Melbourne City FC are set for a do-or-die encounter this Thursday night when it heads to the Wanderers Centre of Football to take on Western Sydney for the first time this season in the Westfield W-League.
With the home and away sides respectively occupying sixth and eighth place on the table, the encounter looms as a must-win for either team as they look to mount a late finals challenge.
It has been a disappointing string of results for Rado Vidosic’s squad who have been unable to pick up any points from their last three fixtures.
It has not been through a lack of trying though, as City have controlled parts of all these matches but just have not been able to capitalise on chances when they presented themselves.
Despite being the better of the two teams in the first half against Sydney FC last time out, City were left to rue missed chances as the visitors scored twice in the second half to take the points.
As we have seen in recent seasons, anything can happen in the W-League so although City have seen some recent struggles, the door isn’t completely closed on the Club’s finals aspirations just yet.
If City are to qualify for finals, the results will have to turn around quickly - and that starts on Saturday.
Western Sydney is one of just three teams that City are yet to face this season, but it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the team in red and black either.
Prior to their 1-0 win over ninth-place Perth Glory last Thursday, the Wanderers had been on a five-game winless-run dating back to their Round 2 triumph over Newcastle.
The matchup between City and Wanderers looms as an incredibly even encounter, with both sides tied for a number of metrics, including goals scored, goals conceded, clean sheets, total shots and conversion rate.
A clean sheet will be vital to City’s chances and the defensive unit will welcome back Samantha Johnson who missed the last fixture due to suspension. Jenna McCormick recovered from injury to make an appearance against Sydney FC last time out, so should be back to 100% to face the Sky Blues’ crosstown rivals on Thursday.
As mentioned above, Johnson is now again available for selection after serving her suspension against Sydney FC while the long lay-off has helped Hollie Palmer, Sarah Cain and Lia Muldeary all return from injury.
1.Teagan MICAH (gk), 3.Teigen ALLEN, 5.Tori TUMETH, 6. Noor ECKHOFF, 8. Hollie PALMER, 9. Alex CHIDIAC, 10.Chinatsu KIRA, 11.Rhali DOBSON, 12.Harriet WITHERS, 13. Sarah CAIN, 14.Margot ROBINNE, 15. Emma CHECKER (c), 17. Samantha JOHNSON, 18.Leah DAVIDSON, 20. Lia MULDEARY, 21. Jenna McCORMICK, 22. Naomi THOMAS-CHINNAMA, 23.Melissa BARBIERI (gk).
In: 8. Hollie PALMER (returns from injury), 13. Sarah CAIN (returns from injury), 17. Samantha JOHNSON (returns from suspension), 20. Lia MULDEARY (returns from injury).
Out: 7.Julia SARDO (not selected), 19.Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC (suspension).
Unavailable: 4.Chelsea BLISSETT (ACL), 16.Sofia SAKALIS (ACL), 19.Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC (suspension).
What was said?
“This is probably the first point in the season that we’ve been able to be together as a fully fit group to get tactically on top of what we are working towards.
I think you will start to see the real Melbourne City coming through. It’s disappointing it couldn’t have happened earlier but we know that anything can happen.”
-W-League Captain Emma Checker
Westfield W-League Round 10
Western Sydney Wanderers vs Melbourne City FC
Wanderers Centre of Football
Thursday 25 February, kick-off 7.05pm