New Melbourne City blues

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I’m not sure we’ll ever see anything like it again. Foundation, 18 wins in a row, a premiership and a championship and the complete domination of the W-League.

That’s all starting to feel historical for Melbourne City though as they’re now without a win in five games after losses to Canberra, Western Sydney and Perth and draws with Adelaide United and Sydney FC.

So what’s gone wrong in Bundoora? I have some theories.

Internationals

Jess Fishlock is a fabulous player, there’s no arguing that. Beyond City’s talismanic player/coach however, their internationals have failed to live up to expectations. FC Kansas winger Erika Tymrak is yet to deliver the output expected of a capped United States National Team player and her ability to deal with the physical nature of W-League defences is still under question. Seattle forward Beverly Yanez scored on her debut against Canberra but has barely been sighted since. At the same time NWSL club teammate Lauren Barnes, a W-League Champion at Melbourne Victory, has yet to find her rhythm and picked up a sloppy red card in the loss to Perth.

Locals

Much like with Fishlock, Lydia Williams is the exception that proves the rule with City’s local talent as many are yet to find their best form. The likes of Teigen Allen, Aivi Luik and Rebekah Stott have all failed to hit the lofty heights we have come to expect over their many seasons in the W-League.

 

Tactics

It’s always good to keep things fresh and City have had to deal with a very different squad to last season, but some of their tactical decisions do raise an eyebrow. Most notably the decision to play Yanez so deep despite her goal scoring record at club level. Similarly, with the score at 1-1 against Canberra and Jess Fishlock running the show from the centre of the park, the Welsh international inexplicably spent the last half hour on the wing as Canberra ran over the top of City’s midfield and ended their incredible streak.

Depth

It’s just not there. While title rivals Sydney and Canberra have been able to rely on the likes of Princess Ibini, Jasmyn Spencer and Lisa De Vanna off the bench in recent weeks, the inexperienced likes of Melina Ayres and Tyla-Jay Vlajnic have been unable to impact games when brought on. City will be hoping the return of Larissa Crummer from injury will bolster their bench.

With finals looming and the likes of Sydney, Perth and Canberra showing their strengths, City will be hoping to find a solution to this winless run sooner rather than later.

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