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19 Jan 2018 7:01
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Soccer

    City's Arzani can handle the heat: Joyce

    Melbourne City whizkid Daniel Arzani has the chops to withstand extra attention from defenders after his stunning A-League form put a target on his back.


    Melbourne City young gun Daniel Arzani is more than equipped to handle the inevitable extra attention that will be coming his way after taking the A-League by storm in the last week, coach Warren Joyce says.

    Arzani, 19, has played a major role in reigniting City's season with starring performances in their two recent wins over Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory.

    The Sydney-born attacker, of Iranian descent, set up Ross McCormack for four goals across those two matches. His sheer determination to take on opposition defenders, and play the ball forward, have added an element of risk and excitement to a team that badly needed it.

    They represent his first real contributions in senior football after a string of brief substitute appearances last season and earlier this campaign.

    Other teams are bound to clamp down on him but ahead of Sunday's clash with Central Coast in Gosford, Joyce said Arzani was resolute enough to deal with it.

    "He's dealt with it all season in training anyway," Joyce said.

    "There's been a vast majority of the time when he's been on the other team playing against the first team in 11 v 11 games.

    "It's been good for him, playing against some good defenders. He's had some tough times in training, dealt with it well and came through it, and gave some problems to our defenders.

    "It's not a shock he's capable of doing that in first team games."

    But Joyce warned it was not healthy for City to lean so heavily on one player to create or score goals.

    "We can't just rely on one person which they've maybe done for the last three years here," he said.

    "If you look back, one person's tended to score all the goals. We need to chip in with more goals all around the team."

    City are seeking their third win in the space of eight days against the Mariners, who have plateaued over the holiday break scoring just one goal in total from their last six games.

    Already without their attacking fulcrum Daniel de Silva (Olyroos), Paul Okon's side will be further depleted on Sunday with Josh Rose and Andrew Hoole both suspended, while Connor Paine and Wout Brama are sidelined with hamstring injuries.

    But after watching Central Coast dominate without reward in Tuesday's F3 Derby against Newcastle, Joyce is wary.

    "They've maybe got a couple of injuries we're not quite sure of but they've got some quality players, who can hurt you and are capable of scoring goals out of nothing," he said.

    "They're not a team to be taken lightly."

    STATS THAT MATTER

    * Melbourne City are undefeated in their last seven games against the Mariners (W6, D1), after failing to pick up a win in their nine meetings prior.

    * The Mariners have conceded just six first-half goals this season, fewer than any other team in the competition.

    * Ross McCormack has recorded 11 shots on target from outside the box this season, two more than any other player.


    NZN




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