We give you the five things we’re looking forward to in this weekend’s Melbourne Derby as we prepare for one of the biggest fixtures in Australian football.
It’s back! City v Victory. Mate against mate. Family against family. It’s on!
There’s always something different about derby days in Melbourne. Whether it be the atmosphere on match day or the banter in the workplace before and after the contest, derby day in this city brings out the best in football in this country.
Win, lose or draw, it’s always going to be an emotional rollercoaster but this year’s edition of the derby has us feeling an air of confidence we may have not felt before.
Part of that excitement is the debut of Tim Cahill. Since his signing in August, anticipation has been building towards his first A-League match and the day has finally come for Timmy to put on the City shirt.
Head Coach John van’t Schip confirmed on Thursday that Cahill will be playing a role in the match after returning from Socceroos camp on Wednesday and the striker will look to slot into a similar position he played against the Wanderers in the Westfield FFA Cup.
What the Socceroos star will bring to the match, who knows, but it’s a big occasion and we don’t know a better man in Australian football to rise to it.
The other story to come out of this week’s preparations for the Derby is the starting debut of Dean Bouzanis. The send-off of Thomas Sorensen in last week’s win against Wellington has meant The Great Dane will be forced to miss this week due to suspension.
The ‘keeper who signed from Western Sydney in January last year has made two appearances for the Club and will make his full debut in the Derby.
Bouzanis has played on big occasions before, both here and in Europe and the goalkeeper will have the chance to make a name at the Derby on Saturday.
The battle of the forwards
As a neutral, the 20th edition of the Melbourne Derby will be a mouth-watering clash of two sides who boast arguably the best attacks in the league.
From Cahill to Fornaroli, Kamau to Fernando, Colazo to Fitzgerald, the City arsenal in front of goal is one of the most feared in the league.
On the other hand, there is no doubt that this week’s opposition have a handy forward line as well, being on the end of some of their tidy work as well. Berisha, Rojas, Khalfalla and Austin will lead the Victory line on Saturday and our defence will need to be on its game to stop them.
It will well and truly be a battle on Saturday night and we can’t wait for the challenge.
The acid test
John van’t Schip told the media on Thursday that this week’s Melbourne Derby will be “a great game to see how far we have come.”
Our off-season has been the best yet with the boys fit, firing and coming off a win in Round 1. There will be no doubt that Victory will be near the summit again this season and this week’s test could be a good omen for the rest of the year.
With two home matches at AAMI Park up next, not only will our voice as noisy neighbours grow with a win, but a two from two start to the season - something we have not achieved as a Club before – will see us with our tails up and full of confidence.