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Revamped and restructured after the departures of Aaron Mooy and Harry Novillo, John van’t Schip’s squad remains the A-League’s most proficient attacking side.
A quick glance at the names profile how deadly City’s frontline will be – Tim Cahill, Bruno Fornaroli, Bruce Kamau, Fernando Brandan, Nicolas Colazo, Luke Brattan and Neil Kilkenny.
The collective is greater than the sum of its parts for Melbourne, though.
Fornaroli is coming off a historic 25-goal season, dismissing the inane suggestions that he would fade across a full year because of his size.
The Uruguayan was handed a well-deserved marquee deal from City over the offseason and his intelligence on the pitch remains his greatest asset.
Now paired with Cahill, Australia’s greatest goal scorer, and van’t Schip lays claim to the competition’s most dangerous 1-2 forward punch.
The worries over how Fornaroli and Cahill will mesh together were quickly extinguished in City’s 4-1 FFA Cup Quarterfinal triumph over Western Sydney Wanders.
With Fornaroli playing up front and Cahill behind him in the number 10 role, City’s double-headed monster was unstoppable.
Flanked by the likes of Kamau and Brandan creating havoc with their manic forward pressure on the wings, and van’t Schip’s men looked potent.
Fornaroli’s positioning and smarts as a striker are too good to move him up the pitch. He often plays on the body of a defender, using the physicality to his advantage. With the ball at his feet, Fornaroli is always a goal-scoring threat.
Cahill is creative enough to generate a scoring chance from the forward-mid role. He set up Fornaroli’s first goal against the Wanders, with a perfect square-up ball into the middle of the box. Cahill also provided Fornaroli with a one-on-one with goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, leading to a City penalty.
"Tim and Bruno ... they can play together, that's very clear,” van’t Schip said after the game.
“They gave each other an assist and a goal.”
It’s foolish to place so much value into one preseason affair, granted it was a cup match. However, the evidence we have so far is telling. Additionally, we know what Fornaroli and Cahill are capable of individually, and as a team, they simply make each other better.
The system that van’t Schip has seemed to implement also adds to City’s quest of another goal-scoring title. Melbourne’s high-press is similar to that of their big brothers Manchester City, and while the talent levels are at odds, the results are set to be similar.
Last season, City scored 66 goals across 29 matches, including finals. That calculated to an average of 2.28 goals per game. With the new, shiny attacking line-up, are 80 goals out of the question? If City were to reach that mark over the 27 game regular season, they would need to average at least 2.96 goals per match.
It would be a sensational achievement.
Then again, the A-League has never seen an attacking force as powerful as City’s.