Match Preview: Christmas Derby

Fresh from a 10-day break since our win over Perth Glory, the City boys should be fit and firing ahead of what looms as a huge Christmas Derby on Saturday night.

Both City and Victory have made solid starts to the new campaign, so this looms as an early-season blockbuster with either side seeking to establish itself as an early-season leader.

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The fixture against Perth Glory may have ended with a positive result, but City were certainly made to work hard for it.

As has become a familiar sight for City fans at home recently, the team dominated the attacking chances, particularly in the first half where Perth’s Cameron Cook survived a barrage of attempts at his goal following City’s disallowed goal in the 13th minute which was ruled out for offside.

We were trying from close, we were trying from distance, we were trying headers and bicycles, we were forcing sharp saves – we even hit the post – the ball just wouldn’t go in. That is, of course, until the 88th minute, when Curtis Good clipped a long ball just inside the area to Connor Metcalfe, who aimed his header towards the far post for Nathaniel Atkinson to net the winner after coming on as a substitute.

Whilst the three points was a pleasing way to get past the final hurdle in a busy run of games, the team will need to improve on its attacking efficacy if we’re to come away with another win in a massive Melbourne Derby later tonight.

Following their wooden spoon finish in 2020/21, Melbourne Victory has recruited heavily and, under the guidance of new manager Tony Popovic, look to be an improved outfit in their first four games of the new season.

Most recently, Victory overcame a spirited Adelaide United outfit away from home, winning 2-1 thanks to goals from Francesco Margiotta and Nishan Velupillay.

In a boost for City, Jason Davidson was sent off in the 88th minute of that encounter for a second yellow card offence and won’t be taking part in tonight’s Melbourne Derby.

This edition of the fixture – the 36th in all competitions – could be a decisive one in regard to history’s interpretation of the balance of the Derby overall. Each team has won 13 Derbies each, with nine draws in between, awarding a head-to-head advantage to the team that wins one next.

Additionally, the title of the fixture’s most-prolific goalscorer could change hands, with Jamie Maclaren (8) needing two goals to overtake Besart Berisha (9).

Match Details

Izuzu UTE A-League Round 5

Melbourne City FC vs Melbourne Victory FC

Saturday 18 December, kick-off 7:45pm