What to watch for: Victory v City

City will be looking to back up a strong Round 3 Liberty A-League performance when it takes on Victory in the second Melbourne Derby of the season this Sunday evening.

Victory came away 2-1 winners in the first meeting between teams less than two weeks ago, before City returned to form with a 3-1 win against Adelaide last Saturday night.

Here’s what you should be keeping an eye out for in Sunday’s Derby:

Hannah Wilkinson. Full stop.

City’s new Kiwi striker, Hannah Wilkinson, was one of the top performers across City’s opening two games of the season, certainly passing the eye test despite not finding the back of the net against Canberra or Victory.

A goal against Adelaide seemed a certainty given how she’d been performing, and Wilkinson went on to get not one, but two.

Now with the monkey off her back – and having been one of City’s most consistent outlets for shooting chances in the Round 2 Derby – watching Wilkinson with eager anticipation in this weekend’s clash will be on the mind of every City fan as she looks to keep her goalscoring form going.

How City deal with Williams from the start

There’s little doubt about the ascendancy Melbourne City had in the opening half of the Round 2 Derby, but the balance shifted in the second 45 minutes with US international Lynn Williams’ introduction in the 62nd playing a part.

Victory instantly looked a more cohesive side, with the lightning-fast Williams as the attacking spearhead. Whilst she mightn’t have been directly involved in the first goal, she was certainly the decisive factor in Victory’s second, bursting into a dangerous area to get on the end of a cross in from the right.

City struggled to contain the USWNT attacker in the time that she was on the pitch in Round 2, so being better prepared to deal with Williams from the first whistle – now that she’s starting – will be crucial for Rado Vidosic and his side.

A midfield battle between old teammates

It was mentioned that whilst Williams’ introduction to the Round 2 Derby instantly made her side look better, she had no direct involvement in the first goal. That’s because Victory’s other high-profile recent acquisition, Alex Chidiac, was pulling the strings on that occasion. The wily midfielder’s penetrating dribble to the edge of the area enabled her to slip a ball through for Catherine Zimmerman to finish coolly into the bottom corner and was admittedly a deserved reward for her performance on the day.

Utilised as a more free-licensed midfielder than her fellow member of the Victory engine room, Kyra Cooney-Cross – who has occupied a deeper position this season than last – Chidiac is one of the primary creators for her side, so limiting her influence will be vital in Sunday’s clash.

Her nearest opponents on the day are likely to be Leah Davidson and Rebekah Stott, who have both shared a dressing room with the former City midfielder at different stages. Davidson and Chidiac were obviously partnered in midfield last season, whilst Rebekah Stott actually played alongside Chidiac in City’s indomitable 2015/16 season, before the latter’s move back to Adelaide.

It’ll be the dual responsibility of Davidson and Stott to afford as little time on the ball as possible to Chidiac in the midfield battle on Sunday, and the outcome of that contest could determine the fate of the match.