With Melbourne City FC set to kick off their 2015/16 Hyundai A-League season against Sydney FC, here are ten things to look forward to ahead of the new campaign.
All 14 home matches at AAMI Park.
Season 11 of the Hyundai A-League will see Melbourne City FC will play all 14 home matches at AAMI Park.
Those home fixtures include two matches against last season’s Grand Finalists and rivals Sydney FC, two against Western Sydney Wanderers and two Monday night clashes against elimination final rival Wellington Phoenix.
Finishing with a nine game unbeaten run at home in the final half of the season, City will hope that AAMI Park continues to be a formidable venue for its opponents to visit.
Double home derby delight.
Looking to avenge the 3-0 loss to Melbourne Victory in last year’s semi-final, Melbourne City FC will host two Melbourne derbies at AAMI Park this season.
The Club will clash with its arch rivals on December 19 and February 13, and will look to continue their fine form against the Victory at AAMI Park, with Erik Paartalu firing City to a 1-0 victory at the only derby played at the venue last season.
The Melbourne Derby is fast becoming one of the hottest tickets on the Australian sporting calendar and the rivalry is only destined to get bigger in Season 11.
Melbourne City FC has already been active in the transfer market this pre-season and the quality of new signings made by John van’t Schip is sure to excite members and fans as the Club looks to strengthen ahead of the new season.
City have attracted Socceroos international Ivan Franjic, with the 27-year old raring to go following a spell with Torpedo Moscow and adds experience to City’s defensive stocks.
The additions of young attackers Corey Gameiro and Steve Kuzmanovski, along with the emergence of players from the youth ranks, further highlights the Club’s intention to build for the future, as City look to improve upon reaching last season’s Semi-Finals.
Following the departure of a host of first-team regulars, expect there to be further movement on the transfer front before the window closes in October.
A touch of deja vu.
In a repeat of last season’s opening fixture, Melbourne City FC will look to kick-start their A-League campaign with a blockbuster clash against Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium.
A debut goal for marquee signing David Villa secured a 1-1 draw against the Sky Blues, who ironically took the lead through new Melbourne City FC striker Corey Gameiro.
With a great sense of optimism and anticipation building for the upcoming season, an opening day win against Sydney will provide a great platform for the Club to make a successful start to the campaign.
Central Coast clash in first home match.
After opening the season with two away games against Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory, Melbourne City FC returns to AAMI Park for their first home match of the season against the Central Coast Mariners on Sunday 25th October.
The Mariners have proven to be a tricky opponent for Melbourne City FC in recent times, defeating John van’t Schip’s men on two occasions last season in addition to securing a late 2-2 draw at AAMI Park in November.
Playing in front of its fans for the first time in the new season, City will look to break their Mariners hoodoo with an important home win.
Trans-Tasman battle set to ignite.
It is the continuation of a fledgling A-League rivalry when Melbourne City FC take on elimination final adversaries Wellington Phoenix twice at AAMI Park this season.
Both sides displayed a see-sawing head to head record last season, with the Phoenix recording a crushing 5-1 win in Wellington, before playing out two entertaining 0-0 draws littered with a gluttony of goalscoring opportunities.
But with a spot in the semi-final on the line, it was City who eventually came up with the goods, after goals to Harry Novillo and Josh Kennedy secured a superb 2-0 elimination final victory.
The Club will play their two Monday night home fixtures against the Phoenix on Easter Monday and Australia Day eve, adding a festive twist to a burgeoning Trans-Tasman rivalry.
The return of a former son.
In what promises to be one of the most anticipated clashes of the season, Round 24 sees John Aloisi return to AAMI Park.
Following a short stint as a member of Melbourne Victory’s coaching staff, the newly-appointed Brisbane Roar manager says he is relishing the opportunity to rejuvenate a Roar outfit in the midst of transition.
Coming up against John van’t Schip for the first time in Melbourne on March 18th, Aloisi’s previous history with the Club will provide an interesting subplot for what looms as an intriguing contest.
The run home to the finals.
In the hotly contested race for a spot in the A-League top six, Melbourne City FC fans could hold the key to the Club securing a finals berth for a second consecutive season.
John van’t Schip’s side have four of the last six matches on home soil, including a key clash against Adelaide United in the final round of the season.
With matches against Sydney FC, Brisbane Roar and Wellington Phoenix also in this period, City’s finals ambitions could ultimately be decided within the confines of AAMI Park.
First, FFA Cup opponents loom.
After Adelaide club Croydon Kings became the 22nd and final member federation club to qualify for the Round of 32, the field is set for the 2015 edition of the Westfield FFA Cup.
Following a 1-0 defeat to a Corey Gameiro inspired Sydney FC in last year’s Round of 32 stage, Melbourne City FC will be hoping to make a bigger impact and progress deeper into this year’s tournament.
We will face Northern New South Wales NPL side Edgeworth Eagles FC in the Round of 32 match with details yet to be confirmed.
FNYL provides a glimpse into the future.
Following a championship winning season in the National Youth League, the next generation of talent emerging through the Club’s youth system is enough to excite any Melbourne City FC fan.
Senior call-ups to young stars Nick Symeoy and Stefan Zinni last season is a testament to the club’s emphasis on youth development - led by youth team coaches Joe Palatsides and Joe Montemurro - while the likes of Wade Dekker, Luka Prelevic and Phil Petreski will be hoping to make the transition to the first team squad this season.