Melbourne City 2018-19 preview: Can they finally live up to expectations?

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Is one trophy good enough for the A-League team with the richest owners?

The FFA Cup is all Melbourne City have to show for in their entire history - a haul not good enough especially considering the riches available since they were bought by Manchester City's owners City Football Group in 2014.

City achieved their best ever regular season finish of third in 2017-18, but fell short in the semi finals - a stage they have been eliminated in three of the last four campaigns.

Goal looks at the prospects of Warren Joyce's side and whether they can utilise their talented squad to go step further this season.

Can Melbourne City shake their chokers tag?

Warren Joyce Melbourne City

Making the finals four seasons in a row is a solid achievement for Melbourne City - but their performance in crucial matches post-season has been horrendous.

In 2014-15 and 2015-16, they crashed out at the semi final stage to the eventual champions in two thrashings - 3-0 against Melbourne Victory and a 4-1 defeat to Adelaide United.

A year later they were embarrassed 2-0 by Perth Glory in a home elimination final, the campaign before the appointment of Joyce.

City looked a more composed unit last season under the Englishman but when it mattered in the semi-final they lost 2-1 to Newcastle despite leading 1-0 at half time in the Riley McGree scorpion kick game.

Aside from improving the squad in the off season, Joyce will have been hard at work trying to change the mentality of his players so they can deliver consistently in big matches.

The signings of Richie De Laet and Rostyn Griffiths should help solidify the backbone of the team and provide more leadership.

Will their new acquisitions improve the squad?

Florin Berenguer

While City haven't snared a big name marquee like their crosstown rivals and Sydney FC, it appears they have signed smartly to complement their already strong squad.

One of the more left-field signings made by any club was the acquisition of Premier League winner Richie De Laet - who can play a variety of defensive and midfield roles, while also providing extra leadership.

French midfielder Florin Berenguer and Scotland attacker Michael O'Halloran look like tidy signings in the front third of the pitch - unfortunately the latter is out for the early part of the season with a hamstring injury.

City's best work in the market was their Australian additions - including the talented Riley McGree, who switches from the Jets to City but is still on loan from Club Brugge.

They have also picked up Rostyn Griffiths to provide steel in the midfield, former Heart talent Curtis Good, brought Anthony Caceres back to the club and snared highly-rated Mariners youngster Lachlan Wales.

Mark Birighetti is a seriously good goalkeeper and the battle for the number one jersey with Eugene Galekovic should be tightly fought.

City have managed to retain a strong core of last season's squad including Bruno Fornaroli, Bart Schenkeveld, Luke Brattan and Dario Vidosic, and their new players should make for a strong, competitive squad.

Bruno Fornaroli and Bart Schenkeveld are the men

Bruno Fornaroli Melbourne City v Newcastle Jets A-League 10112016

Bruno Fornaroli is one of the best strikers ever seen in the A-League - and he is back fitter than ever and ready to have an impact this season.

A serious ankle injury ruled him out for most of the previous campaign, but he still got back to score five goals in 10 games in City's run to the semi-final.

The Uruguayan has scored an incredible 50 goals in 69 games for the Melburnians, and if City are to challenge for silverware, Fornaroli must be on top form at the business end of the season.

At the other end of the pitch, Dutch enforcing Bart Schenkeveld established himself as the best centre half in the league in 2017-18, with his uncompromising defending a constant highlight.

While City have lost young talent Danel Arzani and Denis Genreau, they still possess exciting youth including utility Nathaniel Atkinson, McGree and Wales.

In terms of squad depth, City are second to only Perth Glory - but can they cure the mental demons that have cost them big games over the past few seasons?

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Predicted finish: 3rd   

Star player: Bruno Fornaroli

Breakout player: Nathaniel Atkinson

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