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Melbourne City FC
Melbourne City FC
Melbourne City were far too classy away from home against the Newcastle Jets and were deserved winners.
At times it was like a training drill for City, especially up forward where Newcastle’s back four seemed slow, out of position and woefully out of touch.
Four classy goals were the difference tonight as Adrian Luna, Javier Cabrera and Jamie Maclaren all scored.
Coach Erick Mombaerts will be especially pleased with the form of Luna and Cabrera who were exceptional all night, linking expertly with Maclaren to terrorise the Jets down the right-hand side of their attack.
Despite the Jets having slightly more of the ball (53%), City had 21 shots to Newcastle’s 13 with eight on target to the Jets’ six.
While that might suggest a closer result, the Jets shots were low impact, low percentage or low output.
Tom Glover on debut made a couple of sharp saves but was never really tested.
The Jets never really found a route to goal that they could rely on to threaten City. They often looked for a long ball into space, but they lacked the skill and touch of a Luna or Cabrera to turn those balls out wide into telling crosses.
This game very much was a tale of two squads. Where City’s fourth or fifth best-paid players Luna and Cabrera dominated and looked top shelf, Newcastle had players like Angus Thurgate and Nick Fitzgerald in similar positions who were pedestrian and offered no final ball.
Too much for Newcastle is asked of Dimi Petratos, and too much expected of Jason Hoffman who is hard-working and conscientious, but a trier at best.
Newcastle Jets 0
Melbourne City 4
Melbourne City FC are wobbling near the top of the A-League ladder and need a result away against the Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match from 6:30pm (AEDT).
Melbourne City have lost twice in three games to fall behind runaway league leaders Sydney FC. Last week’s 3-0 defeat at home to Perth punctured both their points tally and their pride, giving up a goal to Bruno Fornaroli on his return to AAMI Park. Socceroo striker Jamie Maclaren also came up short for the first time this season, bringing to an end his run of nine goals from consecutive games in the league.
A loss to Perth is no great A-League shame, although the nature of the defeat will concern manager Erick Mombaerts. On paper, the stats were very Mombaerts-friendly; keeping the ball (62 per cent) and creating opportunities (13 shots to 10) both inside and outside the box. However, getting only two on target while allowing Perth to convert all three of their shots on target (albeit one was an own goal) isn’t a recipe for success.
As the season progresses, there are also more and more questions being asked of City’s imports – namely Craig Noone. One goal and one assist from eight games is a mediocre return for a key player on good money. For context, it’s the same output that youngster Connor Metcalfe has provided so far, from a player with 364 fewer league games of experience. While City will be rapt with Metcalfe’s output this season, they need more from Noone.
Newcastle’s season has been a battle so far, and they find themselves in ninth place with only two wins. Those have come in the last three matches, with their last fixture a loss away to Adelaide courtesy of a late James Troisi winner.
The Jets seem to have turned a corner after a poor start to the season, and it has come largely from the core of the side that was in place last season. Despite the loss to Adelaide, Newcastle were the better side for long periods and will be disappointed to have taken no points back to the Hunter. They had more ball, a massive number of shots (31 to 13, including six on target), but just couldn’t find the back of the net more than once.
Ernie Merrick’s men have regressed since their 17-18 grand final berth, and it’s their inability to find high performing marquee players which is stunting their finals ambitions. Wes Hoolahan did his knee before the season started, Panamanian striker Abdiel Arroyo isn’t pulling up trees (one goal in five appearances) and last season’s import Jair was an unmitigated failure.
The Jets are a good team with enough talent to compete but seriously lack a flourish that import players are meant to provide. Against an even better Melbourne City they need a lot to go their way tonight at home – including Noone to continue his poor run of form.
Melbourne City should win, but their defence is porous (they’ve conceded the second-most goals in the league so far) and Newcastle will get chances in this game. However, the Jets are second-bottom for goals scored this season, so expect a lot of shots but (probably) not a lot of goals.
Newcastle Jets 1-2 Melbourne City
Join The Roar for live scores of this A-League clash between Melbourne City and the Newcastle Jets from 6:30pm (AEDT).
Kick-off: 6:30pm (AEDT)
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel, My Football Live app
Odds: Melbourne City $2.40, Newcastle $2.70, draw $3.75