What to watch for: City v Macarthur

For the first time in what seems like forever, City will finally have some breathing room between fixtures ahead of Wednesday’s clash against Macarthur.

This came about due to Sunday’s fixture against Wellington being postponed. City made the trip to Leichhardt and both teams completed their warm-up, before the game was called off at the 11th hour. This means that although City has had a week between games, it has been far from a normal preparation.

Here’s what you should be watching out for from the stands on Wednesday night:

A battle between Premiership contenders

March looms as the month that could define City’s pursuit of a successful title defence, with plenty of upcoming fixtures against current top six rivals, beginning on Wednesday.

It would be an enormous achievement, but emerging from those fixtures without dropping points could go down as the type of run that establishes City as Premiership favourites, much like our six-game winning streak last season.

We’d warn about thinking too far ahead, however, as the very first test is on Wednesday night, when three points at home will be the only objective in the City boys’ sights.

How the next chapter of the City-Macarthur fixture plays out

Expansion of the league presents the unique opportunity for fans to observe how the narrative of a fixture between two teams plays out over time – it’s like history being made right before your eyes.

For the first couple of years of Western United’s existence, the narrative for City fans was how much success we were enjoying in the meetings between the teams, particularly thanks to the fact that the teams met four times in 2019/20, with City winning all four encounters including the Semi Final.

As for Macarthur, the young history of the fixture has little narrative to it at the moment, with a 3-0 win and 1-1 draw being the first entries into our head-to-head record. That said, City’s 2-0 win in the Semi Final with a severely depleted squad and a match-winning quickfire double from Stefan Colakovski and Marco Tilio is the type of occasion that builds up the narrative early on.

The return of Craig Noone to AAMI Park

Fans will be all too familiar with the danger posed by the former City winger and it will certainly be an unusual feeling seeing the Englishman in new colours at AAMI Park on Wednesday.

Though it won’t be his first trip back to AAMI since departing City, given the team’s bruising visit to the stadium last Friday against Melbourne Victory, it will certainly feel like it from the perspective of City fans.

The Englishman has been at his creative best again this season, putting in more crosses than any other player in the league and subsequently ranking in the top 10 for assists per 90 minutes.

It might be tough coming up against a former teammate, especially one with such quality, but City’s defensive unit will count on their ability to shut Noone out of the game on Wednesday in order to keep the Bulls at bay over what will be a fiercely-contested 90 minutes.

As the teams meet again on Wednesday night, fans should relish in the history continuing to be made before their eyes and hope that the next page in this narrative is another City win.