Melbourne City FC will look to extend its A-League Women winning run to three games when the team takes on Perth Glory on Sunday afternoon.
There’s plenty at stake as Rado Vidosic’s side continues its pursuit of a top two finish in Season 2021/22.
Here’s what fans should be looking out for when the teams meet at Central Coast Stadium:
Can City capitalise on Perth’s fatigue from a short turnaround?
It’s the glaring factor from a neutral perspective heading into this one: Perth will have had just three days between their Thursday night win over Adelaide United and Sunday’s meeting with City.
The latter will also serve as Perth’s third game in nine days, an uncommon fixturing occurrence in the Australian women’s game.
With the travelling City team enjoying a full week’s rest themselves, whether Vidosic elects to expose this temporary weakness in the Glory system remains to be seen, but his generally youthful and energetic starting XI will certainly be the big time beneficiaries of Perth’s cumulative fatigue.
City’s current in-form player: Rhianna Pollicina
When Holly McNamara was called up to the Matildas’ Asian Cup squad and missed three City games in January, the team needed a player to step up and cover for the loss of her lethal presence in the final third. Enter, Rhianna Pollicina.
The City midfielder has netted three goals and recorded one assist in her past four games, finding the back of the net again on McNamara’s return last weekend, but was particularly influential in City’s narrow January wins against Adelaide and Brisbane.
Pollicina arguably won those games off her own boot, netting an individually brilliant winner against Adelaide before scoring and assisting to inspire a come-from-behind 2-1 victory against Brisbane.
Though they’ll be present for the Perth clash, the impending absences of Rebekah Stott and Hannah Wilkinson while away on international duty will place additional emphasis on Pollicina’s contributions to the side, so City fans will hope to see the midfielder’s strong recent form continue.
Hannah Wilkinson with a chance at making history
Following a brace in Round 3 and an incredible five-goal haul in the Round 4 Melbourne Derby, the record books were hurriedly being consulted to see which unprecedented goalscoring exploits might be in Hannah Wilkinson’s grasp in Season 2021/22.
A further two goals in her past five games has the Kiwi sitting on nine goals and needing one more from her next appearance (her 10th) to award her the outright title of the fastest player to 10 goals in A-League Women history. Michelle Heyman had previously achieved the feat in 11 games.
On the topic, Wilkinson isn’t too far off Larissa Crummer’s Melbourne City record of 11 goals in a single season; a hattrick to break Heyman and Crummer’s records outright would sure be a fantastic way to build up her confidence even more before she jets off with the Football Ferns around a week from now.