This game could prove to be a tipping point for both sides as they look to end 2016 on a high.
Both the Mariners and City have experienced a slump in form lately with just two wins between the pair in their past 12 games combined!
Although no one really expected much from Central Coast this season, the fact they have now dropped four straight matches will be of concern to coach Paul Okon. Central Coast were totally outclassed on Wednesday night when going down 4-1 to Melbourne Victory.
As for Melbourne City, they are now fourth on the A-league table after drawing 3-3 against Perth on Tuesday in what was one of the most entertaining games ever in the league!
Okon has done a great job with limited time and resources at the Mariners, however, their good start to the season is now coming undone.
Four straight losses while conceding 3.25 goals per game during that run isn’t going to win you many games. What would be of equal concern to the Central Coast is that although they have scored in three straight games, they still have the second-worst attack in the comp (one goal per game) with only Adelaide worse off.
Tim Cahill’s lone goal of the FFA Cup Final gave City their first piece of silverware in club history, however, they haven’t won a game since then.
That was at the end of November and since then they have drawn three times while suffering a 2-1 loss to bitter rivals Melbourne Victory in the other.
City fans will be buoyed by the fact their side has handled the Mariners with relative ease of late.
Outscoring their opponents 12-3 in their past three clashes, City have averaged four goals a game during this stretch with gun striker Bruno Fornaroli cashing in three times during this run.
HOW IT PANS OUT
On paper Melbourne City should have too much class for the Mariners but that doesn’t necessarily translate into results as we have seen lately with John van’t Schip’s men.
Their dip in form since the FFA Cup Final has to be a concern as will their inability to score goals away from home. Although they’ve won twice and drawn twice in five road fixtures, City has only scored seven goals during this run at an average of 1.4gpg.
Van’t Schip will also be concerned with the amount of goals leaked by his side over the past fortnight (five in two games). Overall, their opponents are good for at least one goal as City has only kept one clean sheet in the league and that was way back in Round 1!
Although they aren’t as lethal on the road, Central Coast will need to be on their toes and you can expect to see some bounce back from them after their crushing defeat to the Victory.
Whether a firing up by Okon will be enough to stop City, who will be without livewire Fernando Brandan after he was suspended, remains to be seen but if you are looking for value then the Draw is definitely an option.
THE TIP: MELBOURNE CITY
TOTAL GOALS OVER/UNDER 2.5: Overs
– both sides aren’t known for keeping clean sheets