The recent arrival of Spanish International David Villa has been a breath of fresh air for Melbourne City FC and its fans.
Despite a lack of quality performances and fan attendance in past years, the financial takeover and rebranding of the clubs name from Melbourne Heart to Melbourne City has restored confidence in the club.
The Good News
The influx of memberships has almost hit the 10,000 mark as Melbourne City’s first home game saw a solid crowd of just over 15,000 walk through the gates against Newcastle Jets last Sunday.
“I thought it was fantastic to see so many people coming up for our first home game and cheering us on till the end”- said Melbourne FC manager John van ’t Schip.
Villa is fit and firing having scored quality goals in the first two games of the season. The inform Spaniard is a class above the rest of the pack and will be hoping to continue the run of form throughout his loan period with City.
The Bad News
The news fans didn’t want to hear is that Villa might not play out his full 10 game loan. Villa will be travelling back to New York City in November for marketing purposes in preparation for the clubs debut MLS campaign.
“The precise number of Hyundai A-League games that David will play will be determined by the best interests of the player and his now New York based family and the prioritisation of the requirements of both New York City FC and Melbourne FC” – Club Spokesperson
Despite the equivocal nature of City’s statement, the sour truth of an early departure seems imminent; their Friday night clash against Adelaide United looks to be his last in Melbourne.
With the spotlight has been firmly fixated on Villa, many have forgotten the addition Damien Duff, Robbie Koren, Aaron Mooy and Erik Partaluu to City’s squad.
Damien Duff has been a standout player for Melbourne City in its first two games. The Irishmen is a wizard with the ball at his feet providing himself as one of the key link up players. His experience as a professional footballer in England’s top tier will no doubt be beneficial for some of the young guns for City.
Due to the recent signings of so many key internationals, the pressure will be on Melbourne City to perform. Could this be a case of teams being inspired to take it to City because they are up against David Villa? Despite Newcastle’s lapse in defense, they contained Villa quiet well for most of the game. We all saw what happened on the weekend when defender Scotty Neville sent a cheeky nutmeg through the legs of David Villa.
Melbourne City has the right players, now it is up to them to perform to the capability they believe themselves to be at. They dominated the possession for almost a full half of football against the Jets without any reward. City will have to take every chance they can get in the derby this weekend, against bitter rivals Melbourne Victory who are in scintillating form.
“The pressure is all on Melbourne City, the expectation for them to play in a certain way is going to go along with them” – Phil Stubbins (Newcastle Jets Manager)
THE TURF is expecting a sellout crowd for the Victory v City derby at Etihad Stadium this weekend which will see Villa and Berisha facing off for the first time.
Words by Ari Charilaou.