It’s Melbourne Derby weekend again, with City set to take on Victory in the 23rd edition of the local rivalry at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
It’s a fixture which needs no introduction, yet neither side is exactly bouncing into the final Melbourne Derby of the regular season in earth shattering form.
City will arrive at Etihad Stadium looking to bounce back from a frustrating away defeat to Newcastle last week, with a win against its local rivals imperative to keeping its hopes of securing a top-two finish alive.
The cauldron of the Melbourne Derby may just be the perfect tonic for Michael Valkanis’ side to click in to gear, especially with the opportunity to halve the gap to second placed Victory to just three points.
There’s no question about it, this clash is a genuine six pointer.
Every fan of a City persuasion will look fondly upon the Club’s last visit to Etihad Stadium. Tim Cahill’s wonder strike on A-League debut was the catalyst for a memorable 4-1 win over Victory in Round 2, while a 2-0 win in the Westfield FFA Cup Semi Final only 10 days later laid the foundation for the Club’s first Men’s senior trophy.
With only 10 league matches remaining and the lure of Asian Champions League football to play for, there’s more than just local pride at stake for City on Saturday night.
Battle for the Golden Boot
Saturday night will pit two of the competition’s most dangerous marksmen against each other, with Bruno Fornaroli and Besart Berisha firmly engaged in a battle to claim the Golden Boot.
Berisha, who stands alone as the competition’s all-time leading goalscorer, currently tops the standings with 13 goals after 17 rounds.
Hot on his heels is City captain Fornaroli, with the Uruguayan hitting the back of the net 12 times in his bid to claim back-to-back Golden Boot Awards after a stellar debut season in Australia last year.
You can’t leave Tim Cahill out of a goal-scoring discussion either, with the Socceroos striker finding the back of the net twice in his three Melbourne Derby appearances this season.
From the Dressing Room
“Teams have looked at [the 4-1 win over Victory]. They came out and tried to press us and we played through that. Now teams park the bus every week so it’s completely different. “It’s definitely harder than it was at the start of the season, but I can’t see why we can’t get back to that level this weekend.”- City midfielder Luke Brattan.
“City are going to be up for it too, so it's not going to be an easy battle. It's going to be a great game, they always are. The Derbies are the most exciting games of the season for me. It's where the best football is played, it's where the best atmospheres are." – Victory midfielder James Troisi.
- Melbourne City have conceded just 22% of their goals from set pieces this season, the lowest percentage of any team in the competition and nine percentage points fewer than Victory.
- The competition's two leading goal scorers, Besart Berisha (13) and Bruno Fornaroli (12) will face off in a shoot-out as the race for the A-League Golden Boot heats up.
- Socceroos striker Tim Cahill has found the back of the net twice in three matches against Victory this season, including a stunning goal on A-League debut in a 4-1 win at Etihad Stadium in Round 2.
Hyundai A-League – Round 18
Saturday, 4 February 2017
Melbourne Victory vs Melbourne City FC
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Kick-off: 7:50pm (AEDT)
TV Broadcast: Fox Sports 505
Radio Broadcast: ABC Radio Melbourne, ABC Radio Vic, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-League Live, 1116 SEN (Melbourne)
Official Hashtag: #MelbDerby #ThisIsOurCity
Melbourne City FC: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 6.Osama MALIK, 8.Neil KILKENNY, 9.Nicolas COLAZO, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 12.Nick FITZGERALD, 14.Daniel ARZANI, 17.Tim CAHILL, 18.Paulo RETRE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 21.Ruon TONGYIK, 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI (c), 26.Luke BRATTAN, 27.Fernando BRANDAN **two to be omitted**
Ins: 2.Manny MUSCAT (promoted), 14.Daniel ARZANI (promoted) 18.Paulo RETRE (promoted)
Outs: 3.Josh ROSE (omitted) Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (ACL – season), 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI (ACL – season)