Melbourne City had their best showing of the season on Friday Night, as they dominated the visiting Perth Glory in a ruthless 5-1 victory. It was a much needed home win for City, as the squad’s play at AAMI Park has been underwhelming but there was no such issues on Friday.
The scoring started early for Melbourne, as Erik Paartalu powered home a header from an Aaron Mooy free-kick to open the scoring just five minutes into the game. After being dropped from the team earlier in the season, Paartalu has returned to form lately and seems to be back in John van’t Schip’s good books.
Mooy magic was on display for the second goal, as the Socceroos midfielder danced his way around multiple Glory players, who could do nothing but watch in awe. Mooy then delivered another perfect cross and defender Conner Chapman finished with a header to make it 2-0 to the home side in the 19th minute.
Mooy was once again involved in the lead-up to City’s third goal, as he delivered a brilliant 40-yard ball to Corey Gameiro. The former Sydney FC man then squared the ball into the penalty area where Bruno Fornaroli calmly slid the ball past helpless Perth keeper Ante Covic. Just 35 minutes into the game, it was 3-0 City.
The Glory’s Sidnei Sciola gave the visiting side some hope, as he headed in Nebojsa Marinkovic’s corner to bring it back to 3-1 heading into the sheds. Any hope that Perth created though was quickly varnished after the break.
A magnificent volley from Harry Novillo put the game out of reach once and for all, as his booming first-time shot from the edge of the penalty area gave City a 4-1 advantage at the 53rd minute.
After setting up multiple goals beforehand, Mooy finally got himself onto the score sheet at the 82nd minute. City youngster Stefan Mauk was brought down in the penalty box, allowing Mooy to step up and easily sending Covic the wrong way. The penalty confirmed the final 5-1 score line and capped off a wonderful night for Melbourne.
Here are three stats that mattered from the City win:
5… City goals.
Let’s start with the most important stat of them all.
Melbourne’s five goals were the most scored by the club this season and it was the most goals scored by any team in a single game in the league so far this season. The five goals also pushed City’s goals scored number to 18 for the season, first in the league. City has scored 18 goals from eight games, an incredible number that confirms the club’s dominant attacking line-up. Fornaroli’s goal also pushed his tally to six for the season, edging him ahead of Besart Berisha for first in the league for most goals scored.
Melbourne was a force against Perth, as they had 25 shots with 11 of them being on target. 12 of their shots came from outside the box and 13 came from inside the box, keeping the Glory defence on their heels all night. City also had a shot accuracy of 57.9%, a number that is evident of the quality chances that were created.
As long as City is scoring and attacking like they did on Friday Night and like they have all season, it will hold them in good stead until they’re defence gets healthy. With Patrick Kisnorbo, Aaron Hughes and Michael Zullo all still sidelined, Schip has needed to deal with makeshift back four’s. As long as the team is keeping up this kind of attacking though, it takes the stress of the defence for the time being.
469… City Passes.
City dominated general play on all fronts against the Glory. They had 469 passes compared to only 391 from Perth. Only 11.9% of Melbourne’s passes were long, which shows how they calmly controlled the ball and didn’t rush or try to force the issue. This is also evident via City’s 85.7% passing accuracy, as the passes were crisp and on time against Perth.
A by-product of the excellent distribution from City was the time of possession throughout the game. Melbourne held possession for 54.4% of the game, as they had Perth in the rear view mirror for the entire night. City’s midfield simply dominated the Glory’s. The three starting City midfielders- Mooy, Paartalu and Paulo Retre all had a passing accuracy of 84% or above. Mooy went at a rate of 84.5%, Paartalu 90.6% while Retre led the charge with a passing accuracy of 91.3%.
Melbourne’s attacking dominance is well documented but that isn’t possible without a formidable midfield. On Friday Night, the beauty of an attacking line and a midfield working hand in hand was on full display. As City continues to build chemistry between the midfield and the attackers, the team will simply become an even bigger force on the pitch.
96… Mooy touches.
After returning from Socceroos duty last week and giving City some much needed structure in the middle of the park, Mooy was up to his usual tricks on Friday Night.
Mooy played the full 90 minutes and had 96 touches over that time, which equates to over a touch per minute, a pretty amazing number when you put it in perspective. Paartalu was second among City midfielders with touches but his 74 looks miniature compared to Mooy.
It wasn’t just that Mooy was getting the ball though; his creative balls and brilliant control ensured that he ran circles around Perth all night long. Mooy had nine shot assists against the Glory, as his beautiful decision making and skillful passes ensured City had quality chances throughout the game.
Mooy is the best player in the A-League without a shadow of a doubt. As long as he is on the pitch, City has a chance to win. His best was on display against the Glory and as the season goes on, one can only assume Mooy will get better, which is a scary thought for the rest of the league.