High on confidence following back-to-back wins, your City boys will have the chance to secure a history-making third consecutive Premiers Plate when we face Central Coast Mariners this Saturday.
With Jamie Maclaren back amongst the goals and also in touching distance of creating some history of his own, we’ll have plenty to play for against a side sitting just two places below us on the table.
Here are a few of the key talking points ahead of this highly anticipated clash!
OUR FIRST CHANCE TO WRAP UP THE PLATE
After leading the way all season long, we’re now within arms reach of securing the Premiers Plate, a win over the Mariners enough to do the job.
Holding a seven-point buffer currently over the 2nd placed Adelaide United, should we not secure all three points on Saturday it wouldn’t be panic stations just yet, but of course, we’re all hoping to see it wrapped up sooner rather than later.
We’ve had some memorable ‘Plate Nights’ in the last couple of years against Central Coast and Wellington Phoenix respectively, and while AAMI Park may not be the venue this weekend, we’ll be hoping plenty of City fans will be celebrating from afar come Saturday night.
MACLAREN CHASING HISTORY
After a few quiet weeks by his own lofty standards, Jamie Maclaren was back in a big way against Wellington last week, netting a brace and reminding opposition defences of just how dangerous he can be.
After battling toe and groin injuries in recent weeks, Maclaren is slowly edging closer to full fitness – and looks to be back to his goalscoring best, edging ever closer to the all-time A-Leagues goalscoring record.
Now only two away from creating his own slice of history, Maclaren has three regular-season games left to achieve the milestone, albeit against some strong opposition in the Central Coast Mariners and Western Sydney Wanderers.
However, should Maclaren be able to nab a goal this weekend in what will also be his 200th A-League Men’s appearance, he’d fancy his chances of finding the back of the net next week against a Western United side he’s historically scored goals for fun against.
As we ramp up preparations for the upcoming finals series, City fans will be hoping to see Maclaren in the thick of the action and stepping up when it matters most.
The skipper returns to the fold… but straight into the XI?
Big games with trophies on the line normally call for plenty of experience, so the inclusion of captain Scott Jamieson is certainly a welcome one.
Our skipper may well have been the first player in world football to play in his team’s next fixture following a red card, after a scheduling quirk meant he served his suspension on Easter Monday, rather than in the replayed Derby a few days earlier.
The previous fixtures before that had seen Jamieson deputising admirably in a defensive midfield role, rather than his usual position at left-back.
Funnily enough, we’ve seen our captain playing out of position more often than in his usual position of left-back this season, given he’d also played plenty of minutes in the heart of defence earlier on in the campaign.
Now somewhat of a ‘swiss army knife’ in Rado Vidosic’s squad, while a return straight into the starting XI may not be a guarantee, Jamieson has proven he’s more than capable of performing in a number of roles all over the pitch.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME?
Last time these two sides met was back in December where City managed to hold on for a gritty 1-0 win thanks to a, you guessed it, Jamie Maclaren goal.
While both teams have been mainstays at the top of the table all season long, City has had the wood over Mariners in recent times, winning our last five meetings against the NSW-based outfit.
Having scored seven goals across our last three matches against the Mariners, we can be sure to expect plenty of attacking play from both sides on the weekend.
HOW HAVE OUR OPPONENTS BEEN TRAVELLING?
The Mariners have put some teams languishing towards the bottom of the table to the sword in recent weeks, notching a strong 3-0 win over Western United and a 4-1 win over the Brisbane Roar.
In last week’s win over Western United, Jason Cummings continued to be the main man for Mariners, opening the scoring before Beni N’Kololo and Dylan Wenzel-Halls also contributed with goals to secure the emphatic win.
A-League Men: Round 24
Central Coast Mariners vs Melbourne City
Central Coast Stadium
Saturday 15 April, 5:00PM KO
Live on Paramount+