in five minutes to steal the lead - and all three points - away from us, despite our strong early showing.

With a rematch on the horizon, fans should now be convinced that this is a very different Melbourne City side to 2020/21. This is a team that is capable of mixing it with the best in the league and given how close we came in Round 2, we should be aiming for nothing less than a win.

Three points from tonight's game would be massive for our season - it would have us firmly established inside the top four despite having played reigning Champions Victory twice and with a good run of fixtures to come.

Containing Williams is a must

Our ascendancy in Round 2 fell away just about the instant Lynn Williams was subbed on for her first Victory appearance.

The 62nd minute saw the USWNT star introduced to the contest, and how she changed it; Victory instantly looked a more cohesive and potent side just with her presence up front. Williams would go on to score the sealer just eight minutes after her substitution.

If that's the damage she can do in a cameo appearance, then City should be very wary of her presence when she's in action from the first whistle this Sunday.

How you go about stopping probably the best player in the league is quite the predicament; assigning a player to mark her out of the game only affords more opportunity to Victory's other star attackers, particularly Catherine Zimmerman, who has scored three goals in three games this season.

Whether Rado Vidosic elects to blunt Williams' effectiveness one-on-one or through the organisation and discipline of his entire defensive unit, stopping Victory's star forward will go a long way to securing City a positive result.

Source: Andrew Wiseman // @wisemansports

Does Stotty have a full 90 in her yet?

Whilst Williams' introduction to the game in Round 2 may have marked a turning point in the contest, it was Rebekah Stott's substitution straight after Victory's first goal that sealed our fate.

Stott is a contender for our best player so far this season, putting in massive shifts in midfield as she goes about disrupting opposition attacks before initiating moves of our own.

With Stott on the pitch, City's potential is limitless, but the Kiwi is yet to get through a full match this season, routinely getting substituted around the 60th.

With a central midfield consisting of Alex Chidiac, Kyra Cooney-Cross and Amy Jackson - back from suspension - Victory would almost certainly win the midfield battle the instant that Stott is subbed off again, so City fans will be praying that the club legend is ready for a full 90-minute shift in the engine room later today.

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