Melbourne City FC put an end to its Gosford curse in style with an emphatic 5-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners on Thursday night. Here are the five things we learned from the Round 9 clash.
Goals, goals and more goals!
With two consecutive 5-1 victories, nine individual goal-scorers and one of the most dangerous forwards in the Hyundai A-League, you would be hard pressed to find a more entertaining team to watch than Melbourne City FC.
Playing a free-flowing and attacking brand of football, John van’t Schip’s side leads the league in goals scored with 23 from its opening nine matches, becoming the fastest team in Hyundai A-League history to reach that tally.
The crushing 5-1 win over Central Coast also saw City become the first Club to score five goals in back-to-back Hyundai A-League fixtures, following on from an emphatic win over Perth Glory in Round 8.
Golden Boot leader Bruno Fornaroli extended his season tally to seven with an exquisitely worked team goal against the Mariners, while Harry Novillo and Aaron Mooy also feature heavily in the scoring charts with four goals apiece.
But consistency is the ultimate key to success, and after recording two wins on the bounce for the first time this season, the City ball is rolling in the right direction.
Mooy not just a one man band
During a season where he has established himself as the premier midfielder in the Hyundai A-League, Aaron Mooy’s showing against Central Coast was a lot quieter than we have come to expect.
In an attempt to stifle the Socceroos midfielder’s influence on the contest, the Mariners employed young-centre back Harry Ascroft as Mooy’s shadow for the evening, man-marking him all over the pitch.
While not at his usual imperious best, Mooy still managed to lead the team in touches (93) and passes (57), but it was his team-mates Novillo, Fornaroli, Stefan Mauk and Erik Paartalu who benefited from the extra space provided during a rampant first-half display.
It was City’s second goal which was demonstrated this to considerable effect. Receiving possession deep inside his own half, Mooy effectively dragged central defender Ascroft out of position, freeing the space for Erik Paartalu to push into the box as the teams most advanced midfielder.
With a disjointed back four out of position, the Mariners were unable to deal with the threat posed by Paartalu, who contributed in devastating fashion with a superb assist for Fornaroli’s goal.
Mooy’s influence on the contest eventually grew as the game wore on – setting up Mauk for City’s fourth and netting a sensational strike in injury time – but van’t Schip will be delighted to see a more collective contribution from his attacking players.
Novillo back to his best
One man who profited greatly from the extra space afforded by the man-marking of Mooy was electric winger Harry Novillo.
The Frenchman was City’s chief creative force in the final-third, terrorising Mariners right-back Storm Roux with incisive runs from the left wing, and creating numerous goal-scoring opportunities with four key passes and nine shots on goal.
Novillo’s form has been getting better with each week after his return from a hamstring injury - with a double against the Mariners taking him to four goals in his last three matches – and his partnership with striker Bruno Fornaroli is proving to be a devastating combination in attack.
City searching for that elusive clean sheet
While the team is firing on all cylinders in attack, van’t Schip’s side are yet to keep a clean sheet in the Hyundai A-League this season, with the Club’s only shutout coming in the 5-0 Westfield FFA Cup win over Heidelberg United.
But there has been a noticeable improvement at the back since City’s 3-0 home loss to Western Sydney at AAMI Park, conceding only one goal in each of the last three matches against Brisbane, Perth and the Mariners.
Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen has been a solid foundation between the posts and will be aggrieved to have conceded a late penalty in Gosford, but improving the team’s defensive record is paramount to achieving consistency in the coming weeks.
All we want for Christmas is more goals!
While City’s is breaking goal scoring records in the Hyundai A-League, the Club’s W-League and National Youth League sides have been following suit, with all three teams leading their respective competitions for goals scored this season.
City’s inaugural W-League team, led by Head Coach Joe Montemurro – has taken the competition by storm in its first season, smashing four goals past Melbourne Victory on Sunday to record its seventh consecutive win.
Matilda’s striker Larissa Crummer has been at the forefront of City’s ruthless attack, leading the race for the Golden Boot with 10 goals in the opening seven matches of the season.
Meanwhile a familiar face continues to pile on the goals in the National Youth League, with youth team graduate Wade Dekker netting a stellar hat-trick in the Club’s 4-3 win over Brisbane Roar on Saturday.
All three teams’ secured maximum points in their respective matches, scoring a whopping 13 goals combined in the process, as City continue to dazzle fans and members alike in all competitions.