Top of the table City still searching for balance

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Despite sitting at the top of the W-League ladder at the halfway point of the season, Melbourne City is yet to find a healthy balance between attack and defence, with all five of their victories coming by slender one-goal margins.  

Defensively, City have conceded only three goals, which is tied with Sydney and Western Sydney for the fewest in the league, but both of those teams have played fewer games.

However, in attack they are yet to fire.

Star recruit Claire Emslie is yet to find the back of the net, while fellow forward Kyah Simon has been on a minutes restriction and only managed one goal.

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On Thursday night, the team dominated possession (70.3%) against Perth Glory, earning 9 corners and creating 19 shots on goal, but they could only yield a one-goal return – off the boot of Rebekah Stott, who tapped the ball over the goal line off of a set play.

City head coach Rado Vidosic is aware that the team is yet to reach its full potential in attack thus far.

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“We just need a little more composure in that front third,” he said.

“We created a number of chances, just couldn’t score a goal.”

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These offensive struggles have placed pressure on the defence to hold firm late in games, a feat which they have achieved week after week.

Vidosic believes this is a result of the team’s structure and commitment to detail.

“We are defending very high up the pitch so our strikers are the first defensive line and then it’s much easier for defenders to sweep behind them and then if it goes past everyone the goalkeeper stays behind,” he said.

“I’m very proud of how they behave and how they apply themselves, but now we just need to be a little more composed.”

If City can address their struggles in attack, they could become an unstoppable force in the second half of the season.

In the past two weeks it has been left to defenders Yukari Kinga and Stott to score the game winning goals in City’s back-to-back 1-0 victories.

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However Vidosic remains confident that the forwards will be able to find the goals if the team continues to create enough chances.

“It’s important that we do create chances and get people in the right area,” he said.

“It doesn’t really matter who scores the goal [or] who sets it up.

“Sooner or later it’s going to be open season for us, we’re going to score three or four goals because we do create enough chances.

“We need to be patient, we need to work hard on it, once it comes then probably the confidence will grow for individuals and it’s going to be a little bit easier to finish it.”

City will hope their forwards can fire when they head to Brisbane in round eight after next week’s bye.

Feature Image Credit: Melbourne City

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Michael Patane
Student at Monash University and lover of all things football covering Melbourne City in 2019/20.