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What to watch for: Sydney FC v City

The highly-anticipated rematch between Melbourne City FC and Sydney FC will take place exactly eight months after the former’s Grand Final win at AAMI Park.

This time around, it’ll be at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium during a pivotal stage of the 2021/22 season that the teams will meet for the first time since that famous June night.

Saturday’s clash presents another chance for City to return to the top of the table, continuing a recent tug-of-war with Western United, and with the boys having won four of their last five, they’ll be full of confidence.

Here’s what to watch for as the clash edges closer:

A long-awaited Grand Final rematch

Exactly eight months after the teams met in the 2021 Grand Final, City and Sydney will do battle for the first time since the former was crowned Champion following its historic 3-1 at AAMI Park.

Whilst the teams will be fairly similar to how they appeared in the Grand Final, adding a fiery element to the upcoming meeting, the glaring exception will likely be in City’s final third. Having already failed to deal with our Championship-winning front three of Marco Tilio, Stefan Colakovski and Nathaniel Atkinson, Sydney’s task of shutting out our attacking line has only grown given the form of Mathew Leckie, Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout this season.

Maclaren wasn’t the only Socceroo to miss out on Grand Final success either, with Connor Metcalfe and Curtis Good also in line to face Sydney for the first time since they had to spectate the Championship win whilst away on national team duties.

Though Sydney are right amongst the title race again this season, the A-League Men reigning Premiers and Champions will be hoping that the combination of their past result and some huge inclusions to their victorious Grand Final lineup will hold them in good stead to secure the win this time around.

A high-stakes clash at the table’s upper reaches

Aside from being a heated Grand Final rematch, this Saturday’s meeting between City and Sydney will, more pertinently, have intriguing implications amongst the upper reaches of the A-League Men table.

Both sides have fierce Premiership ambitions and will view Saturday’s clash as a title race six-pointer against a fellow contender.

Particularly in a season where there is yet to be a clear breakaway team, and where the top six has proven to be incredibly competitive, meetings between such teams undoubtedly carry plenty of disruptive potential to the current look of the Finals-qualifying positions.

City’s ‘hunter’ mentality on the road

Every team wants to make its home ground a fortress, but the less glamorous attribute of being tough to beat on the road is one that is objectively just as important, and it’s a quality that City has had this season.

Determined to be the ‘hunter’ rather than the ‘hunted’ in front of opposition fans, City is undefeated away from AAMI Park this season, including winning its past three straight, all in New South Wales.

The ruthless pursuit of back-to-back league titles isn’t an attitude that can be switched on and off depending on venue, so expect our City boys to come out firing when they take to Netrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday.