Admittedly it’s pretty easy to sing the praises of a team with twelve points from the opening four games of a campaign but there is a different feel to this Melbourne City team, let’s take a leaf out of ‘The Castle’ is say “It’s the vibe”.
Last night was spectacular by any measure but it didn’t have to be, Ross McCormack made the most of some ordinary Paul Izzo keeping and a well struck free kick but it was the resolve of this City squad that should be discussed. Safe to say I’ve been critical of Osama Malik (Hands up who hasn’t) in recent times but he could consider himself very unlucky with his sending off last night, collecting two ‘soft’ yellows in the first 60 minutes, leaving his team to play with ten for the final half hour. Normally City would self destruct and somehow find a way to lose the game through an inappropriate game plan but under Warren Joyce we have a sense of calmness, a steely resolve and this squad isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty when called upon.
Whilst the three points were satisfying last night, it was the method in which we not only won the game but kept a clean sheet whilst being challenged by a determined Adelaide team that was the most pleasing thing last night.
Arguably this squad on paper isn’t as strong as previous season so those who wrote City off during the preseason can feel comfortable with their predictions of City not making the top six but they were discounting the appointment of Warren Joyce. Finally we seem to have a head coach who wants to adapt tactics to the league we are playing in, knows the capabilities of his squad and uses this to his advantage and isn’t trying to sing from the City Football Group hymn book in relation to tactics and playing style.
‘Beautiful Football’ has been replaced by ‘Winning Football’ and whilst not as aesthetically pleasing I can assure you emotionally it’s far less stressful and far more satisfying. Over the last two seasons we had one of the best squads in the league but we were too busy acting like the precocious child on the playground walking around like they owned the joint because they recently had come into some money. Pretentiously prancing around the league, ignorantly playing tactics unsuitable for the league cost the club and the fans two great seasons. When you can’t win a title with Aaron Mooy and Bruno Fornaroli dominating the league you have real problems.
Expectations were raised since the City Football Group takeover and rightly so, but know we have the right man at the helm in Warren Joyce.
It was refreshing to hear Joyce refer to Tim Cahill as just a member of the squad. We all know Cahill will step up when required, he pretty much always does. Personally I don’t mind if we only see another ten minute cameo from the Socceroos all time goal scorer on Friday night. Cahill has far bigger fish to fry on Socceroos duty the week after. When Bruce Kamau has a form slump or Ross McCormack has an off week Cahill will be there to step into the fold.
Over the years we have seen variances of Melbourne Heart and City squads including Dad’s army, a squad thrown together with what we could afford at the time and the best talent available one could buy; it’s fair to say we’ve covered all based over the last eight seasons but finally we have a team we can not only identify, but embrace as our team. We’ve lost the pretentiousness of previous seasons, and replaced this with a hard work ethic, an organised defence and most importantly a squad of players who genuinely play for the shirt.
This is the team City fans have been demanding for the last few seasons and now is the time to get behind our Melbourne City. Win, lose or draw you know this team will give the needed effort under the direction of a man who understands the benefits of hard work.
See you Friday night…