Match Preview: Western United v City

Having broken its run of three consecutive draws in the Izuzu UTE A-League with a win over Central Coast last weekend, Melbourne City FC will now be looking to secure consecutive wins in the competition for the first time this season when it faces Western United at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

Though the performances, particularly in an attacking sense, had been gradually improving in recent weeks, it wasn’t until last Sunday that City finally secured its first win of 2022 when the team beat Central Coast away from home.

The City boys started hot and made their early dominance count with an 18th-minute goal through Jamie Maclaren but were pegged back before half-time thanks to an impressive strike from Marco Ureña.

Not to be denied, the team came out firing again in the second half, going ahead first through Andrew Nabbout before new signing Carl Jenkinson sealed the result with a goal just 16 minutes into his City debut.

The result saw City leap ahead into second place, a position the team will now look to consolidate with a second-consecutive win for the first time in 2021/22 when they take on Western United for the second time this season.

Fans will hardly want to be reminded of the result last time the two teams faced, with United picking up a first away win against City with a 1-0 result that was secured early thanks to a Dylan Wenzel-Halls strike in the 20th minute. Those in attendance on the night will remember the way that United were then able to sit back and defend their lead, with City struggling to break them down and create shooting opportunities in what was ultimately a frustrating affair.

This time around, however, City will look vastly different to that Round 3 clash both in regard to their performance transformation and in terms of available personnel.

The City boys have been much more potent in an attacking sense in recent weeks than they had been up to that first meeting with United, so should stand a better chance of finding the back of Jamie Young’s net. That task will be made difficult by the quadruple absence of Mathew Leckie, Jamie Maclaren, Connor Metcalfe and Marco Tilio, who will be away on Socceroos duty.

On a positive note, the team will regain defenders Scott Jamieson and Nuno Reis following their serving of one-match suspensions when they missed out on City’s win over the Mariners.

Tonight’s opposition may have started the season strongly, with four wins and just one goal conceded from their opening five games, but have since dropped off significantly, losing their next two whilst conceding five.

Though capitalising on the dual circumstances of our strong recent attacking form and United’s defensive woes in their last two will be important, perhaps even more pertinent will be City’s ability to shut out the United attack, who have the equal-second lowest goals-per-game figure in the league. This would be especially confidence-boosting as the City defence has kept just one clean sheet from eight games this season.

Match Details

Izuzu UTE A-League: Round 12

Western United FC vs Melbourne City FC

Saturday 29 January, kick-off 7:45pm