The City Football Group-owned side finished third in the A-League last season.

Kerala will be hosting a first of its kind pre-season tournament this July in the lead up to the fifth season of the Indian Super League (ISL). The Toyota Yaris La Liga World Tournament will be an international event comprising of three clubs.

Kerala Blasters (ISL), Melbourne City FC (A-League) and Girona FC (La Liga) will be taking part in the prestigious tournament and the teams will be facing each other, looking to kick-off their club season’s on a positive note.  The matches will be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi from the 24th of July.

The tournament is a first of its kind to be organized in India

About the Tournament

The tournament is a three-way match-up between the clubs. The clubs will play each other once. The matches will be played across five days at Kochi’s JLN. Even though it is only a pre-season event, these kinds of games show you the areas which you need to improve in your gameplan. Moreover, this tournament is quite historic in the sense that big clubs from other nations and leagues have travelled to India for a pre-season extravaganza.

This tournament could possibly open the floodgates which could see many more European clubs looking at India as a pre-season destination for their league preparations. The ISL is just entering its fifth season and there is much improvement to be done for the clubs. This is a step in the right direction and this tournament could help us give a fair idea as to where India stands ON the global football scale as the three teams lock horns.

Watch: Warren Joyce talks about his side’s pre-season tour to India

About The Team

Formerly known as Melbourne Heart FC, the club was established in 2009 and became Melbourne City FC in 2014. Owned by the City Football Group, the side calls the 30,000 capacity AAMI Park Stadium in Melbourne its home. Melbourne City won their first-ever piece of silverware, the FFA Cup in 2016 and are based out of the City Football Academy in Melbourne.

Last Season’s Performance 

Melbourne City FC finished in a respectable third position in the 2017-18 season of the A-League. The team succumbed to a defeat in their semi-final fixture against Newcastle Jets. Ross McCormack, The Aston Villa player and Scottish International, was on loan at the club last season and powered them up to this high finish, thanks to his 14 goals in 16 appearances.

The team’s attacking lineup contributed equally to the goal tally along with McCormack. One of the more talented wingers in the squad was Dario Vidosic and Uruguayan striker Bruno Fornaroli, who netted five goals each for the club.

Manager

Their manager is the 53-year-old Englishman, Warren Joyce. Joyce was previously the manager of Wigan Athletic and worked under former Manchester United player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the Assistant Manager of the Manchester United U-23 squad.

Post-Solskjaer’s involvement in the club, Joyce managed the U-23 side for 140 matches before sealing a move to Wigan Athletic. After an unsuccessful stint with the Latics, The Englishman moved Down Under to manage Melbourne City.  He likes to play a 4-2-3-1 formation and used that for the majority of last season.


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Squad

Melbourne City FC pre-season tour squad

Players to Watch

Dario Vidosic

The 31-year-old attacking midfielder was an integral part of Melbourne City’s campaign last season. Vidosic made 26 appearances and scored nine goals, becoming the club’s second highest scorer last season in the process. The pre-season games against Kerala Blasters and Girona FC in India will be a perfect chance for the veteran midfielder to shine, as he’s expected to spearhead his side’s goalscoring responsibilities in the absence of McCormack.

Luke Brattan

The 28-year-old versatile midfielder was an important part of Joyce’s squad in last season. Brattan made 27 appearances for his side and created 53 chances, the most in his team. He has an eye for finding gaps in the opposition defense and will be one of the players to watch during the pre-season tournament in Kochi.

Dean Bouzanis 

The 27-year-old goalkeeper has been a reliable option under the bars for the City Blues since he joined from Western Sydney Wanderers in 2016. The last season saw him making 21 appearances across all competitions and producing 55 saves in them. The former Liverpool and Oldham Athletic goalkeeper is known for his acrobatic skills and will be a tough nut to crack in the tournament.

What to Expect

Melbourne City have always made smart recruitment choices since their inception. However, without their talismanic striker McCormack and Aussie international Tim Cahill, they will have to rely on their wingers to produce results. Joyce strongly reiterated that he will be looking to play a lot of the youngsters at the club fin the tournament and as these games come thick and fast, he will be looking to keep the squad healthy and fresh for the upcoming season.

Melbourne City may manage to scalp a victory against the Yellows of Kerala, but the game against Girona FC could prove to be too tricky for the team from Down Under.