John van’t Schip’s Melbourne City Football Club host Ernie Merrick’s Wellington Phoenix in an important match for Finals Series placement at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on Monday, Jan. 25. City (7-4-4, 25 points, 4th) are coming off a 2-2 draw with Perth Glory, while Wellington (4-4-7, 16 points, 7th) are in crisis mode and will look to save their season after getting belted by Newcastle Jets away. And, if you think the extension for the Phoenix has been granted well…
“The media reports from Sydney this morning that the Wellington Phoenix have been granted a four year license extension are wrong,” says the club. “The Wellington Phoenix have not agreed to a new license extension. The negotiations for a license extension are continuing but the Wellington Phoenix have not and will not conduct these negotiations via the media.”
Hate to break it to you, Wellington Phoenix brains trust, but the media will be on your trail and anyone’s trail regardless of whether or not you catch a break. As long as we here in the media get paid to do our job, two words: steady on.
“When you have to rely on a 19-year-old wing back substitute to score your goal it is a worry,” Merrick said of last weekend’s poor performance. “I can fix the defence but it comes down to our goal-scoring capabilities. When they went down to 10 men we had chance after chance but they all went begging.
“We aren’t playing balls in behind the opposition so they are able to squeeze up and make it difficult for us. At the back there is no consistency among the young defenders and the opposition take advantage of that.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 a.m. PT/3:30 a.m. ET/7:30 p.m. AEDT. Here are 10 bold predictions for the Monday night match between Melbourne City and Wellington Phoenix.
- At least 35 fouls will be whistled.
- At least four cards will be issued.
- Bruno Fornaroli will score for Melbourne City.
- Aaron Mooy will score for Melbourne City.
- Erik Paartalu will score for Melbourne City.
- Matthew Ridenton will score for Wellington Phoenix.
- Thomas Sorensen will make under five saves.
- Glen Moss will make at least three saves.
- No goals will be scored in the first 10 minutes.
- A player will be sent off.
In a rough and rugged battle at AAMI Park, Melbourne City will be adding pressure to the Sydney teams and Brisbane Roar in a comprehensive rout. Dial this one in, it’s City to win.
Melbourne City 3, Wellington Phoenix 1