Tim Cahill (Hangzhou Greentown), Nicolas Colazo (Boca Juniors), Fernando Brandan (Atlético Temperley), Michael Jakobsen (Esbjerg), Neil Kilkenny (Preston North End), Luke Brattan (on loan – Manchester City), Antony Caceres (on loan again – Manchester City), Joshua Rose (Central Coast Mariners), Bruce Kamau (Adelaide United), Manny Muscat (Wellington Phoenix), Ruon Tongyik (Adelaide United youth team), Braedyn Crowley (Northcote City), Daniel Arzani (AIS)
Aaron Mooy, Harry Novillo, Patrick Kisnorbo, Aaron Hughes, Alex Wilkinson, Michael Zullo, Ben Garuccio, Jacob Melling, Jack Clisby, Marc Marino, James Brown, James Trifiro, Wade Dekker
Melbourne City’s FFA Cup run has been the highlight of their pre-season, and is undoubtedly a focus for John Van’t Schip’s men. They began with a 2-1 away win to Floreat Athena where Luke Brattan convincingly announced his arrival to the team, with Fitzgerald and Caceres scoring a stunner each to progress. Next was another 2-1 away win, this time to Brisbane Strikers. A shaky defence had City fans panicking, but two Fornaroli penalties were enough on the night where Cahill played his first 30 minutes for the club. City returned to its full class best in its home quarter final 4-1 win against WSW. Jakobsen marked his debut with a spectacular overhead kick for his first goal, while Cahill (penalty) and Brandan also netted their first goals, with Fornaroli scoring the other.
Outside of the FFA Cup, City also played a host of other friendlies, getting match fitness and experience in to youth and new signings. These results included a 4-1 win over Northern Fury, with Kamau, Brattan, Crowley and Ahmed scoring, a 4-1 loss to Wellington, with Cahill scoring their sole goal, and a 4-0 loss to the Jets. All in all, a busy pre-season for City, underlined by a successful cup campaign but overshadowed by a shaky defence, regardless of whether the youth team was played or not.
The question on everyone’s minds is if City can finally deliver their first piece of silverware. Aaron Mooy scored 11 and assisted 20 last season, and he headlines a large list overhaul in what could be JVS’s last season in charge. Tim Cahill’s arrival brought with him a change to the A-League’s marquee rule, and City will be desperate to see his high-profile signing come with increased crowds, and be part of one of the league’s deadliest strike partnership alongside new captain, Bruno Fornaroli. City last season broke all sorts of records on its way to 66 goals in 29 games, with Fornaroli earning the golden boot in the process. But question marks remain over the defensive set-up. Their variation on the 3-5-2 formation delivers on the attacking front, but leaves the back 3 horribly exposed. Rose and Muscat have been brought in to replace Wilkinson and ex-captain Kisnorbo, but time will tell if City have improved tactically and mentally enough to give Sorensen the support he needs.
Wellington (away), Victory (away), Perth (home), Adelaide (home)
Predicted Round 1 Side
Rose, Chapman, Jakobsen,
Brandan, Brattan, Colazo
Expect fluctuation in the back 3 as well as the defensive midfield role. Caceres, Fitzgerald and Kamau will be gunning for any spots in that forward half when the opportunity arrives. Cahill will miss round 1 as well as other potential matches due to Socceroos commitments.
Fornaroli (FWD, 330k) is one of the most expensive players in the game but is going to be worth every dollar this season. He consistently finds ways to turn defenders inside out, and with a season under his belt and a reinvigorated attacking support around him, expect him to be leading the golden boot race once again.
Brattan (MID, 250k) is an outside chance to be one of City’s best players, so watch how he starts as his impact on the team grows in his bid to replace the hole left by Mooy. We have to mention Cahill (FWD, 320k) in this section, but take caution just to begin with as he deal with his international commitment and finds more fitness.
The reality with City’s list is not everyone can be on the park at once, and JVS can be brutal if someone finds themselves out of form. Fitzgerald (FWD, 240k) and Kamau (FWD, 220k) are perhaps too over-priced for players that by no means have their spot in the line-up guaranteed at least for now. A word of caution will again be thrown at Melbourne City defenders, such as Malik (DEF, 200k), Rose (DEF, 180k) and Muscat (DEF, 170k), as we wait to see if the club finds any consistency in their defensive structure.
Franjic (DEF, 200k) and Gameiro (FWD, 210k) look set to miss the majority of the season through injury.
LEAGUE: Don’t forget to join the SuperCoachHQ.com league on aleaguefantasy.foxsports.com.au – the league code is 117-325.