Preview: Melbourne City FC v Central Coast Mariners

On the newly re-laid AAMI Park turf, the improving City have a chance to make it two wins on the spin against the struggling Mariners, but can van't Schip's men do it without the influential Aaron Mooy?

MATCH DETAILS

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Melbourne City FC v Central Coast Mariners

AAMI Park, Melbourne

Kick-Off: 5:00 PM (Local) (5:00 PM AEDT)

Referee: Adam Fielding
Assistant Referee 1: Luke Brennan
Assistant Referee 2: Jonathan Barreiro
Fourth Official: Patrick Chaplin

TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 (FOX SPORTS 4HD & 4) from 4.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: ABC Grandstand Online/ ABC Radio Mobile phone app  

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MCYvCCM

Melbourne City FC: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 3.Robbie WIELAERT, 5.Erik PAARTALU, 7.Iain RAMSAY, 11.Damien DUFF, 14.James BROWN, 15.David WILLIAMS, 17.Jason HOFFMAN, 18.Paulo RETRE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.Tando VELAPHI (GK) 23.Mate DUGANDZIC, 24.Patrick KISNORBO (C), 25 Jacob MELLING, 26.Marc MARINO, 27.Ross ARCHIBALD, 28.Liam MILLER

***One to be omitted***

Ins: 19.Ben GARUCCIO (promoted), 28.Liam MILLER (National Replacement Player)

Outs: 6.Aaron MOOY (international duty)

Unavailable: 4.Connor CHAPMAN (glandular fever – ongoing), 8.Massimo MURDOCCA (groin 1-2 weeks), 10.Robert KOREN (calf 2-4 weeks), 13.Jonatan GERMANO (hamstring – TBC), 21.Stefan MAUK (international duty)

Central Coast Mariners Squad: 1.Matt NASH (Gk), 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Zac ANDERSON, 7.John HUTCHINSON (C), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY, 9.Mitchell DUKE, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 12.Liam REDDY (Gk), 14.Malick MANÉ, 15.Matt SIM, 17.Richárd VERNES, 18.Glen TRIFIRO, 21.Michael NEILL, 23.Isaka CERNAK, 25.Eddy BOSNAR, 26.KIM Seung-yong

***two to be omitted***

Ins: 5.Zac ANDERSON (promoted), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (promoted), 26.KIM Seung-yong (promoted)

Outs: 2.Storm ROUX (International Duty)

Unavailable: 6.Brent GRIFFITHS (Injury – Indefinite), 19.Matt SIMON (Injury – Indefinite)

PREVIEW

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

City, having secured their first win of the season away to Roar on Saturday night, will be determined to build on that victory at home against another of the competition's strugglers.

Central Coast lost their third game in succession on Wednesday, going down 3-2 away to Adelaide United in the Westfield FFA Cup semi-finals.

Phil Moss's side showed plenty of fight in the second half but lost striker Matt Simon to a quad injury soon after the substitute scored. 

It's a big blow to a team struggling for goals and starring down the barrel of one of their most disappointing seasons in some years.

Could an unlikely revival begin at AAMI Park on Sunday?

OPTA DATA STATS

Perhaps it's gone unnoticed amid their slow start and the hype surrounding David Villa, but City have demonstrated impressive tactical flexibility so far in 2014-15.

In Round 1 they edged out Sydney for possession with 50.6% away from home, before dominating at home to the Newcastle Jets (62.1%).

By contrast, in their previous three outings, John van 't Schip's team have largely ceded control of the ball.

Against Melbourne Victory (45.2%), Adelaide United (42.3 %) and Brisbane Roar (38%) they've spent plenty of time out of possession, perhaps not always through choice, but certainly to considerable effect away to the champions last time out, when their swift counter-attacking game cut apart Mike Mulvey's side.

It's likely to be a different story again on Sunday, when, faced with a compact, defensive Mariners outfit, they will become the hunters rather than the hunted.

Do City, without their probing midfield lynchpin Aaron Mooy (absent on Socceroos duty), have what it takes to break down a stubborn opponent camped in their own defensive half?  

ROUTE TO GOAL

They haven't been their usual solid selves at the back in 2014-15, but there are plenty of concerns about the Mariners' forward line too.

Malick Mane and Kim Seung-yong were hauled off at half-time away to Adelaide, while Simon is back on the sidelines for several weeks at least and Richard Vernes has yet to impress.

Mitch Duke, nearing a return to his 2012-13 title-winning best, has been one of the few bright spots. But his tireless running alone won't be enough for Central Coast to score the goals they need to turn their campaign around.  

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

After walking away from Brisbane Roar following a falling out with Mike Mulvey, Liam Miller has signed the shortest of short-term deals with Melbourne City, eligible to play only in the absence of Mooy and Stefan Mauk (Olyroos) under Football Federation Australia's National Team Player Replacement rule.

With Massimo Murdocca injured, the former Manchester United and Celtic man could start at AAMI Park this weekend. Will his City stint last beyond Round 6?

Watch this space.