Melbourne City will be looking to enter the World Cup break on a high when it travels to Newcastle to take on the Jets this Saturday.
City has dropped points just once in five fixtures so far this season, currently sitting on top of the table with a three-point buffer over Western Sydney.
With Men’s City football set for an almost month long hiatus following this clash, here’s a few things you should be keeping an eye out for come Saturday.
ONE LAST HITOUT BEFORE QATAR FOR MACCA AND LECKS
Mathew Leckie and Jamie Maclaren were unsurprisingly both included in Australia’s 26-man FIFA World Cup squad named earlier this week.
This came after not just blistering starts to the current season, but consistent high-level performances in past years for both club and country.
On this season though, City’s star attacking duo have been right up there with the best players in the league so far.
Maclaren is already up to seven goals in just five games, while no other player across the league has managed more than three. Newcastle has historically been one of his favourite teams to play too, scoring 14 goals in 19 times he’s played the Jets, the equal third highest tally against any team across his career.
Leckie on the other hand got his name on the scoresheet for the first time of the season last weekend, but already has multiple Player of the Match awards to his name in 2022/23.
WHO MAKES UP THE MIDFIELD?
So far this season we’ve seen six players (Aiden O’Neill, Taras Gomulka, Valon Berisha, Richard van der Venne, Marco Tilio and Mathew Leckie) used in the midfield trio at different stages.
O’Neill and Berisha seem to be the mainstays having started every game, while the third player has chopped and changed throughout the season.
Gomulka had a hold on the starting spot before an unfortunate red card, which led to Kisnorbo deploying a more attacking midfield with the addition of Leckie.
Since then, the more defensive minded Gomulka returned to the XI and last time out the more attacking van der Venne started, so it appears the make-up of City’s midfield is likely to change from week to week.
Taking on a Newcastle side that hasn’t found the back of the net in its past two encounters may mean City go for a more attacking line-up this week, but we’ll just have to wait until team news drops prior to kick-off to find out for sure!
MAINTAINING THE STANDARD
Much has been made of City’s impressive start to the season, but what will have the coaching staff most pleased is it has been strong at both ends of the the pitched.
Helped of course thanks to Maclaren’s great start to the season, City has found the back of the net a league-best 13 times.
While the players in defence may not have been consistent as they have further up the pitch with plenty of changes due to injury and suspension, the results have been the same.
City has allowed just three goals this season (also the best in the league), with keeper Tom Glover already having kept three clean sheets.