ALM Preview: City v Central Coast

Melbourne City will have the chance to secure a third consecutive A-League Men’s win this Sunday when we return home to AAMI Park to host Central Coast.

We’ll be looking to continue to build some momentum in the league after a disappointing start to the season as we begin a run of home games.

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Here are a few things to keep an eye out for on our return home to AAMI Park!

Who replaces Lecks?

The disappointing news filtered through on Friday morning that we would be without Mathew Leckie for the next 4-6 weeks after our star winger tore his hamstring in Tuesday’s ACL clash at Princes Park.

The injury comes at a cruel time for Leckie, a month out from the Socceroos Asian Cup campaign beginning and only a few weeks after returning from a knee injury that saw him miss the start of the A-League Men’s season.

While replacing a player of Leckie’s calibre certainly won’t be easy, that is just what Aurelio Vidmar is currently tasked with.

Further complicating matters is an ongoing ankle injury to Jamie Maclaren which saw our Captain not able to start midweek, with Leckie moving up top in his absence.

Should Maclaren be cleared to start it would seem Vidmar sticks with the Jakolis-Natel on the wings combination with our striker returning, but if not, it could mean we see a first start of the A-League season for Max Caputo.

Jakolis and Natel have both been deployed up top earlier in their career so if Vidmar is opting for a different look, he could even use one of those two in a different role and bring in someone like young gun Ben Mazzeo on the wing.

Putting a disappointing ACL result behind us

Our AFC Champions League campaign came to a disappointing end during the week with a 1-1 draw against Zhejiang, before results across the other groups confirmed our fate the next day.

Things were looking promising even as late as the final moments of the contest after Tolgay Arslan’s 53rd-minute goal put us ahead.

It was late heartbreak in the 99th minute when a corner saw us come undone, Zhejiang stealing a share of the points with almost the last play of the game.

While that was a tough way for us to end our ACL run, our focus now fully shifts to the A-League with a great chance to bounce back on Sunday.

It may have been a slow start to the season but the results have been turning with a pair of tough away wins over Newcastle and Perth.

Now as we begin a run of four consecutive games at AAMI Park, we have a great chance to build some momentum and continue to climb up the table.

History on our side

There’s no hiding away from the fact that we have a fantastic record at home against the Mariners, not having lost at AAMI Park to them in almost 12 years.

Included in this are wins in our last 11 consecutive matchups at the venue, keeping six clean sheets in those contests.

The Mariners record as a whole in Victoria doesn’t make for pretty reading for them, but as Vidmar was quick to point out while speaking pre-match, ‘records are made to be broken’.

There will be plenty of motivation from Central Coast to finally get one over us at home on Sunday, so our City boys will need to be at the top of their games if we’re to secure a much-needed three points.

Fixture Details

A-League Men: Round 8

Melbourne City FC v Central Coast

Sunday 17 December, 5:00pm KO