Melbourne City FC was back to its attacking best against Perth Glory on Friday night. Here are the five things we learned from the crushing 5-1 win at AAMI Park.
Magnificent Mooy inspires City once again
Undoubtedly the most influential player in the Hyundai A-League, midfield maestro Aaron Mooy was the star of the show once again with a magnificent performance against the Glory.
In arguably one of the best individual displays of the season, the Socceroos midfielder was a dominant presence in the middle of the park, showcasing his immense quality by creating all three of City’s first half goals.
Demonstrating his deadly threat from the set-piece with the ball to set up Paartalu’s opener, Mooy’s dribbling ability was on show for City’s second goal, dummying past the challenges of Marc Warren and Diego Castro before delivering the cross which Connor Chapman headed home.
But it was the Mooy’s involvement in Bruno Fornaroli’s sixth Hyundai A-League goal which stood out from the rest, setting up the chance with a sweeping 40-yard pass to Corey Gameiro on the edge of the penalty area.
Becoming a father for the first time when his baby daughter, Skylar, was born earlier in the week, Mooy capped off an incredible performance by converting City’s fifth goal from the penalty spot, aptly dedicating his dummy in the mouth and cradle rocking celebration to the newest addition of the Mooy family.
Gameiro injury a big blow for City
A sour note to come out of the emphatic performance against Perth was a season ending injury to forward Corey Gameiro, after scans revealed he ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee for the second time in two years.
The 22-year-old was back to his lively best against the Glory before succumbing to injury, troubling defenders with his pace and providing the assist for Fornaroli’s goal with an inch-perfect cut-back.
While it is a devastating blow for Gameiro - who only recently returned to first team action after recovering from a serious knee injury sustained on Olyroos duty last year – the young forward has time on his side and will undoubtedly be a key figure in the final third for City in years to come.
Despite Gameiro’s absence hampering City’s options in the final third, it opens the door for a number of the Club’s youth contingent to cement their positions in the first-team, with the likes of Wade Dekker, Hernan Espindola and Stefan Zinni vying with David Williams for a starting berth.
Melling adapting to new central defensive role
As the old adage goes, necessity is often the mother of invention; an apt description of a Melbourne City FC defensive unit whose continuity has been stifled by a plethora of key injuries.
But a positive element to the Club’s injury worries is the form of newly transformed defender Jacob Melling.
Thrust into the centre of defence following injuries to Patrick Kisnorbo and Aaron Hughes, the 20-year-old has warmed to his new role with relative ease, forging a solid understanding with partner Connor Chapman and utilizing his strength and positional awareness to record seven interceptions against Perth on Friday.
Melling’s natural ability as a midfielder also provides City with a cool head when playing out from the back, and his solid form will provide John van’t Schip with a welcome selection dilemma when the cavalry returns.
Goal scorers sharing it around in five star performance
Despite an inconsistent start to the Hyundai A-League season, City’s quality in attack was on show for all to see against Perth, reducing a typically resilient Glory defence to its knees with a swashbuckling display of football that yielded five goals.
Connor Chapman’s first Hyundai A-League goal saw the defender become the Club’s eighth individual goal scorer for the season, and was one of five individual scorers against Perth alongside Erik Paartalu, Harry Novillo, Aaron Mooy and top scorer Bruno Fornaroli.
Such is the strength in the final third, City lead the league for goals scored this season with 18 from its opening eight matches; exactly half of the Club’s entire goal tally in the 2014/15 season.
While key players Mooy and Fornaroli continue to dazzle with goals and assists galore, the variety of other players chiming in with goals is a welcome sight for van’t Schip, and a worrying sign for opposition defenders.
Double away trip a chance to build momentum
With confidence flowing after a superb performance against Perth, City now embark on a testing two week period of travel, facing both Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets away from home.
The Club remains unbeaten outside Melbourne in the Hyundai A-League this season, sweeping aside Adelaide United and earning hard fought draws against Sydney FC and the high-flying Brisbane Roar.
Central Coast have usually proven to be tricky customers – the Club has not yet defeated the Mariners in Gosford – but two wins on the road will give City a huge momentum boost heading into the second Melbourne Derby of the season at AAMI Park in Round 11.