Melbourne City v Sydney FC: match preview
Melbourne City face a stern test of their title credentials when they face Premiers Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
Erick Mombaerts' side have long been the best of the rest throughout the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season as they watched the Sky Blues pull away from the chasing pack to secure the Premiers' Plate.
But with Wellington Phoenix showing superb form throughout the back-half of the campaign, pressure has arisen for City to start stringing together a consistent run of positive results to secure a top-two finish.
City's clash with Sydney FC is their first fixture since March 23 (a 2-1 loss to Newcastle Jets) and the challenge to hit the ground running after such an extended layoff could not get any more difficult against the Sky Blues, who have lost just three times throughout the 2019/20 campaign.
But while Sydney have shown an appetite for victory and a consistent distaste for defeat all season long, City have displayed far less predictable form.
Their longest winning streak of the season has been just three games through Rounds 3-5 as they've conceded 34 goals, the fifth-most of any team in the league.
But City can put their previous inconsistencies to bed with a strong showing between now and the end of the season, with three games against top six contenders in Sydney, Brisbane Roar and Western United remaining before the Finals Series begins.
Mombaerts' men will take confidence from their slender defeat to a 10-man Sydney FC in Round 12, where they went ahead through Connor Metcalfe only to concede an equaliser to Adam Le Fondre and a late winner to Kosta Barbarouses.
They showed they were capable of matching the Sky Blues throughout periods of that fixture and will be hoping to show more of the same when they take on the Premiers on Saturday evening.
Saturday, August 1 2020
Kick-off: 5.00pm AEST
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Broadcast: ABC TV, FOX Sports 507
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports
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Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Tom GLOVER (gk), 2.Scott GALLOWAY, 3.Scott JAMIESON, 4.Harrison DELBRIDGE, 6.Josh BRILLANTE, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Florin BERENGUER 11.Craig NOONE, 13.Nathaniel ATKINSON, 19.Lachlan WALES, 20.Adrian LUNA, 21.Ramy NAJJARINE, 22.Curtis GOOD, 30.Moudi NAJJAR, 34.Connor METCALFE, 35.Raphael BORGES RODRIGUEZ, 39.Idrus ABDULAHI, 40.Richard WINDBICHLER, 46.Joe GAUCI, 49.Stefan COLAKOVSKI **2-4 to be omitted**
Unavailable: 7.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (quarantine – 5 days), 23.Dean BOUZANIS (gk) (released)
Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2.Patrick FLOTTMANN, 4.Alex WILKINSON (c), 5.Alex BAUMJOHANN, 6.Ryan McGOWAN, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Paulo RETRE, 9.Adam LE FONDRE, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 16.Joel KING, 17.Anthony CACERES, 18.Luke IVANOVIC, 19.Chris ZUVELA, 20.Thomas HEWARD-BELLE (gk), 21.Harry VAN DER SAAG, 24.Marco TILIO, 26.Luke BRATTAN, 28.Calem NIEUWENHOF **2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 19.Chris ZUVELA (promoted), 20.Thomas HEWARD-BELLE (gk) (return from injury), 24.Marco TILIO (promoted), 28. Calem NIEUWENHOF (promoted).
Outs: 23.Rhyan GRANT (2 weeks), 30.Adam PAVLESIC (gk) (not selected)
Unavailable: 3.Ben WARLAND (hamstring – 1 week)
Did you know?
- Sydney FC have won eight of the last nine matches against Melbourne City, scoring an average of 2.6 goals per game in those eight wins.
- City have won only two of their last seven games outside Victoria, despite being kept scoreless only once in those matches.
- The Sky Blues have made 49 open play crosses in 2019/20, the fewest of any club, while City have made 106 which is the most in the competition.