What to watch for: City v Central Coast

Back on the winners’ list last Friday night, Melbourne City FC will now look to convert that momentum into a winning run as we host Central Coast Mariners on Tuesday.

Here’s fans should be keeping an eye out for heading into the clash:

Which of City’s ‘fab five’ will star next?

A defining feature of City’s season thus far has been the rotational nature of the standout performers in each game.

Andrew Nabbout was the early-season star, whilst in the past two weeks, each of Jamie Maclaren, Mathew Leckie, Florin Berenguer and Marco Tilio have been the main men in their respective standout games, with the latter being the most recent example of this with his two-assist performance against Newcastle.

The fact that City’s attacking unit is proving so difficult to shut down – and our league-leading 26 goals goes to prove it – is a testament to the willingness and ability of our forwards to step up when one or two of their teammates are being marked out of the game.

As for who’ll be the star against Central Coast, who knows? – and that’s exactly the predicament that the Mariners defenders will have on their hands on Tuesday night.

City’s squad depth to be relied upon again amidst a testing stage of the season

The ‘fab five’ discussion is just one aspect of the impressive squad depth that has served City greatly this season and which will continue to be relied upon amidst a busy schedule and Asian Champions League involvement later in April.

City’s 2021 Grand Final-winning backline of Scott Jamieson, Nuno Reis, Rostyn Griffiths and Scott Galloway has performed well again in 2021/22, and Curtis Good can be included in that reliable mainstay category. However, it’s been the impact that the likes of youngster Jordan Bos and January signing Carl Jenkinson have had in their limited opportunities that really demonstrates the value of City’s squad depth.

This depth extends to the fact that we have Kerrin Stokes and Jordan Hall ready to step up if called upon at centre-back, quality international signings Manuel Pucciarelli and Tsubasa Endoh yet to crack the starting XI and an aforementioned ‘fab five’ attacking stars to fit into just four positions.

City’s incredible squad depth may provide migraine-level selection headaches for Patrick Kisnorbo, but it will continue to be relied upon to secure vital points that could prove pivotal to the team’s prospects this season.

City’s performance against a favourite opposition to host

There’s a certain category of statistical trivia that falls into the realm of ‘unbelievable’, and the reality of City’s recent home record against Central Coast sure takes a bit of memory-wracking to finally come around to.

In fact, Melbourne City has never lost to Central Coast Mariners at home – not, at least, since we’ve been Melbourne City. It’s been over seven years since the Mariners have beaten us at AAMI Park: a 2-1 victory over the Melbourne Heart despite Orlando Engelaar’s iconic goal from inside his own half to open the scoring.

Things have been pretty rosy for City since then, with the team currently on a nine-game winning streak at AAMI Park against the Mariners, and the boys will give themselves every chance of making that 10 in a row when the two sides meet on Tuesday night.