A short turnaround is on the cards for both Melbourne City squads as we return to AAMI Park for another doubleheader this Thursday.
We saw an entertaining night of football at Saturday’s Melbourne Derbies, our City Women securing a 1-0 win while our Men’s side shared the points with Victory.
Here are a few things to keep an eye on when we face Brisbane this Thursday!
Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar
Thursday 27 December, 5:00pm KO
Ending the year with another win
A win against Brisbane on Thursday would see us top of the table to end 2023.
It would be a fitting place to end the calendar year after what has been a strong start to the season, tasting defeat just once in our first nine fixtures.
We did have a small stumble following the international break which saw several players return late affecting their ability to play, picking up only one point across the Perth and Central Coast games.
We bounced back in a big way last Saturday though, putting in a convincing performance to secure a Derby win with Emina Ekic’s early goal the difference.
Brisbane provides the final challenge of the year and after going winless across their last seven games, they will be hungry to finish 2023 with a positive result away from home.
Capitalising in front of goal
Dario Vidosic’s only complaint would’ve likely been the fact it wasn’t a bigger win with a number of chances – particularly in the first half – going begging.
We fired off 27 shots; including 10 on target and three big chances, but a strong performance in goal from former City Championship winner Lydia Williams kept her side in the game.
After nine rounds this season, we’ve found the back of the net 18 times (2 more than any other team in the competition), so you’d imagine Vidosic will have full faith that his team can convert a few more of those chances against the Roar on Thursday.
Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar
Thursday 27 December, 7:45pm KO
Turning one point into three
We’re now on a six-match unbeaten run but despite this, Aurelio Vidmar is unlikely to be 100% happy with performances in recent weeks.
While we may not have tasted defeat in over a month, we’ve now had draws in our last three matches across all competitions – not quite picking up all three points as much as we would’ve liked.
Chances were at a premium in Saturday night’s Melbourne Derby, but Vidmar will be hoping to see more from his creative players in the middle of the pitch when we return to AAMI Park to face Brisbane on Thursday.
Tolgay Arslan put in another Player of the Match performance, so we will once again be looking for him to step up against the Roar along with the likes of Hamza Sakhi and Steven Ugarkovic.
Keeping it tight at the back
After conceding three goals almost a fortnight ago to Central Coast, our defence responded in the best way possible with a clean sheet in the Derby.
Our back four now appears to be settled with the combination of Talbot, Good, Souprayen and Behich having started in seven consecutive games.
All four put in strong shifts last time out, with Behich, in particular, one of our best players on the night just a day after he’d earned a Socceroos call-up to next month’s Asian Cup.
Jamie Young was also one of our best performers on the night and would’ve gone home happy after the clean sheet.
While he wasn’t exactly peppered with shots after the strong work from those in front of him, he pulled off a handful of important stops and was decisive, particularly in the second half with a loud away end behind him.
We’ll all be hoping to see that strong defensive momentum continue this Thursday as we eye off another clean sheet.