What to watch for: Wellington v City

Melbourne City will kick off 2023 in Wellington as it faces the Phoenix away from home to begin the new year.

City comes into Monday’s clash off the back of another three points, with Jamie Maclaren’s first half goal enough to seal a win over the Mariners at a warm AAMI Park last Tuesday.

Here’s a few things to keep an eye out for in our first match of 2023!

New year, same team

It may be a new year, but it’s the same old Melbourne City marching on. City comes into 2023 sitting pretty at the top of the A-League Men’s table, three points clear and with a game in hand over the Wanderers in second (at the time of writing).

Boasting an impressive record of six wins, a draw and just the one loss, City will be looking to pick up from where it left off in 2022 and carry its good form and momentum through the remainder of the season.

Having finished the year with a 1-0 win over the Mariners, City now has the chance to kickstart 2023 in the best possible fashion, returning home from Wellington with another three points.

First trip across the ditch

Monday will mark the first game played in New Zealand for this City squad in just under three years.

With the league being mostly played on Australian soil over the past two seasons, the Phoenix had been unable to host home games at Sky Stadium in New Zealand.

However, with international travel now well and truly back in full swing, City will cross the ditch for the first time since 2020.

Wellington currently sit in seventh place, registering just the two victories this year along with 5 draws and 2 losses.

Coming up against a City side that has conceded only six goals this season, they’ll certainly have their work cut out for them to try and cause an upset against the ladder-leaders, regardless of the home ground advantage.

Maclaren goalscoring run continues

Jamie Maclaren has continued to light up the A-Leagues this season with an incredible 10 goals in 8 games to start the season.

Needing a goal against the Central Coast Mariners to extend his goalscoring streak out to eight consecutive games, Richard van der Venne provided the ball on a silver platter with a superb cross into the box in the 38th minute, a ball that Maclaren dutifully tucked into the back of the net.

That goal against the Mariners last Tuesday saw Maclaren now equal Andy Keogh’s all-time league record of scoring a goal in eight consecutive games.

Up against a side that has conceded 15 goals this season, Maclaren will certainly be one to watch on Monday with the outright record in his sights.