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Melbourne City FC
Melbourne City FC
|J. E. B. D. Silva||22'|
It’s midtable fare in Round 18 of the A-League, when the Newcastle Jets take on Melbourne City at McDonald Jones Stadium at 7:50pm (AEST). Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match.
Despite being only two spots apart on the ladder – City are in fifth with Newcastle in seventh – the chasm in points, and squads, is grand. Newcastle sits eight points behind the Phoenix, and looks unlikely to claw back the gap in this one given the squads named.
Newcastle has invested all their energies into the Asian Champions League and, with their A-League finals chances all but over, the Jets will name an under 23s side for this game.
A 3-1 win over Persija (of Jakarta) during the week is followed by a perilous away tie against the Antlers of Kashima next Tuesday.
Understandably, the Jets will be leaving their missiles in the hangar tonight when Melbourne City visits.
City might have assured a finals berth, but their recent form is disastrous with only one win in six.
Last week’s home draw against Adelaide ended strongly, with new man Jamie Maclaren getting his first goal in his first start for his new side to level the scores.
And while Maclaren’s arrival should add some attacking bite, City seems to be a side in constant transition.
Since Warren Joyce has taken over as manager, players have been constantly coming and going from the side, or sitting on the bench (or in the stands) waiting to depart.
With the season more than half over questions remain as to whether Joyce knows his best side – or whether Joyce’s squad tinkering is over.
Doubts remain over Luke Brattan’s long term position with the side (with some of the Asian transfer windows still open) and if he departs this season, one wonders who will be pulling the strings in midfield for City.
Still this game represents a fantastic opportunity for City’s ‘regulars’ to play themselves into form. With Newcastle promising a reserves team for this game, it should be a stroll for City and might even be a turning point in their season.
On paper and form it does look like City will be making up the numbers in the finals. But a confidence boosting win in Newcastle could be a platform to build from.
Alternatively a loss would be cataclysmic. If they cannot take the points tonight, the spotlight on Joyce’s reign should be blinding.
We can’t be sure of the depth of quality in the Newcastle squad, but it will unlikely compare to a City side with Jamie Maclaren, Riley McGree, Luke Brattan and new Tottenham Hotspurs loanee Shayon Harrison.
It would take a very brave pundit indeed to tip against City… but we thought the same thing about Brisbane last Friday night, and they made fools of us all.
Newcastle Jets 0 – Melbourne City 3