ALM Preview: Macarthur v City

Melbourne City will be on the road for the second time in as many weeks as we again cross the border, this time to face Macarthur.

After going winless in February, Aurelio Vidmar’s side will be desperate to begin March with a much-needed win.

Here’s what you should be looking out for this Friday night!

Trading one point for three

After a disappointing couple of results to start February, we’ve begun to see a slight turnaround in form over the last couple of weeks.

A fortnight ago we saw a scoreless Melbourne Derby played out for the second time this season, then last week we were on the road to face Sydney FC.

Despite going down on the half-hour mark, a much-improved second half saw us strike back in a rapid-counter attack, Jamie Young’s pinpoint ball met with a brilliant Marco Tilio touch who finished the job for his first goal since returning to the club.

While it’s certainly been a better couple of weeks, Vidmar still won’t be pleased with the results, likely viewing it as four points dropped rather than two gained.

With such a home-heavy fixture to come on the run into finals, marking this away trip with three points could well prove pivotal when we get into the final few weeks of the season.

Who comes out for Tolgay?

We’re set to welcome Tolgay Arslan back into the line-up this Friday with the midfielder now available to return from suspension.

Given the quality that Arslan possesses – widely regarded as one of the best players in the league – you’d imagine he’d walk straight back into the XI, providing a selection conundrum for Vidmar.

The midfield trio of Jimmy Jeggo, Steven Ugarkovic and Mathew Leckie have been used over the past two fixtures, meaning one will likely drop out.

Ugarkovic or Leckie would appear the most likely given the defensive prowess of Jeggo.

The former would likely move to the bench, while if it was Leckie to drop out of midfield, he could be shifted to his more natural wide position at the expense of one of Andrew Nabbout or Tilio.

Elsewhere the XI looks settled, with Marin Jakolis the most likely other option to return to the line-up after three consecutive substitute appearances following his hamstring injury.

Continuing our strong record against Macarthur

Our record against Macarthur certainly makes for some nice reading for City fans.

We’ve faced the league’s newest team eight times since their inception in season 2020/21, yet to taste defeat across those meetings.

While four of the first five meetings were City wins – including a memorable 6-1 victory last season – the last couple of fixtures have been stronger from the Bulls, drawing both games.

Most recently it was late drama at AAMI Park with four goals coming in the final 10 minutes.

3-1 down as we approached stoppage time, Jamie Maclaren was added his second of the day bundling the ball over the line following a set piece, before Antonis blasted home a penalty in the 93rd minute.

Fixture Details

A-League Men: Round 19

Macarthur FC v Melbourne City FC

Friday 1 March, 7:45pm KO

Campbelltown Stadium

Live on Paramount+