What to watch for: Brisbane v City

City will return to the pitch in the A-League Women competition this Saturday when it travels to Brisbane to take on the Roar.

After four consecutive wins in a row, City were brought back to earth by ladder-leaders Sydney FC last match so will no doubt be looking to return to winning ways.

Here’s what you should be keeping an eye out for in Saturday’s clash:

How this result impacts the table

Following four consecutive wins from our Round 3 victory over Adelaide, it may have felt like Sydney and City were running away as the clear top two in Season 2021/22. However, last weekend’s tough result has been a reminder that our place in Finals is far from guaranteed.

City is now level on a points-per-game basis with Melbourne Victory, whilst Adelaide and Newcastle aren’t too far behind in the same measurement either.

A win against Brisbane Roar would be an important result that would see us take a step closer towards a Finals – perhaps even a top two – berth, but a loss could open the door right up for the chasing pack.

Needless to say, it’ll take our very best performance to ensure that all three points come back to Victoria with our City girls this weekend.

Who lines up between the sticks for City?

It would normally be rare for fans to see a mid-match goalkeeper substitution, but City fans have already seen Melissa Barbieri replaced by Coco Majstorovic and Sally James on two separate occasions this season.

The most recent instance of this was especially noteworthy due to the latter’s return from a long-term injury sustained in pre-season. 19-year-old James had been the first goalkeeper signed by City for the 2021/22 season and was expected to contend with Barbieri for the first-choice goalkeeper position.

Now that she’s back from injury, it will be interesting to see who lines up between the sticks against Brisbane this weekend; Barbieri has performed well in her seven matches thus far, recording three clean sheets and a 72% save percentage, but the existing quality and exciting potential of James will undoubtedly give Rado Vidosic a selection headache.

Wilkinson to get back on the scoresheet

Following a blistering run of form in which she scored eight goals in three games, Hannah Wilkinson has since gone two games without finding the back of the net.

It’s hardly a drought, but it may concern City fans that the Kiwi’s scoreless run has coincided with the absence of her strike partner, Holly McNamara, who is away on Matildas duties.

In the past two matches, Wilkinson has taken fewer shots per game (two and three against Adelaide and Sydney respectively) than her season average prior to McNamara’s departure (just under four per game). Whilst these fixtures were against sides currently in the top four, this recent trend may also imply that the team has been creating fewer chances for the Kiwi without McNamara’s energetic presence in the final third.

Seeing Wilkinson get back on the scoresheet will be important for City fans, not just for the value her goals provide for our prospects in matches, but also because the Liberty A-League newcomer is well on her way to becoming the fastest player to 10 goals in the competition’s history.

She’s racing to beat Michelle Heyman’s previous record of 11 games, with the Kiwi needing to find the back of the net twice in her next three appearances to achieve that historic feat.