What to watch for: City v Adelaide

Melbourne City FC and Adelaide United are set to decide their season ledger on Tuesday night when they face for the third time in 2021/22.

The teams have already played out two 2-2 draws at Coopers Stadium this season, but the hosting of the third and final meeting between the teams at AAMI Park will hopefully produce a different result with a City blue tinge to it.

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Here’s what fans should watch for heading into it:

The second half, basically.

Yes, a strong first-half performance is objectively just as important, but it’s our second halves where the narrative lies this season – and particularly in our previous meetings with Adelaide.

So far in Season 2021/22, City and Adelaide have played out two 2-2 draws at the latter’s home ground, and in both meetings it was the visitors who netted in the first half to take a lead into the break before having that lead cut down with goals in the final third of the game.

The stats do a pretty good job of narrating our second-half struggles this campaign; we generally come out of the blocks fast, netting almost a quarter of our goals in the first 15 minutes of second halves. However, it’s from that point that we’ve been vulnerable, with 62.5% of our goals conceded arriving from the 60th minute onward.

Whilst a five-goal first half would be the preferable outcome on Tuesday, it’ll more realistically come down to how the team manages the game on the pitch and Patrick Kisnorbo’s substitution tactics that will win us the game if the scoreline is still tight heading into the final third.

A red-hot Leckie against his former A-League side

As City has overcome a slow start to the season with a strong recent string of results, so too has Mathew Leckie found his feet in his return to the A-League Men after 10 years away.

Having been made to wait eight games before finding the back of the net for the first time as a Melbourne City player in the league, Leckie was glad to have the weight taken off his shoulders with his strike against Newcastle Jets, and used that momentum to put on a blistering two-goal performance against Western Sydney last Friday.

Now set to face the team with whom he got his big break, City fans will be counting on Leckie to keep up his hot-streak when the team takes on Adelaide United on Tuesday.

What to watch listen for: City’s home atmosphere again, at last

If you’ve felt like there’s not been a whole lot of home City action at AAMI Park recently, you’re not wrong; Tuesday’s game will be our first game in over a month, and just our second home fixture in two months.

Accordingly, it’ll be a more than welcome return to City’s home of 12 years (about how long it’s felt since we were there last!) and the boys will need all the support from the stands they can get to help them secure a massive three points – especially given Adelaide’s away form.

The Reds have been one of the league’s hardest teams to beat away from home, losing just one of their seven games on the road this season.

As City continues its pursuit of crucial three-point results at this formative stage of the season, becoming just the second home team to beat Adelaide would be huge for the boys’ confidence.