Melbourne City player Ivan Franjic controls the ball.
Melbourne City player Ivan Franjic controls the ball. JULIAN SMITH

City falling victim to the sucker punch

MELBOURNE City's puzzling form plunge is proving that possession does not pay.

But right-back Ivan Franjic says the team is aware of its problems and is working hard to turn possession into points.

And when it does, Franjic said City would be "giving a few teams a hammering", including - he hopes - Melbourne Victory in tonight's derby.

Only once this season has City lost the possession share in a match, averaging 59.6% of time on the ball.

Eight times City has recorded more than 60% possession, including the four games caretaker coach Michael Valkanis has been in charge.

City has also dominated shot counts, losing that stat just three times in 17 league games.

For the season it averages 13.8 shots a game to 9.6 shots faced, but in the past four weeks it has taken 18.2 shots a game as opposed to 5.8 shots faced.

But City's statistical dominance does not show up on the A-League ladder, given it has won just seven games, drawn five and lost five.

It has won two matches and lost two in the past four weeks.

All City Football Group teams like to play a possession-based style.

Parent club Manchester City - and its coach Pep Guardiola - was criticised during an October-December run that netted just four wins in 14 games despite being similarly dominant in possession.

Franjic said City's recent run "has been frustrating", but wouldn't divulge too many specifics about what City was doing to turn its woes around.

"Teams are dropping off on us," Franjic said.

"And it's obvious that they're letting us play and trying to hit us with a sucker punch.

"But we've been working hard all week, we've rectified the problems and I don't think it will be happening too much any more.

"You look at the last few weeks, we have been dominating games, we're just not scoring. The chances are there, it's just a matter of time before the tide starts turning and we do start punishing teams.

"But we're confident in ourselves that over the next few weeks that it's going to turn and we'll be giving a few teams a hammering.

"And what better time to do it than against Victory."

News Corp Australia


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