ALM Preview: Wellington v City

After a week off with the international break, your City boys are set to return to the pitch this Saturday afternoon across the ditch in New Zealand.

We’ll face off against Wellington Phoenix in Auckland for what will be the first of three games in eight days.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on this Saturday!

Starting the road trip with a W

We may have had last weekend off, but our schedule is just about to heat up again.

We’ll begin a big road trip this Saturday which will see us play three games in three different countries across just eight days.

Now little over three weeks into his tenure as Head Coach, Aurelio Vidmar would’ve been delighted to get an extended period on the training pitch with the majority of his squad over the last week.

Of course, there have been a few absentees including regular starters Jamie Maclaren, Aziz Behich and Callum Talbot, but the rest of the squad should now be a little more familiar with the way Vidmar is wanting to play.

Playing away from their usual hometown this weekend, Wellington has begun the season strongly and currently sits third on the table.

The Phoenix are undefeated through four games and have been in strong form at home particularly, winning both fixtures against Perth (2-1) and Brisbane (5-2).

Most recently before the international break, they earned a hard-fought point away to Melbourne Victory, drawing 1-1 despite not taking a shot a shot at goal.

How many changes will we see?

We’re guaranteed to see at least one change to our starting XI after Nuno Reis was on Thursday ruled out due to a minor quad injury.

The logical replacement would be Curtis Good who was an unused substitute last time out.

Midfield maestro Tolgay Arslan left the pitch early with a foot injury and speaking on Thursday, Vidmar said he’d need to get through training to be passed fit to play.

Terry Antonis – who was his replacement against Macarthur – and Alessandro Lopane are the two most likely to step into midfield should Arslan not recover in time.

The other key call Vidmar will have to make is at right back. Scott Galloway was given his first start of the season over Callum Talbot who had previously been the first-choice right back, and performed strongly, crediting with an assist for Maclaren’s opener.

There also of course is the question of the fitness of our international representatives, with Maclaren, Behich and Talbot all travelling directly to Auckland following their national team commitments.

Climbing up the table through some tough fixtures

Due to AAMI Park being out of action for an extended period, it’ll be a while until we see our City boys at home again.

This means there are plenty of away games ahead in the weeks to come, with plenty of tough trips on the cards.

After a slow start to the A-League Men’s season we have plenty of catching up to do if we’re to contend for our fourth consecutive Premiers Plate, so there’s certainly no time to rest.

Our trip to Auckland not only presents the perfect chance to begin our road trip on a positive note with three points, but also to start getting some momentum building as we look to climb back up towards the top of the table.

Match Details

A-League Men: Round 5

Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne City FC

Where: Go Media Stadium, Auckland

Date: Saturday 25 November

Time: 2:30pm (AEDT)

Live on Paramount+