Melbourne City 2014/15 season preview

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It’s a story that wouldn’t look out of place as the plot to a horrible straight-to-DVD Disney film; a team of rag-tag, lovable misfits with a Heart of gold get taken over by a wealthy businessman to become the team everyone fears. For Melbourne City this is real life and they now face the challenge of living up to the hype its newly-found fortune has brought them.

The off-field transformation from Heart to City is now complete with the logo, jersey, colours and brand all changed. It’s now time to see if the on-field alteration will take place as smoothly. Serious improvement will be needed by the players to improve from the disappointing last-place finish of the previous season.

Last Season
A-League: 10th
Finals: DNQ

They’ll win the league because…
$$$$$. The change of ownership has pushed the once-humble club to levels of financial clout no other team in the league can compete with. With the salary cap being the great leveller it’s intended to be they can’t just simply buy the league but they do have the ability to bring in world class players other clubs can only dream of. David Villa not only brings in added exposure and presence, he is still one of the world’s leading marksmen and will have defences on edge during his brief spell.
Even taking Villa aside, City have brought in some considerable talent making them one of the strongest sides in the league. Damien Duff has a Premier League winners’ medal next to his name and will remain a danger in attack as he ever was. Robert Koren is an experienced campaigner with an impressive CV, Erik Paartalu knows what it takes to win an A-League title, Aaron Mooy was a regular in the Wanderers side that has dominated the league for the better part of two seasons and there is no denying the talent that James Brown possess.

The question will be if they put it all together in a short period of time and also how they will cope once Villa leaves our shores to take up his new life in the MLS with New York City.

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They’ll be cellar dwellers because…
That’s what they’re used to. Despite the club revolution and upheaval of playing roster, this is still the club that finished bottom last year, recording a league-record consecutive losses in the process. A large chunk of that side still remain in place with the back line almost totally unchanged.

There is no doubt they have the power up front to win plenty of games, whether they have the defence to complement the stars up front is a different story. It’s not totally unfeasible to think City could win games with a 5-4 score line.

While Robbie Wielaert and newly-appointed skipper Patrick Kisnorbo is a partnership full of experience they are prone to a calamitous mistake or two as proven last year, and Jason Hoffman’s position in the side has come into question on more than one occasion.

The goalkeeping combination of Andrew Redmayne and Tando Velaphi hardly fills you with confidence either. Who gets the number one spot isn’t as much of a question of who is better but more so who is less shit.

And let’s not even get into David Villa arriving in town all of five days before the season kicks off.

Talk around the water cooler…
look smart in front of your colleagues with this valuable piece of information.
If City are to do the unthinkable and claim the title this season, they will be first professional, top-flight side in any Australian Football Code to go from wooden-spooners to championship winners all in the space of one season.

What the off-season brought…
More like what didn’t the off-season bring. Just in one off-season they change the name, logo, colours and jersey, bring in world class players and joined the family of one of the biggest names in world football in Manchester City.

Now a part of the City Football Group, and with the luxuries and riches that brings, City are not just in the zeitgeist of the Australian sporting landscape but also the footballing world. Not bad for a club that struggled to get people through the turnstiles not so long ago.

Key Player
Robert Koren – he may not have the name or profile of that of Villa or Duff, but Koren is certainly of the same quality as his new teammates.

61 caps for Slovenia in nine years which included a run in the 2010 World Cup and seven years playing in England’s top-two tiers, Koren comes to Melbourne as the club’s marquee man and will have a big part to play in City’s push for the title this year.

The general consensus from fans when Koren was announced as marquee was under-whelming to put it politely but a man who captained a Premier League side as recently as last year is a signing to get excited about.

One to watch

Stefan Mauk. A talented attacking midfielder who got his chance in the first-team last year when John Van’t Schip returned as manger mid-season in 2014. The AIS graduate showed glimpses of his talent when given the opportunity last year and will only continue to thrive with JVS at the helm and the array of talent around him in the midfield.

Full Squad List
1. Andrew REDMAYNE(GK), 3. Robbie WIELAERT, 4. Connor CHAPMAN, 5. Erik PAARTALU, 6. Aaron MOOY, 7. Iain RAMSEY, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 9. David VILLA, 11. Damien DUFF. 13. Jonatan GERMANO, 14. James BROWN, 15. David WILLIAMS, 17. Jason HOFFMAN, 18. Paulo RETRE, 19. Ben GARRUCIO, 20. Tando VELAPHI(GK), 21. Stefan MAUK, 22. Nick KALMAR, 23. Mate DUGANDZIC, 24. Patrick KISNORBO(C). 25. Jacob MELLING, 26. Marc MARINO

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