Wellington Phoenix is the sole team in this Hyundai A-League still to draw or win a match – remaining without any points at the bottom of the table. The team coached by Ufuk Talay scored just two goals in the league this season, both coming from the Mexican midfielder Ulises Dávila. Phoenix hope to get a positive result against Melbourne City in AAMI Park after being defeated by Western United, Sydney FC and Perth Glory in first three games of this A-League season.
The Nix fans expect the English marquee striker Gary Hooper makes his debut starting the match after playing from bench only 15 minutes against Glory in their 2-1 defeat at home. In the other side City will be missing their key striker Jamie McLaren, the Australian international is injured and will take around one month to be back in action.
The expectations in the former Celtic and Norwich City player are certainly high: coming with a lot of potential for the Australian top-tier, the 31-year old striker already shown a bit of his quality in few minutes played in the last match of Wellington Phoenix – the striker suffered a penalty that was well taken by Ulises Dávila. The combinations with Davila, Ball and Callum McCowatt seems promising for the Phoenix, since they played a good football performance in their three matches but were not efficient in converting their goalscoring chances into the goals they needed – despite being fragiel defensively. Their defense also has seemed to be a problem, suffering already five in three matches.
Melbourne City currently stands 3rd in the A-League standings and a win for them against the New Zealanders is vital for staying battling for the top positions. Without Jamie McLaren, the expectations for the fans of the home side in the AAMI Park will be today on the Uruguyan midfielders Adrian Luna and Javier Cabrera and the young promising Australian prospect Lachlan Wales. The English Craig Noone is also a key figure for Melbourne City in their past campaigns in A-League.
Defensively Scott Jamieson is also important for City, alongisde the the Australian international Curtis Good. The former Wellington Phoenix player Scott Galloway will be playing agsainst his ex-club defending the colours of Melbourne after a very good last season when he was at Adelaide United.
In the previous match of Phoenix against Glory, their defense allowed two easy goals by the visitors. Today, the central back and captain Steven Taylor needs to perform better and coordinate the defensive system of Phoenix. The Wellington-based club will be missing the young full back Liberato Cacace once again due suspension after being sent off in the match against Sydney FC and receiving a two-week ban of FFA Referee Commission.
The best performer of the defense of Phoenix in their first three games was the All Whites number one goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic. An experienced player – that recently played for Vancouver Whitecaps in Major League Season – made fantastic stops in the previous games of his new club and could make their defeats sound better than it really could be.
The Phoenix will battle for the points and their fans hope for a better performance of the team of Ufuk Talay even playing away from home. Despite some good signals in their first three matches, the reality of having no points still in the table is really worrying – while the teams are scoring points and going upfront Phoenix early in the season, the Nix still is locked with 0 points and this bad starting of the season can be crucial in the decisive moments of the season.
You can watching the match of Melbourne City against Wellington Phoenix in the SkySport or in My Football channel in YouTube.