Hyundai A-League Grand-Final Preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Perth Glory

 

It’s finally here! Orange Sunday II- The sequel is less than 48 hours away now and by this time Sunday we will have a 2011/12 Champion and the build up to the Grand Final is beginning to really ramp up now in both Brisbane and Perth. A little warning- this preview is longer than most with a more extensive breakdown of the 3 clashes this year, key players and both teams tactical plan.

 

**The below squads are not official as of Friday April 20 at 7.00pm, but the match officials are correct.

2012 Hyundai A-League Grand Final

Sunday April 22, 4.00pm

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Referee: Jarred Gillet

Assistant Referees: Matthew Cream, Matthew Cheeseman

Fourth Official: Ben Williams

Head-to-head: Played: 21 Wins: Brisbane 13, Perth 3, Draw: 5
Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Michael Theoklitos (GK), 2. Matt Smith ©, 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman, 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paaratlu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 9. Kofi Danning, 10. Henrique, 11. Issey Nakajima- Farran, 12. Matt Mundy, 14. Rocky Visconte, 16. Mohamed Adnan, 17. Mitch Nichols, 18. Luke Brattan, 19. Jack Hingert, 20. Andrew Redmayne (GK), 21. James Meyer, 22. Thomas Broich, 24. Nick Fitzgerald, 25. George Lambadaridis, 26. Corey Brown, 29 James Donachie, 30. Matt Acton, (GK), ?). Anthony Proia.
Coach: Ange Postecoglou

Perth Glory squad: 1. Danny Vukovic (GK), 2. Josh Mitchell, 3. Bas Van den Brink, 4. Billy Mehmet, 5. Steve Pantelidis, 6. Chris Coyne, 7. Jacob Burns ©, 9. Shane Smeltz, 10. Liam Miller, 11. Viktor Sikora, 12. Scott Neville, 13. Travis Dodd, 14. Steven McGarry, 15. Tommy Amphlett, 16. Evan Berger, 17. Todd Howarth, 18. Jesse Makarounas, 19. Joshua Risdon, 20. Neil Young (GK), 22. Adam Taggart, 27. Andrezinho, 30 Lewis Italiano (GK) 35. Dean Heffernan, ?) Brandon O’Neill, ?) Ndumba Makeche
Coach: Ian Ferguson

 

Season form:

Brisbane: WWWWDDWWLLLLLWDDWDLWWWWDDWWW

Perth: WWWLLLDLWLLLDDWWDWWWLWLWWLWWWW

 

Season record vs. Perth Glory:

Round 8: Brisbane Roar (Berisha 23’, 45’, Nakajima- Farran 34’, 42’) 4-0 Perth Glory

Round 15: Perth Glory (Dodd 16’, Sterjovski 24’, 79’) 3-3 Brisbane Roar (Nichols 40’, 69’, Paartalu 45’)

Round 23: Perth Glory 0-3 Brisbane Roar (Henrique 21’, Berisha 59, 63’)

 

 

Top scorers:

Brisbane: Besart Berisha (19)

Perth: Shane Smeltz (16)

 

Assists:

Brisbane: Thomas Broich (7)

Perth: Andrezinho (5)

 

All-time record against Perth Glory:

Total: Played 21: Won 13, Drawn 5, Lost 3. Goals for 48, Goals against 26.

 

At Suncorp Stadium:

Played 10: Won 6, Drawn 3, Lost 1. Goals for 25, Goals Against. 13.

 

Team News:

Projected Starting Line-ups:

 

Substitutes:
Brisbane:
Redmayne, Jurman, Brattan, Meyer, Fitzgerald

Omitted: Mundy, Visconte, Danning

 

Perth: Young, Mitchell, Neville, Howarth, McGarry

Omitted: O’Neill, Amphlett, Taggart

 

Brisbane are going into this with a clean bill of health –minus Jack Hingert who is out with an ankle injury- following the AFC Champions League game on Tuesday and the starting XI should be the same as it was against Ulsan unless somebody pulls up sore between now and Sunday.

 

On the bench three positions are basically set in stone with backup keeper Andrew Redmayne, midfielder Luke Brattan and versatile attack Nick Fitzgerald set to potentially play a role off the bench. It’s safe to assume imo that the 4th bench spot will go to a player to provide defensive cover meaning that one of Jurman or Mundy will on the bench- imo it will be Jurman given he’s been higher up the pecking order. The 5th and final could go in any direction- be it Kofi Danning, James Meyer, Rocky Visconte or even another defensive role but imo Danning and Meyer would be the frontrunners in the race. Purely based on him playing and doing alright in the ACL I’ve selected Meyer- but could go either way.

 

For Perth they have a completely different situation on their hands- not only are 1st teamers Chris Coyne and Viktor Sikora out injured but they’ve also got doubts over key midfield duo Liam Miller and Andrezinho. Id expect them to play given its their final game of the season- but just how effective they will be is still up in the air. Miller looked like he got through the 120mins last week fine so for me he’s probably approaching 100% but who knows with Andrezinho.

 

Assuming they’re both ready to go it’s very easy to predict for Perth- no changes. They could revert to a 4-5-1 like they did last time but that didn’t work for them and they’ve clearly found goal scoring form with the current 4-4-2 so I expect it to be the same. If they duo cannot play Howarth would come in for Andrezinho and McGarry would come in for Miller with some combination of O’Neill/Amphlett/Taggart sitting on the bench.

 

Recapping the season vs. Perth Glory:

1st Game: Going into the match all the talk was about making history with Brisbane 90 minutes away from breaking the record for longest unbeaten run for a professional football club in Australia with Glory being nothing more than some sort of a pushover, and that’s how it turned out with Brisbane romping to a 4-0 victory with braces from Issey and Berisha to break the record in style.

2nd Game:
This game was drastically different to the 1st with Brisbane playing a different formation without key playmaker Thomas Broich and producing a performance which Postecoglou famously called ‘cowardly’. The difference however wasn’t just down to Brisbane because Perth were far better in this match playing closer to their best than they were in round 8. The final score might have been 3-3 but in a moral sense it was probably a slight victory for Ferguson proving that he can match it.

 

3rd game: This one was different again with Brisbane coming right back into form following their mid-season form dip and ran out comfortable winners by 3-0 while playing the last 20 odd minutes a man down. While Brisbane did control this game almost in its entirit ands will give them tremendous confidence going into the final. Glory haven’t lost in 7 games since then – 1 loss in 10- so it could possibly be seen as a bit of an outlier.

 

Key players:

Brisbane:

 

Mitch Nichols: While he was ordinary in midweek, he’s been an ever-present in the starting side this season and his goals from midfield at crucial times have been important this season. Can rifle the ball in from 20yards or get on the end of a slick attacking move.

Thomas Broich:
The Johnny Warren medallist is the best player in the A-League right now and on his day is more than good enough to take a game over and win it on his own. Young Risdon on the right side of defence for Glory will have a tough time dealing with him.

 

Besart Berisha: In a league where we’ve seen some pretty good strikers –including one who will line up for Perth on Sunday- Besart Berisha is probably the best we’ve seen in this league. The golden boot winner with 19 goals this season says he’s fired up and ready to deliver in what is his 1st ever Cup Final.

 

Perth:

Bas van den Brink:The big Dutch defender has been a key cog in the Glory’s solid defence this season and also a big reason for their resurgence and unlucky not to be in the discussion for the team of the season. He’s marshalled the back four expertly this season imo, but will have a tough task with Berisha, Henrique and Broich as opponents this weekend.

 

Liam Miller:He may be a little injury prone but there can be no doubting the ability of the former Celtic and Manchester United man. Everyone likes to talk about Smeltz but the reality is that while he can create for himself, he is essentially a finisher- and it’s Miller who is the man most likely to put him into the goal scoring positions.

 

Shane Smeltz:The man who in most the media’s opinion Glory’s chances rest with, Smeltz has been outstanding for the Glory giving them their 1st regular goal scorer since the Despetovski and Mori days and is the player most responsible for bringing the ‘Glory Days’ back to Perth. Smith and Adnan will have to keep their eyes on him at all times.

 

Keys to the game:

 

The 1st key is going to be the opening exchanges and how well both sides settle into the game. I don’t think that one side has an advantage over the other here in that both teams have some experienced players to call upon. Brisbane has the Grand Final experience while Perth have some players with international and big game experience of their own.

 

From there the key for Brisbane will be to control the play like always and begin to wear down the Glory and begin to create some chances. You would expect that Brisbane is going to control both possession and territory like they do just about every match in the A-League, but they’ve got to make it count. Overlapping runs from the fullbacks (especially Franjic) and central midfielders making runs in behind the defenders will be key factors in Brisbane’s game play. Andrezinho likes to cheat in defence and not track back so the Franjic vs. Andrezinho matchup could be key for both sides

 

Defensively it’s important not to put too much emphasis on Smeltz- because if they focus too much on him the likes of Miller, Mehmet and the wide guys could cause the damage. The key from a defensive sense imo is to try and shut Miller out of the contest- he’s the creative link for the Glory and most of their good play comes through him. Between Paartalu, Murdocca and Nichols- one of them must stick on him.

 
For Glory- the 1st key for them is the a-ok on the fitness for Miller and Andrezinho because without them they’re not half the team given that they are the primary creators for Smeltz. From their it depends on how Ferguson wants to approach the game- is he going to sit back and try play on the counter attack, or does he want to go for it? I get the sense they’ll have a go and it’s in the wide areas –especially on their left where Franjic likes to bomb on for Brisbane- where they can have some joy. The biggest key however will ofcourse be how much ball they can get into the box for Smeltz and Mehmet. I can see them not creating atleast one good chance for Smeltz- its upto him to take it.

 

In a defensive sense they will need to shut down Erik Paartalu who for two seasons now has been the fulcrum through which all Brisbane attacks begin. It will be tough given that if they go with the expected 4-4-2 they’ll be outnumbered in CM and one of the wide guys or Mehmet will have to track him. Broich vs. Risdon is also a dangerous one for them given the German is hitting top form at the right time.

 

The beauty of football is that there is more than one way to play the game, and that will be on show Sunday afternoon as both sides have play in completely different formations and philosophies. We all know how Brisbane will play- they’ll play 4-3-3 with an emphasis on ball possession and playing out from the back. Perth on the other hand have settled on a 4-4 2 formation with perhaps a slightly more direct approach, but they can also bring the ball down and play in the front third. Everyone is suggesting this Grand Final comes down to Berisha vs. Smeltz- but in reality it’s more down to the two midfields and which can both create the chances, but also limit the chances for the opposition. Enjoy the Grand-Final everyone and with a bit of lucky- tomorrow at around 6.00pm we’ll be celebrating back to back championships.

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