Sydney FC out to exploit City 'weaknesses'

Dec 14, 2017 - 1:21 AM Graham Arnold has got Melbourne City all figured out, claiming he's identified considerable flaws ripe for exploitation in Friday night's heavyweight A-League clash.

And fresh off last weekend's 5-0 derby whitewash, the Sydney FC coach has declared his table-topping champions will take their football to a "frightening" new level at Allianz Stadium.

Arnold has become renowned for refusing to talk about the opposition as part of the Sky Blues' winning mentality.

But he made an exception for his interstate rivals ahead of a match in which star playmaker Milos Ninkovic is finally expected to return from injury.

"I've been analysing their weaknesses and I've seen quite a few, and we expect to expose those tomorrow night," Arnold said.

"We'll prepare properly and (ensure) the subconscious mind is clear with the right messages so the players are ready.

"It's no disrespect to anyone but I think tomorrow night will be our greatest performance of the season."

Warren Joyce has steered a defensively improved City into third spot despite off-field upheaval, including the departure of Tim Cahill and assistant coach Michael Valkanis, as the new manager beds in his new direction.

It's not helped their cause against Sydney, who dumped City out of the FFA Cup quarter-finals in September before snatching a 1-0 round-five A-League win at AAMI Park.

Arnold, who would not reveal City's specific weaknesses, said it was not so much about getting the wood over a traditionally tough opponent as it was his players' determination to be more ruthless.

Do so and Sydney go eight points clear at the summit and nine ahead of City, with second-placed Newcastle still to host Adelaide on Saturday.

"I'm really eager to see eventually where this team finishes in terms of quality," Arnold said.

"Even last week against the Wanderers we won by five but we should have won by 10.

"The execution I think is the most important thing for us at the moment, and I do believe that tomorrow night we'll execute at our greatest.

"When we do that, it will be frightening."


* Sydney FC have scored a league-high four goals within the opening 15 minutes of games this campaign

* Sydney defender Jordy Buijs has a passing accuracy of 88 per cent, the best of any player to have made at least 200 passes

* City have racked up 16 shots on target from outside the box, more than any other team and six more than Sydney FC

Source: AAP

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