Coming off the back of a strong 4-0 win in its first A-League Women fixture of 2022, City will be looking to consolidate second spot on the table when it travels to Adelaide this Saturday.
Here’s what you should be watching for:
How City adapts without Heatley and McNamara
Following their great form to start the season, Winonah Heatley and Holly McNamara have both received call-ups to the extended Matildas squad ahead of the Asian Cup later this month.
This will leave City without the young pair for our clash with Adelaide on Saturday and Rado Vidosic will need to look for alternative personnel to fill the significant voids left by Heatley and McNamara.
Whilst Heatley’s replacement appears fairly straightforward with young central defender Naomi Chinnama having already started a game this season, who Vidosic seeks to replace McNamara’s energetic pressing and pace to get behind the opposition defence will be a point of interest ahead of the weekend’s game.
Leticia McKenna provides an experienced option with creativity abound, whilst 15-year-old Caitlin Karic would be a more positionally-similar alternative who possesses the same youthful tenacity as McNamara has shown this season.
An Adelaide side brimming with form and confidence
When City beat Adelaide 3-1 at home in Round 3, the Reds had previously suffered a heavy loss against Melbourne Victory and a one-goal win over Canberra United.
Days out from that Round 3 meeting, however, the Reds signed returning star Dylan Holmes, and the midfielder’s return to the starting line-up in Round 4 has since coincided with a brilliant run of high-scoring form for Adelaide.
The Reds put four past Perth Glory in Holmes’ return for Adelaide and more recently saw Canberra United off with a 3-1 win last Saturday, a game in which Holmes opened the scoring.
Though Melbourne City has itself enjoyed a strong run of form in its past two games, netting a total of nine goals against Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix, our upcoming clash against Adelaide looms as an entirely different contest to our Round 3 meeting; this is now a battle between two sides seriously contending for the top four and who will give everything to come away with the win.
City to iron out the kinks of its title-chasing form
With five games played, City has collected 12 points of a maximum 15 and finds itself firmly in second place behind the reigning Premiers, Sydney FC.
The Sky Blues have led by example this season to demonstrate what it takes to be a leading Liberty A-League side, managing to score goals freely whilst keeping it tight at the back.
It’s the latter department in which City haven’t quite matched the league leaders this season, securing our second clean sheet against Wellington Phoenix last Sunday.
City’s defensive performances have been solid in 2021/22, but clean sheets have proven difficult to come by as the team has made a bad habit of conceding cheap consolation goals, as was the case against Adelaide and Melbourne Victory in Rounds 3 and 4.
Vidosic will not only seek a determination from his side to shut out their opposition regardless of the scoreline, but also a strong defensive performance overall given Adelaide’s goalscoring form in recent weeks.