The international break has robbed this game of much interest with both sides set to miss some key players for their opening round fixture.
Without doubt the biggest name missing will be Melbourne City’s marquee signing, Tim Cahill, who is unavailable due to Socceroos commitments in the Middle East a day earlier.
If you really want to drill deeper into it, Wellington is actually worse off with several players missing due to representative duty for New Zealand including off-season signing Kosta Barbarouses.
The Kiwi outfit has a very poor record against their opponents with just one win in their last six outings.
What’s even worse for the Phoenix is the fact that in four of those games they have been held scoreless.
We all know just how big the City Football Group is and their purchase of the old Melbourne Heart to transform them into the powerhouse they are today. The off-season saw them flex their muscles big-time with the likes of Cahill, Nicolas Colazo and Bruce Kamau all coming in following a big cleanout.
Kamau is a premiership winner with Adelaide last season while Colazo is from the ‘Boca Factory’ and won championships with Boca Juniors. Cahill speaks for himself so if they click with Golden Boot winner Bruno Fornaroli, defences throughout the competition will be running scared.
HOW IT PANS OUT
Although Ernie Merrick would love nothing more than getting the Nix off to a great start this season he is certainly up against it here.
With several players missing due to internationals, Wellington will be up against it especially with City boasting some outstanding attacking players who haven’t been called up to their national squads.
Aaron Mooy is definitely a big loss for Melbourne City but they’ve recruited well and we believe they will pack too many guns for Wellington at this stage of the season.
TOTAL GOALS OVER/UNDER:
Go the overs as recent history between these sides (3.3 goals per game) suggests a few shots will find the back of the net.
Bruno Fornaroli. Last season’s Golden Boot winner struck with a double the last time he played Wellington.