Melbourne City FC return to action on Friday night when they hit the road to take on Central Coast Mariners. Ahead of the clash, we take a look at the five things we're looking forward to.
Keeping the unbeaten streak alive
After a disappointing loss to Wellington before our most recent bye, our form has been strong since. We scored a tough 1-0 win over Brisbane before beating Perth away from home 2-3. Last week we were held to a 1-1 draw against a resilient Wanderers team, but we will be looking to keep that unbeaten streak alive with a win this weekend.
Improving our road form against the Mariners
The Mariners home ground of Central Coast Stadium has not been City’s happiest hunting ground in recent seasons.
Since 2015, we have been able to record just one win from our five trips to the ground to face Central Coast.
Friday night will provide a big opportunity to improve that record and score an important win which will leave us in a good position for the final four games of the season.
An even playing field
With the A-League to now be played behind closed doors for the foreseeable future, the advantage of playing at home will now not be quite as big.
While the Mariners have won just four games this season, their performances at home have been much better than away, and that can be seen with three of their wins coming at Central Coast Stadium.
Finding the back of the net
With 37 goals for the season, City have scored the second most of any team in the A-League.
At the other end of the pitch, Central Coast have been the worst in the league when it comes to defending, having allowed 47 goals.
If City is at the top of its game with attacking options in the front third such as Jamie Maclaren, Craig Noone and Adrian Luna, we can expect an attacking game with lots of goals.
Creating some breathing space
After dropping points last week, we now face the threat of Wellington overtaking us to take second spot on the table.
In order to stay where we are, it is key that we win this weekend and keep doing so for the remainder of the season. While taking over Sydney FC for top now appears to be a bridge too far, it is key that we hold on to second spot to ensure a home semi-final.
With a tough schedule coming up, with two games between Friday and Monday following the rescheduled fixture, it's important to get off to the strongest start possible with three points against the Mariners.