Lethargic Brisbane hand Western Sydney their debut win.

Brisbane Roar: 0
Western Sydney Wanderers: 1 (Bridge 18’)
Referee: Lucien Laverdure.
Crowd: 12, 663 at Suncorp Stadium.

Brisbane Roar:
Theo, Smith, Stefanutto, Jurman, Paartalu, Murdocca, Nichols, Halloran, Broich, Berisha.
Substitutions: Henrique for Murdocca (58’), Brattan for Paartalu (84’)
Un-used subs: Takahashi, Acton.
Yellow cards: Nil
Red Cards:
Nil
Western Sydney Wanderers:
Covic, Polenz, Topor-Stanley, Beauchamp, D’Apuzzo, Poljak, Mooy, Hersi, Ono, Bridge, Gibbs.
Substitutions: Trifiro for Ono (70’), Appiah-Kubi for Hersi (76’), Elrich for Bridge (82’)
Un-used subs: Tyson.
Yellow Cards: Bridge (37’), Mooy (45’), Beauchamp (90’)
Red Cards: Nil

Before dissecting the abject performance from Brisbane, I’ll first give huge credit to Tony Popovic and Western Sydney; I thought they were fantastic last night. They came with a very specific game plan and executed it impeccably. Their pressure off the ball was particularly noteworthy as they pushed up as a team in order to remain compact- at times they were pressing right up inside the 18 yard box, but they were smart enough to know when to do it, and when to drop off into their own half. That was probably the most complete defensive pressing Brisbane has come up against in the A-League. With the ball they were just as dangerous with Mooy, Hersi, Ono and Bridge in behind Gibbs upfront and the 5 of them were excellent in their movement, both in built up attacks and counter attacking movements and could have had more than the 1 they got.

 

The goal they did score was a combination of poor decisions by the Brisbane players. Firstly to allow Hersi that amount of space on the edge of the box wasn’t a great start, then for Bridge to get in between two defenders for a free header 5 yards from goal is even worse. From memory it was Hingert who was ball watching and unable to get off the ground to challenge Bridge. Add in that Stefanutto had come off his post in the action and it all adds up to a disappointing goal to concede.

Ok- now onto Brisbane, where do you start in analysing a performance that was abject in ever way imaginable? Brisbane dominated the possession and passing statistics last night but they did very little with the ball and a lot of those passes were Smith and Jurman just passing side to side. There almost seemed to be a lack of effort and desire amongst the players last night which is very un-Brisbane like.

I guess we’ll start at the back and to Theo’s credit he was the sole reason the score wasn’t worse as he made some impressive saves throughout the game. The defenders had more to do this week than in previous weeks and did their defensive duties reasonably well (the goal aside), it was their work with the ball which let them down. They’re not use to being under so much pressure playing out but that’s no excuse. The fullbacks got forward in their usual way but they had little to no effect in creating chances.

One of the features of Brisbane’s play this past 2 seasons has been Paartalu and his ability to control the game, and last night it just wasn’t there, I’ve never seen him turn the ball over so many times with such sloppy passes. Ok, he was pressured by Ono and Hersi a lot of the time but he’s use to receiving that pressure and still capable of passing the ball. Murdocca and Nichols didn’t have the greatest of games either but that was more due to the teams structure and system breaking down than anything they did. They’re both at their best on the transition and we had very few moments in transition throughout the game due to West Sydney’s pressure when they lost the ball.

 

 

The other feature of Brisbane’s play has been their ability to make well timed runs in behind the defence, and there was absolutely none of that last night. Nichols, Halloran and the fullbacks all tried to make penetrating runs in behind, but due to their compact defence and the ball skidding on the wet surface they never got in behind once. Speaking of Halloran- I’ve said this before but his decision making needs to improve as he’s still not on the same wave length as his teammates. He still seems to be just a little slow in seeing the pass which results in chances going missing.

 
Broich was well marked by the Polenz and the Wanderers midfielders but he’s received similar attention in the past and not looked as sub par as last night, absolutely nothing he tried worked.  He was also roaming from left to right constantly which resulted in a rather lop-sided until Stefanutto was able to get himself forward to support the attacks. I wouldn’t worry too much about Thomas though, in his 2 and a bit seasons in Orange he’s never put in a showing like that, and I don’t expect him to start now. Berisha was rarely sighted due to our inability to get the ball forward as often as usual which resulted in him dropping deep to try and maintain possession and get a touch of the ball. That helped a lot of the time to break the Wanderers pressure, but when he did that there was no outlet to play the ball to because he was back in the midfield line.

Henrique added a spark to the side when he came on and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see him coming into the starting line-up next week, most likely in place of Murdocca or Halloran. Other than that im not too sure there’ll be mass changes- Franjic will come back in (if fit) for Hingert and that’s probably it as none of the players in the youth side really did anything today to demand a 1st team spot (but more on that later).

Stats: (From Fox Sports Football)


Player ratings:
Brisbane: Theo 7, Hingert 6, Smith 6, Jurman 6, Stefanutto 6, Paartalu 5, Murdocca 5, Nichols 5, Broich 5, Halloran 6, Berisha 5, Henrique 6, Brattan 6.

West Sydney: Covic 7, Polenz 7, Beauchamp 7, Topor-Stanley 7, D’Apuzzo 7, Poljak 7, Mooy 8, Hersi 8, Ono 7, Bridge 8, Gibbs 7, Elrich 6, Appiah-Kubi 6, Trifiro 6.

 

Up next:
Brisbane are at home once again next Sunday against an Adelaide United side which has started the season in top form.

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