You can’t win a title in December, but you can certainly lose one. Melbourne City followed up their post FFA Cup triumph with five lacklustre performances in the final month of 2016 to find themselves thirteen points shy of ladder leaders Sydney FC and potentially nine points short of cross town rivals Melbourne Victory.
The generous nature of the A-League finals system almost ensures City a position in the final six at the end of the season but a league win now becomes an Everest like challenge for John Van’t Schip’s men even at this halfway stage of the season.
Maybe December was the reality check Melbourne City fans needed after collecting their first piece of silverware, when you look at the City defence you find any title challenge a very tough argument. The injury of Michael Jakobsen has shown both the importance of the Danish defender and the fragility of what remains. Cahill and Fornaroli included, Jakobsen if City’s most important player in 2016/17. His calm persona and experience at the back holds the key to any City title challenge.
Speaking of experience at the back, JVS has only himself to blame for the number of costly defensive errors our squad has made this season and only has to skew his neck slightly left to find the possible solution. Instead of throwing his hands aimlessly to the sky every time we concede another soft goal JVS could look towards our NUMBER ONE goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen. After all at 195cm tall, the Danish shot stopper is pretty hard to miss.
Week after week the press conference from Van’t Schip reminds of us how the club didn’t perform at its, and the boys need to work harder. Personally this type of rubbish is wearing as thin as the hairs on my head after watching countless poor performances from City and the frustration only increases seeing Sorensen wasting away on the bench. Dean Bouzanis isn’t a bad keeper, and has made some impressive saves throughout the season but over the last 180 minutes has been beaten at the near post THREE times. If we has Andrew Redmayne or Tando Velaphi on the bench still you could justify maintaining your faith in Bouzanis, but when you have the 2015/16 A-League keeper of the Season sitting next to you on the bench the finger for poor results must be squarely pointed in your direction.
What Sorensen lacks in ball distribution he definitely makes up for in every other facet, especially experience; something considerably lacking this season. Whilst distribution from the back is a key area for City Football Group we must look at the bigger picture. Squad selection cannot be dictated from the other side of the world. I don’t expect Sorensen to walkout and reclaim his spot on Friday night but for every game he takes his place on the bench our chances of winning the A-League Premiers Plate diminish.
As the expectations grow under the control of City Football Group frustrations intensify in the stands when you don’t achieve basic results, especially for five games on the bounce. January is a very important month for the club and playing four of the five bottom clubs four wins from four games should be the expectation for this group of players. The inclusion of Sorensen would only strengthen this argument.