Melbourne City will look to continue its strong run of form when it faces Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
The two Melbourne sides sit at opposite ends of the A-League Men table heading into City’s second away Derby of the season.
Here are a few of the key talking points heading into Saturday!
Bos continues rapid rise
While Melbourne City may boast a star-studded Socceroos trio of Jamie Maclaren, Mathew Leckie and Marco Tilio, there may very well be another future Socceroo rising to stardom in front of our own eyes.
Jordan Bos has continued to go from strength to strength this season, finding a home in the left-back position for Rado Vidosic’s side.
It’s almost hard to believe that Bos still has less than 30 A-Leagues appearances to his name, such is the poise and confidence the 20-year-old displays every time he steps out onto the pitch.
While he’s impressed plenty throughout this season, his most memorable moment came in the 16th minute of City’s 4-2 win over Perth last weekend.
With two Perth defenders in front of him, Bos elegantly breezed straight through the two of them, leaving them for dust as he curled a strike into the top right corner.
That world-class finish will no doubt catch the eye of Graham Arnold as the national team boss casts an eye on the next crop of Socceroos coming through the ranks.
If Bos is to continue his rapid rise, one could argue City fans have reason to tear up their Australian passports should Bos not be included in the next Socceroos squad.
Maclaren: Quality goalscorer, better teammate
When Matthew Leckie was brought down in the box in the 60th minute of last Saturday’s match against Perth, all eyes immediately turned to Jamie Maclaren.
It has almost become second nature for City fans to watch the ever-reliable Maclaren slot home spot-kicks in recent years, with Maclaren having already scored seven penalties this season.
Instead, we saw Maclaren hand over the duties to Valon Berisha, who despite playing a key figure in City’s midfield, hadn’t found the back of the net this season.
That would quickly change with the Kosovan international finding the bottom corner for his first City goal, and likely an added boost of confidence for the team’s next run of fixtures.
Maclaren is currently chasing not only the all-time league’s goalscoring record, but also edging closer towards becoming the first player to score 100 goals for an individual A-Leagues club.
Despite all of those factors, in that moment, Jamie Maclaren did something more important than scoring a goal or breaking any record.
He instead proved to his teammates that he is not just a goal-scoring machine, but a greater teammate and a key leader in the group.
Take a bow, Jamie.
City’s strong record at AAMI Park
While City are technically the away side come Saturday night, its no stranger to putting in strong performances at AAMI Park.
It defeated Victory in the two team’s most recent completed meeting back in October 2022, winning that fixture 2-0.
City fans have happy memories of their last outing at AAMI Park just over a fortnight ago, a Richard van der Venne hattrick leading City to a dominant 6-1 win over Macarthur FC.
Such is its dominance, City are undefeated in their last eight completed matches at the venue (W6, D2) and have mostly started brightly, not conceding a single goal in the first half of seven of those matches.
How have our opponents been travelling?
After a bright start to the season, Melbourne Victory have fallen off a little in recent months, now languishing in last place on the table.
Victory has only won one of their last eight matches (D1, L6), recording the second least amount of goals in the competition and failing to keep a clean sheet for 8 straight completed games.
Their most recent outing was a 2-1 loss to the Newcastle Jets, with Nishan Velupillay’s equaliser in the 51st quickly undone when Kosta Grozos scored in the 58th to restore the Jets lead.
What happened last time?
Last time these two sides met was in the Melbourne Derby back in December, where City hit the front thanks to an early goal for Aiden O’Neill in the 11th minute.
Play was suspended around 10 minutes later due to a pitch invasion from Victory fans, with that match to resume from the 21st minute later this season.
A-League Men: Round 17
Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City
Saturday 18 February, 7:45pm KO