Melbourne City FC is set to face Western United in a Saturday night top-of-the-table blockbuster in the A-League Men competition.
The clash looms as a serious ‘six-pointer’ as the teams compete for this season’s Premiership, with City and United currently tied on 32 points, though the latter has two games in hand.
City heads into the blockbuster fixture on the back of a 3-1 win against Macarthur FC just days prior. It was a contest in which the team was tested by an early Apostolos Giannou goal, but the City boys were able to find their feet over the remainder of the encounter, with Florin Berenguer and Jamie Maclaren adding to the own-goal that initially equalised.
The team will be used to short turnarounds by now, however, and will have already moved on from that result to focus on what could be the biggest match of their season to date.
City and Western United have already met twice this season, with the latter running out 1-0 victors on both occasions, but a repeat of that scoreline seems unlikely given the circumstances of the previous two fixtures.
Patrick Kisnorbo was missing six key personnel due to international duty and injury/illness when the teams most recently met, with his side putting up an inspired performance against Western United who took until late in the second half to finally break down our defences.
Additionally, City is in significantly better attacking form now than when it was held scoreless after Dylan Wenzel-Halls’ early opener in Round 3, with Kisnorbo’s side now the highest-scoring team in the league and unlikely to be bogged down in such a way again.
John Aloisi’s side was most recently in action last Saturday against Newcastle Jets when it was able to secure a 2-1 win at home. The clash between one of the league’s best attacking sides against its stingiest defence made for captivating viewing, but the United backline proved their superiority by holding out until the Jets’ 81st-minute consolation goal when the game was already won.
City fans will hope to see the return of Mathew Leckie to the starting lineup following an injury that briefly sidelined the veteran forward who had otherwise been in scintillating form in recent weeks, with six goals in his past seven games.
After winning the first five meetings between the teams, City fans will hope to see an end to Western’s recent resurgence in the head-to-head record, with United having claimed three consecutive victories against us.
Western United FC vs Melbourne City FC
Saturday 12 March, kick-off 5:05pm