Fans still have a Heart for City

Melbourne Heart still exists, both on and off the pitch.

The opening matches for Melbourne City have brought about some interesting observations from a fans' perspective.

Red and white in the crowd

A bumper crowd witnessed Melbourne City’s first home game on a warm Sunday afternoon. This was our biggest ever non-derby crowd and even had spectators on the top tiers, again not seen before in a non-derby game.

Were there lots of new fans or bandwagoners? How many were there just to see David Villa?

Red appeared to slightly outnumber sky blue in the crowd which could be seen as a supporter base not happy with the change or an indication that new jerseys are expensive. The answer will become clearer in coming weeks if red continues to dominate when a likely attendance plateau occurs.

The City Football group will undoubtedly want the red to eventually fade away but the scarves of the new active support group Melburnians are predominantly red, indicating a gulf between the club and at least some supporters.

The same old story on the pitch

Possession and territorial dominance but too few clear-cut chances created from them, and a seemingly inevitable goal conceded against the run of play.

Sure it is often great to watch a team work the ball over all over the pitch but it seems like the team want to walk the ball into the net. At times City players need to be more selfish. Instead of making that extra pass to a teammate equally surrounded by defenders take a shot, test out the keeper and potentially cause a rebound.

It sounds simple and when shots were taken we looked like scoring. In the 5-10 minutes around the time David Villa did find the back of the net, Newcastle were locked into their own box because we were shooting.

David Villa’s goal certainly wasn’t the prettiest of his stellar career but it proves what can happen when you put pressure on the defence and test out the keeper.

Playing out from the back?

It was noticeable that full-backs Jason Hoffman and Iain Ramsay spread very high and wide when centre-backs Patrick Kisnorbo and Rob Wielaert were in possession. Ramsay was even withdrawn late in the game for James Brown. These gaps were often exploited and resulted in most of Newcastle’s chances, a couple of which should have been taken. Against a Melbourne Victory line-up with Archie Thompson and Besart Berisha this week we can’t afford to concede so much space. Fans are hoping that John van ‘t Schip has an alternative game-plan in mind.