Is this the season Melbourne City end their wait for Hyundai A-League silverware?
According to former fullback Josh Rose, it just might be.
Rose – who made 23 appearances for the club during the 2016/17 campaign – believes his old club have a strong structure in place lacking in previous seasons.
It’s why the Hyundai A-League stalwart is predicting big things from Erick Mombaerts’ men in 2019/20.
Last season: 5th
Josh Rose's predicted position: 2nd
A-League.com.au's three things to watch
1. New-look attack
Jamie Maclaren and Craig Noone have wasted no time in striking up a telepathic connection which has flourished into something very promising indeed for City fans.
The pair have scored 10 goals between them to fire City to the FFA Cup 2019 Final. In Noone, Javi Cabrera and Adrian Luna, Caltex Socceroo Maclaren should have no shortage of ammunition.
2. Erick Mombaerts
Erick Mombaerts has been tasked with overhauling City’s style of play in the off-season and he’s done so using his vast coaching experience in the French national youth set up, and drawing from the influence of Manchester City boss and Barcelona icon Pep Guardiola.
City’s impressive FFA Cup run has shown Mombaert’s intention for his side to play attractive, eye-pleasing football. And, importantly, the results have come too.
3. A title challenge
Expectations have always been high at Melbourne City, but the club has so far flattered to deceive on their ambition of regularly fighting for Hyundai A-League silverware.
But after a successful off-season recruitment drive and form shown in pre-season, this City team might just have all the ingredients to go all the way.
The first five fixtures
Brisbane Roar (H)
Western United (a)
Wellington Phoenix (a)
Central Coast Mariners (H)
Newcastle Jets (a)
Rose's key match-ups: Melbourne Victory, Perth Glory and Sydney FC
“The most obvious one will be the Melbourne Derby.
“Round 1 you want to get off to a good start and doing it against Victory will be even sweeter.
“Those Derbies are definitely games you mark throughout the season.
“For a club like City I think they look at teams who have been setting the standard over the last few seasons.
“So Sydney FC, Perth Glory: they’re the ones you want to go and prove to everyone in the league that you’re here this season to do well.
“It’s those key match-ups that I look to and think City will be really concentrating on getting good results in.”
Rose's players to watch
1. Craig Noone
“Craig Noone looks very good, I think he’ll be exciting to watch.
“He’ll create a lot of goalscoring chances and do very well out on the wing with the way they play.
2. Jamie Maclaren
“To tie in with (Noone) Jamie Maclaren becomes an important person, because with that service you need someone like him in and around the goal.
“He’s proven over the past few season’s he’s a very good finisher, and those two look like striking up a very good combination.
3. Josh Brillante
“Brillante has been fantastic the past few seasons at Sydney FC.
“His work under Arnie [former Sydney boss Graham Arnold] will go a long way to him really understanding that six role, and the responsibility in that six role.
“Taking that to City will be massive for everyone around him.”
Scott Galloway (Adelaide United) Story
Craig Noone (Bolton Wanderers) Story
Richard Windbichler (Viborg FF) Story
Josh Brillante (Sydney FC) Story
Javier Cabrera (Montevideo Wanderers) Story
Adrian Luna (Veracuz) Story
Tom Glover (Tottenham Hotspur) Story
Raphael Borges Rodrigues, Idrus Abdulahi, Yaya Dukuly, Joe Gauci and Kerrin Stokes (all on scholarship contracts) Story
Connor Metcalfe and Moudi Najjar (promoted) Story
James Delianov (Western United) Story
Eugene Galekovic (retired) Story
Ritchie De Laet (Aston Vill), Shayon Harrison (Tottenham Hotspur), Riley McGree (Club Brugge) - end of loan spell Story
Dario Vidosic Story
Bart Schenkeveld Story
Kearyn Baccus Story
Mark Birighitti Story
Melbourne City 2019/20 squad
Harrison Delbridge, Scott Jamieson, Connor Metcalfe, Scott Galloway, Nathaniel Atkinson, Florin Berenguer, Rostyn Griffiths, Moudi Najjar, Ramy Najjarine, Lachlan Wales, Jamie Maclaren, Gianluca Iannucci, Craig Noone, Richard Windbichler, Dean Bouzanis, Denis Genreau, Curtis Good, Josh Brillante, Javier Cabrera, Adrian Luna, Tom Glover, Raphael Borges Rodrigues, Idrus Abdulahi, Yaya Dukuly, Joe Gauci, Kerrin Stokes
Rose's squad verdict
“They’ve got the right balance everywhere.
“I’m excited by their squad, I’m excited by the fact they’ve got a coach in who is instilling a new style and had plenty of structure.
“You look at their full-backs in Scott Jamieson and Scott Galloway, they’re both very technical and good on the ball, they have good engines and are experienced A-League players.
“They’ve got a solid spine in Harrison Delbridge who has made that centre-back spot his own, they’ve got Curtis Good, Brillante, Rostyn Griffiths and even young Connor Metcalfe who has come in and done a good job.
“They’ve got a lot of squad depth this year, I think they’ll all push for places when someone is injured or suspended, they’ll all be able to fill in and play a role no problem at all.”
The boss: Erick Mombaerts
“I haven’t seen too much of his work in the past, but based on what I’ve seen in the cup matches and what I’ve heard from the players and people who have seen him work, it sounds like he’ll do really well.
“I think he’ll play an exciting brand of football, the team will be really structured in terms of attack and defence and everyone will know their role.
“When I was there we definitely tried to play football... but just didn’t quite get the results with it.
“We lacked a bit of structure and players knowing what their roles were, but from what I’ve heard his training methods are very structured and everyone knows their role down to the very last step.
“I think that will be very good for them this year.”
“A top two finish for them is very, very possible in my opinion.
“It will probably come down to those key match-ups.
“I’ll tip them to come second and make their first Grand Final, then in the Grand Final anything can happen.”
Melbourne City unveiled their new kit on July 12, the first new designs of the club's partnership with sports apparel giant, PUMA.
City's home jersey features the club's iconic blue palette, a round neck collar and seamless shoulder construction.
The away jersey, meanwhile, contains a white and grey 'digital glitch' design, which is paired with black shorts and socks.
NEW STRIPS: Every club's kit for the new season