A-League mid-season report card: Melbourne City

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As we reach the halfway point of the 2020/21 A-League season, it’s time to look at the season so far for Melbourne City.

Semester Summary

After a rough start to the season, City have elevated their game to among the best in the league.

Losing four of their first six games had many fans questioning if this job was too big for first-time head coach Patrick Kisnorbo.

But with the inclusion of some critical signings and an improved defensive structure, Kisnorbo and his side then went on a six-game run, the longest in the club’s history.

With a thrilling 6-0 win over cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory, City fans have started to believe this is the year they’ll finally win some A-League silverware.

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Areas of excellence

The biggest and brightest bright spot for City is their attacking strikeforce of Craig Noone, Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout.

With all three having faced criticism at some point in their A-league careers, they have risen to a level most teams would envy. The speed at which they attack and rapid style has many clubs scratching their heads on how to stop them.

City have looked immense when Nabbout is on the field. Under the guidance of coach Kisnorbo, Andrew Nabbout has also found skill in setting up his teammates, having four assists in his nine appearances.

Not to be outdone by Craig Noone, who has five assists along with his five goals,
City’s leading man Jamie Maclaren cannot be overlooked and is leading the golden boot race with 13 goals in 14 games.

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Areas of improvement

There isn’t much to complain about for a side that’s sitting pretty at second on the table with two games in hand with the teams above them. However, there is always room for improvement.

City’s inability to string together a complete 90 minutes may become cause for concern as the season progresses, mainly if the goals dry up.

In their early-season match against Sydney FC they almost managed to let a three-goal lead slip, conceding two goals in the final 18 minutes. Against an in-form team that’s lethal upfront, this could become a problem for Kisnorbo’s men.

 

Top student

City’s surge up the table coincides with the inclusion of one man who has been electrifying since coming back from injury; Andrew Nabbout.

Having four assists in the nine games, Nabbout sits only two assists away from his Melbourne Victory tally, which he played 71 games.

His speed and strength allow him to get past players with ease, and his improved passing has provided City with the quick link-up play they missed in the early part of the season.

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Class clown

With all players playing at a quality level so far, it’s hard to pick a class clown. However, the only people who may be feeling a little silly are the City fans who called for #KisnorboOut so early into the season.

After a hectic and rough opening few rounds, the ease at which some City fans wanted him axed was quite scary.

The team’s resurgence is one of the primary reason’s fans should never overreact when their team starts poorly. A simple change or the inclusion of one player could be the solution but, of course, hindsight is 20/20.

 

Grade

B+

 

Outlook

Melbourne City are a team full of confidence and playing some exceptional football. If they can maintain a steady pace and be free from injury it will be hard to stop them from finishing first on the table and potentially winning the premier’s plate.

The real test for them will be if they lose a few games and whether they can again bounce back. As a side who has never won the elusive premiers plate, this season may be the one for them.

Finally, putting together a solid side going forward and a defence that has been steadily improving as the season goes on, it looks relatively rosy for City and their fans as we head into the second half of the A-League season.

Feature Image Credit: Melbourne City

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Pokuah Frimpong
Obsessed football fan, current journalism student.

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