Melbourne City announced their W-League arrival with an impressive 6-0 win over the W-League's most successful club Sydney FC.

It was a performance that lived up to all the pre-season hype and firmly established City as the team to beat this season.

Ominously for the rest of the league, it was also a performance without with Melbourne City's highest profile recruits Kim Little and Jess Fishlock.

From the score line it would be easy to assume Sydney FC were headed for the wooden spoon but the reality is this was a match that told us more about City than it did about Sydney FC.

Sydney FC - Key Points and Players

In a fast and furious opening 30 minutes Sydney FC worked hard and stayed in the game.

Aware of the threat's Dan Barrett opted for the inverted midfield triangle with Teresa Polias and Nicola Bolger as holding midfielders.

Polias was tasked with the more defensive duties in front of the back four and displayed her usual proficiency and enormous work rate.

The Sky Blues captain was everywhere. Screening in front of the back four, dropping into centre back when required as cover and working as the outlet of pressure.

At times, Polias was so deep that Sydney's back four looked more like a back five as the pressure asserted by City pushed the defensive line deeper.

Despite this pressure, Sydney endeavoured to hold their line as much as possible with Michelle Betos providing sweeping duties for any through balls.

Betos was busy and, despite the goals, had a good game. She was strong at the corners, making the right decisions to either punch or claim and was quick to come off her line.

Another player to have a solid game was full back Amy Harrison.

Coming out of defence, Harrison was sure on the ball and provided attacking support down the wing while covering well down the right.

On several occasions she put in strong tackles or cleared just in time. It is easy to see why she has been called up to the Matildas.

On the attacking front, Sydney struggled to play out through the Melbourne City press.

As a result their forwards and midfielders, particularly Kyah Simon and Jasmyne Spencer, dropped in deeper to provide support but the result was concentration in the centre third.

The pressure was evident in uncharacteristically untidy passing with Sydney unable to get into their passing rhythm or giving the ball back to City within a two or three passes.

When they did pass their way through the press, City had the numbers in the final third to smother any counter attacks.

In the second half, Trudy Camilleri came on to provide a spark and her pace out on the flanks caused trouble for the City full backs, resulting in a penalty.

Following Camilleri's lead, Sydney worked the wings to open up the pitch and find a way in behind the City defence.

Unfortunately for Sky Blue fans, the eventual shots on goal were easily claimed by Trudy Burke, who had much more to do in the 45.

It was a tough afternoon out for the Sky Blues but the truth is that they will not meet a Melbourne City every week and this is a side that still is a Top Four contender.

Melbourne City - Key Points and Players

Melbourne City's win was built on four foundations; pressure, technique, speed and width.

Joe Montemurro set his team up perfectly to emphasise the strengths of City and attack the vulnerabilities of Sydney.

The first thing noticeable about City is their speed. Speed of ball movement and speed of foot. The speed of ball was more impressive as it was due to good touch and neat technique.

The midfield had their best technical players with Aivi Luik and Amy Jackson instrumental in their ability to break up play and distribute out to the wings and to the pace of Mariana Tabain and Beattie Goad.

Goad in particular was excellent. In her third season, the 18 year old winger essentially played out on the lines and used every bit of real estate available to her.

More often than not, City opted to attack down the left with Steph Catley and Goad combining well.

Centrally Larissa Crummer was the focal point but not as a traditional no. 9.

While the 19 year old held up the ball well and playing in her attacking teammates, she also interchanged with Goad and De Vanna without City missing a beat.

City's played most of the match in their front two thirds of the pitch.

A typical attack went like this:

  • Pressure asserted by the forwards on the Sydney defence as they looked to play out
  • Pressure finally tells with Luik / Jackson breaking up the play or intercepting the ball
  • Jackson / Luik spreading the ball out to the run of Goad or Catley on the left or De Vanna and Tabain on the right; or
  • Jackson / Luik playing a ball in behind the Sydney defence to the attacking runs Crummer, De Vanna or Goad
  • It was effective, it was clinical, it was impressive and it was built on pressure, technique, speed and width.

For Sydney FC, it doesn't get easier with a big match against Canberra United, who also suffered an opening round loss.  Meanwhile for City it is a big cross-town rivalry with Melbourne Victory.

Sydney FC 0

Melbourne City 6 (Larissa Crummer 10’ 44’, Lisa De Vanna 39’, Beattie Goad 43’, Marianna Tabain 60’, Melina Ayres 90’)

Sunday 18 October 2015

Lambert Park, Sydney

Kick-off: 5.30pm

Referee: Rebecca Durcau

Sydney FC: Michelle Betos (gk), Ellyse Perry, Sunny Franco, Jasmyne Spencer, Teresa Polias (c), Nicola Bolger (Trudy Camilleri 55’), Amy Harrison, Renee Rollason, Alanna Kennedy, Kyah Simon, Leena Khamis

Substitutes – Sham Khamis (gk), Teigen Allen, Natalie Tobin

Cautions – Sunny Franco 62’, Leena Khamis 68’, Amy Harrison 78’

Melbourne City: Trudy Burke (gk), Laura Alleway, Aivi Luik, Steph Catley, Larissa Crummer, Lisa De Vanna (Alexandra Chidiac 70’), Rebekah Stott, Amy Jackson, Beatrice Goad (Melina Ayres 83’), Marianna Tabain (Olivia Ellis 88’), Anisa Guajardo

Substitutes – Kelsey Quinn (gk)

Cautions – Aivi Luik 29, Anisa Guajardo 76’