Melbourne City need three points after failing to triumph in their last three games, so a game against Hyundai A-League cellar-dwellers Central Coast Mariners couldn't come at a better time.
Sunday, 21 February 2016
Melbourne City FC v Central Coast Mariners
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 5:00 PM (Local) (5:00 PM (AEDT))
Referee: Stephen Lucas
Assistant Referee 1: Luke Brennan
Assistant Referee 2: Brad Hobson
Fourth Official: Jonathan Barreiro
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 774 ABC Melbourne, 92.5 ABC Central Coast, ABC Local Radio Vic, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live.
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MCYvCCM
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (GK), 2.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 8.Aaron MOOY, 11.Michael ZULLO, 16.Jason TRIFIRO, 17.Wade DEKKER, 18.Paulo RETRE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (GK), 22.Jack CLISBY, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 24.Patrick KISNORBO (c), 25.Jacob MELLING, 27.Nick FITZGERALD, 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI, 33.Osama MALIK, 39.Ali EYIGUN
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 16.Jason TRIFIRO (promoted), 25.Jacob MELLING (returns from suspension), 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI (promoted), 39.Ali EYIGUN (promoted)
Outs: 9.Harry NOVILLO (omitted), 29.Anthony CACERES (suspended – 1 match)
Unavailable: 4.Connor CHAPMAN (knee – 1-2 weeks), 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – season)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Paul IZZO (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Mitch AUSTIN, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 10.Luis GARCIA, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Alastair BRAY (gk), 15.Brad McDONALD, 16.Liam ROSE, 19.Josh BINGHAM, 21.Michael NEILL, 23.Tomislav USKOK, 25.Adam BERRY, 28.Matthew FLETCHER
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 5.Harry ASCROFT (return from suspension), 23.Tomislav USKOK (promoted), 25.Adam BERRY (promoted), 28.Matthew FLETCHER (promoted)
Outs: 17.Francesco STELLA (not selected), 22.Jake McGING (gluteus tear – 1 week)
Unavailable: 9.Roy O’DONOVAN (suspended – 2 matches)
If Melbourne City are to win their maiden piece of Hyundai A-League silverware this season, the next three weeks may decide their fate.
After back-to-back losses, John van 't Schip's men can count themselves lucky that they claimed a point in the derby last week, with officials failing to spot Gui Finkler's second-half free-kick crossing the line for Melbourne Victory.
On Sunday, City host the last-placed Mariners before visiting Wellington Phoenix, who sit second from bottom, and then welcoming struggling Sydney FC to AAMI Park.
Three wins on the bounce would certainly put City's season back on track.
Central Coast will arrive in Melbourne after consecutive losses.
After earning a rare win away to the Phoenix at the end of January, the Mariners were trounced by Brisbane Roar and then gave up a first-half lead to lose 3-2 to Adelaide United last week.
City will be without Harry Novillo - who has been stood down for alleged off-field issues - and Anthony Caceres is suspended, while Jacob Melling is the biggest inclusion for the hosts after serving a one-match ban.
Mariners coach Tony Walmsley has dropped Francesco Stella and lost Jake McGing to a muscle tear, while Harry Ascroft also returns from suspension.
- City have won their last two matches against Central Coast, scoring eight goals in the process.
- City are undefeated in their last six home fixtures.
- The Mariners have conceded 23 of their 45 goals in the final half hour of matches this season, eight more than any other team.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Marquee forward Luis Garcia started his first match for Central Coast last week and is expected to start again on Sunday but Walmsley will need to tweak his formation if the Spaniard is to thrive.
Garcia was used as a false nine against Adelaide but was often left isolated by the Mariners' midfield trio.
The former Barcelona and Liverpool man would benefit from playing in behind a lead striker like Josh Bingham, although this could leave the visitors' midfield undermanned if Walmsley was to select Mitch Austin and Fabio Ferreira in a 4-2-3-1.
The solution could be to play Ferreira through the middle with Garcia in behind and then pick someone like Michael Neill as a nominal right winger.
Neill could stay narrow and support holding duo Liam Rose and Nick Montgomery.
Either way, Garcia will be vital if the Mariners are to shock City.
Van 't Schip has the most lethal striker in the competition in Bruno Fornaroli and it's almost impossible to imagine Central Coast's defence keeping the Uruguayan quiet.
Fornaroli struck twice in the derby - including a contender for goal of the season - and leads the race for the Hyundai A-League Golden Boot by three goals over Melbourne Victory's Besart Berisha.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Bruno Fornaroli. City are looking into making the 28-year-old a marquee player to keep him at the club and after his first goal against Victory last week, who can blame them?
Melbourne City: DWLLD
Central Coast Mariners: LLWLL
Melbourne City 4-0 Central Coast Mariners