Three things we learned: Newcastle vs City
Melbourne City ran out as 2-4 winners against Newcastle Jets in a midweek clash away on Tuesday night.
In an open and aggressive game there were glimpses of the City of old with a strong and familiar starting XI, as City were able to gain three points away from home in the first of a congested run of fixtures.
Here are three things we learned:
Starting to click
In a post-match interview by Nabbout and Maclaren, it was obvious just how happy they both were for Matthew Leckie to open his account in the A-League. Tellingly, the notion of ‘clicking’ and time in which this takes to establish was noted.
For perhaps the first time this season, Leckie integrated well into the system and looked as if he understood his role. He was rewarded with a great goal, linking up well with Jamie Maclaren.
Pleasingly, he had several other clear chances where he worked himself into decent areas and had a decent look at goal. There were also chances where he was heavily involved on the counter and was not far from delivering some excellent crosses in, particularly to Nabbout who continues to cause trouble for opposition defences out wide.
Slowly, it seems, the hesitancy and uncertainty seems to be dissipating in his play and, as he gets his head up more, we are seeing what he can bring to the team and to the league.
It should also be noted that this is now seven games in a row where JMac has scored for club and country. What better time for him to be fit and firing than when we have a clear run towards the top of the table?
JMac could deservedly be a talking point every week, but I will instead keep it brief – may we long continue to enjoy his contribution to the team. With records impending and his confidence growing, keep your eyes peeled over the coming weeks and months as he looks to continue building towards becoming one of the greats.
Can we also talk about Metcalfe and Berenguer, and how important these two players are to our season? It seems when we get numbers in the box, and they are amongst it, we see chaos and chances created.
Whilst we know they are not yet at their potential they seem to both be pivotal to a good team performance and when they both play well individually the team tends to come out on top. Whether they are the cause or the effect, I feel their roles will be fundamental to success if it is to be attained this season.
It's Good to be Back
Finally back from COVID recovery, it was fantastic to see Curtis Good get some minutes as he continues to working back to full fitness.
Back in his preferred centre-back position, Curtis found his rhythm early and, with his characteristic nonchalant composure, was resolute in defence whilst having some outstanding vision for long balls through to attacking players making runs.
A calm and composed backline also gave Glover some confidence in goals with a scoreline that perhaps does not best represent the decent defending on the night.
A Good backline is a good team - it is good for Good to be back! Let’s hope he pulls up healthy and raring to go for Friday night.
Three points and four goals scored away from home at the start of a run of busy fixtures is fantastic – there are no two ways about it.
Last season was built on strong foundations; irrespective of the opponent, we went onto the pitch with a clear game plan and that plan was trusted and enacted. Trusting the plan became characteristic of our identity, but at times this season it has become a liability. Ensuring that we use this run of fixtures over the coming weeks to consolidate our game plan will be essential if we are serious about becoming title contenders.
Whilst the team will be extremely happy with the three points tonight, they will also be well aware that we currently have the second-highest goals conceded in the league. Quite simply, defence needs to be fixed if we are serious about aiming to be title contenders.
Jenkinson has looked to be a good signing so far, and together with Bos, Galloway and Jamieson, the quartet is providing excellent cover in the important full-back positions.
With Griffiths covering for the injured Nuno Reis, we know we have the players that can tighten up at the back as they have demonstrated the ability to do so in the past.
Whether we meet our potential is another question altogether, but I am confident behind the scenes they are working hard to tighten things up and allow the freely attacking and defensively solid team of old to return.
It is certainly an exciting few weeks ahead.