A-League season preview: Melbourne City

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City will be keen to taste league success after winning the FFA Cup last season - the club's first ever trophy

After starting the season with a stunning win over rivals Victory, Melbourne City quickly came back to the pack and despite sneaking into the top four, were eliminated straight away by Perth Glory in the finals series.

Former Manchester United reserve team coach Warren Joyce has been appointed at the helm and has the task of transforming a talented squad into a consistent performing team.

The injury absence of star striker Bruno Fornaroli until December further complicates matters.

2016-17 finishing position: 4th

Coach: Warren Joyce


INS AND OUTS


Ins: Eugene Galekovic, Scott Jamieson, Iacopo La Rocca, Stefan Mauk, Bart Schenkeveld, Marcelo Carrusca, Marcin Budzinski, Ross McCormack.

Outs: Corey Gameiro, Steve Kuzmanovski, Josh Rose, Nicolas Colazo, Thomas Sorensen, Paulo Retre, Ivan Franjic, Anthony Caceres,


STAR PLAYER - Ross McCormack


With a broken ankle sidelining Fornaroli for the first few months of the season, City have completed a recruiting coup in snaring the signature of Scottish striker Ross McCormack.

The 31-year-old has been frozen out at Aston Villa after scoring only three goals in 24 appearances since joining the club for the 2016-17 season.

Ross McCormack Aston Villa

However in the previous campaign for Fulham in the Championship, McCormack lashed in 23 goals in 49 games - showing his calibre as a top class forward.

If he can get back anywhere near his best form, he could completely dominate the competition.

The only issue is that he is an injury replacement player for Fornaroli - which means City will have to arrange other means if they want to keep him on once the Uruguayan returns.


BREAKOUT PLAYER - Ruon Tongyik


After failing to make a senior appearance at Adelaide United across a two-year stint, Tongyik moved to Melbourne City at the beginning of last season and made his debut against Sydney FC in December.

The Sudanese-born central defender impressed instantly with his cool and composed style of play, with many pundits believing he has the potential to become a star of the name.

Only 20 years old, Tongyik should get plenty of game time alongside experienced Danish defender Michael Jakobsen and don't expect it to be long until overseas clubs start calling.


POSITIVES


The club finally appears to have the tough, tackling midfielder they have craved in Italian enforcer Iacopo La Rocca and have added a touch of class with the acquisition of Argentine playmaker Marcelo Carrusca.

Joyce has put together a squad which appears deep in midfield and defence, and has also managed to entice young attacking talent Stefan Mauk back to the club on loan.

Stefan Mauk Melbourne City v Newcastle Jets A-League 30102015

Veteran Tim Cahill will be used sparingly off the bench but will be a valuable asset to bring on, especially when City need a goal late in a match.


NEGATIVES


The loss of Fornaroli hurts the club significantly but the acquisition of McCormack will hopefully limit the loss of goals from the star Uruguayan.

It will be interesting to see how the team copes with transition between the two strikers in December.

City's problem over the last couple of seasons has been maintaining consistency, with the team producing some scintillating football during that time but not being able to back it up week after week.

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The club hierarchy are backing Joyce to get the best out of an undoubtedly talented squad.


FINAL PREDICTION - 4TH


It will be the same old story for City as they play some of the best football we see but drop too many points to contend with the big boys.

There has been a few rumblings of discontent about Joyce's coaching style and it will be interesting to see what happens when things get tough.

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