You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

City shake-up for Perth A-League final

NZN 22/04/2017 Ben McKay

It's a fine line between inconsistency and unpredictability, and Melbourne City are about to find out on which side of the A-League divide they belong.

City host Perth on Sunday night in a elimination final, with the winner sent to a semi-final next Saturday against Sydney FC.

It's an intriguing match-up, not least because it's a replay of last weekend's crazy 5-4 result in Perth - and last year's elimination final won by City.

It's most interesting because this is the match that will define City's season.

A loss would be a demoralising end to a season of great promise that evaporated after their FFA Cup final success.

But a win would equal City last season's result - and earn a shot at the premiers in which an unlikely victory would be a huge bonus.

Coach Michael Valkanis said his side were prepared for the showdown with the Glory, who City haven't beaten this season in three matches.

"It's finals football. The rest is all history. We can only write history now," he said.

"They're ready and up for it - you can see it in their eyes.

"Everyone's fully fit and ready to go."

In light of the 5-4 loss, Valkanis is shaking up his side.

The first-season coach said there'd be "a little bit of both" personnel and structural change from the defeat in Perth.

That could mean a formation with three at the back or four.

And it could mean recalls for creative duo Nick Fitzgerald and Anthony Caceres, or young defender Ruon Tongyik.

On the eve of the match, Valankis isn't revealing any planned changes but one thing is for sure - City will attack and won't die wondering.

Valkanis said he'd learned from his years at reigning champions Adelaide United that sticking to a philosophy could bring rich rewards.

"You know what really frustrates me?," Valkanis said.

"We deem good football to be a team defending, structured with lines and we say 'Oh, fantastic; well coached; they defend so well'.

"But if we see a team attacking and creating so many opportunities ... the score last week could have been 4-5 but, because we didn't defend well, we were criticised.

"We do things differently to everyone else. We're not that structured team.

"We're unpredictable. They won't know what we're doing. A lot of teams don't know.

"I have been somewhere where I've seen it happened and how it's evolved over three years."

STATS THAT MATTER:

* In the three matches played between City and Glory this season, 20 goals have been scored

* City are the pass-masters and Glory don't like the ball. Valkanis' side lead the league in passes (12,219) and Kenny Lowe's boys are bottom of the pack (9660)

* Tim Cahill has scored three goals in his past four shots against Perth

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon