Three conclusions as Melbourne City bounce back brilliantly against Sydney
Below are our three key conclusions from the 3-2 win.
Different tactics, different team
Melbourne City has come under heavy criticism for their performances so far this season and needed a response tonight.
Patrick Kisnorbo's side delivered in abundance, with a change in how they moved the ball working wonders.
In transition moments, City always looked to take the first option forward straight away, as seen with the second goal.
They turned the ball over in midfield, Craig Noone was immediately found as the first forward option, and then others joined in.
It was an all-out attack once Sydney turned over possession, and it has to be the blueprint for Kisnorbo to follow from now on.
In recent years, they could be very pedestrian on the ball and seem to prefer to retain possession instead of being useful with it.
The return of Andrew Nabbout helped facilitate this change, as he, Jamie Maclaren, and Noone thrived as a trio.
Although the Sky Blues may have netted twice tonight, they had created very little before the final twenty minutes.
This term, the Sky Blues have netted ten times in seven games, and although that sounds pretty good, it's a slight drop off when compared with last season.
Sydney had scored fourteen times in the opening seven rounds in 2019-20, netting at a rate of two goals a game.
The final twenty minutes gave a hint as to what might need to change for Sydney to become the most dangerous attacking outfit in Australia again.
Milos Ninkovic is still one of the best in the league and netted again tonight, whilst young Patrick Wood's emergence has been refreshing.
The youngster added his third of the season off the bench.
Given the 18-year-old's gradual progress and Kosta Barbarouses' questionable form, the Kiwi's place must be hanging by a thread.
I don't think he is a player that can start every week for a title contender anymore.
It might be time for Steve Corica to give Wood regular starts.
Sydney's fullbacks have also seen their attacking output wane, with Rhyan Grant in particular not seeming to offer that same energy up and down the pitch.
There are times, particularly tonight, where Ninkovic is given the ball and expected to orchestrate it all, either finding the final pass or scoring himself.
By no means is Sydney in an attacking 'crisis', but there has been a decline in output.
More than just a goalscorer
We all know Jamie Maclaren scores goals.
We also know that Jamie Maclaren scores goals at crucial times.
However, we might not have known yet the striker's leadership potential and how those qualities were on full display tonight.
Maclaren came up big not just when his manager and club needed it, but arguably when he also needed it himself.
He had a frustrating day at the office against Newcastle last time out but re-established his trademark poaching ability tonight.
What was noticeable after his first goal was Maclaren's body language when celebrating with teammates.
There was more of a focused, steely persona from the 27-year-old.
Every club wants a striker who can score double figures consistently each year, but the best ones are those that can do it when the chips are down.
Maclaren was undoubtedly the latter tonight.