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By Connor Metcalfe
Here at City, We don't just want to be the best in Melbourne, we want to be the best in the A-League. And to be the top team in Australia, you're always going to have to battle with Victory. They don't like us. We're not exactly their biggest fan. That's just how it is.
Heading into the Melbourne derby this weekend, they're obviously rock-bottom of the A-League ladder. Don't get me wrong, we don't mind that at all, but it's definitely different to what we're all used to seeing. That being said, it doesn't mean we shouldn't be wary of them though. We know the threat they possess and they'll be hoping to cause an upset at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
As for the game itself, you can always feel that deep-seated rivalry when you're out on the pitch. Obviously things are a little bit different now with them struggling. I mean, a couple of years ago they were top dogs. But it's still a derby at the end of the day. All the boys here at City absolutely love playing in them and I assume the guys over at Victory feel the exact same way. When two teams are at each other's throats for 90 minutes then it's always going to be fun to play in.
The Melbourne derby crowds are the biggest I've played in front of. They provide a different feeling to any other game. Derbies are just different. Even when you wake up in the morning, you're buzzing knowing what's on the cards for later that day.
Especially with the Melbourne derby, both sets of fans usually bring a lot of numbers with them. And, of course, we haven't had that in a while due to the pandemic so I honestly can't wait to play in front of a large live crowd again. It's going to be a bit surreal. The overall feeling you get when the noise of the fans hits you is hard to put into words - it's just insane. It's weird to think that a live crowd settles your nerves, but it really does. Instead of nerves, you're just left with sheer excitement.
And while the results haven't been going their way, they still have a very strong squad and there's a bunch of players we'll be hoping to shut down early in the game. We'll be looking out for people like Callum McManaman - we know the quality he has. Jake Brimmer is another one. He's very versatile and can create chances out of nothing. As for their front three, they're very rogue in their style of play so it's difficult to defend not knowing what they're going to do. They've got a strong side, and we won't come into the game underestimating them.
We may have embarrassed them 6-0 last time out, but this is going to be a lot tougher game - no doubt about it. They'll be really, really up for it and will undoubtedly be out there to prove a point and get one back on us. So we'll have to be at our best but I know we've got the capability to repeat what we did back in March.