Round 11 Match Preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Melbourne Victory.

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It’s game day, and it’s time for ‘Brisbane vs. Ange II’ as the media has tried to build it up this week, and thankfully this time Brisbane as a club have said nothing to stoke the fire. They were also trying to spin this as ‘do or die’ in order to make the finals, which I disagree with given the league is so tight and they’re still close enough to speak in. However if they’re going to do anything of note this season they do need to start picking up points, and quick. Last game’s 5-0 romp is no true indication of the true difference between the two sides and we should get a clearer indication tonight. The form line of the two sides since that night at Suncorp couldn’t be more different with Victory beginning to play in the Postecoglou way, while Brisbane have stuttered to 9th place and just 3 wins out of 10 games.

 

 

Likely line-ups:
Brisbane:
Theo, Hingert, Franjic Smith, Stefanutto, Paartalu, Murdocca, Henrique, Halloran, Broich, Berisha.
Subs: Acton, Jurman, Nichols, Meyer.
Omitted: Dong-Hyun, Fitzgerald, Takahashi.

 

 

Melbourne: Coe, Ferreira, Franjic, Leijer, Traore, Milligan, Celeski, Finkler, Flores, Rojas, Thompson.
Subs: Velaphi, Bru, Markelis, Nabbout.
Omitted: Jeggo, Dilevski, Gallagher, Broxham, Cernak

 

 

Top Scorers:
Brisbane:
Besart Berisha (5)
Melbourne: Marco Rojas (6)

 

 

Most Assists:
Brisbane: Thomas Broich (3)
Melbourne: Guilherne Finkler (5)

 

 

Season Record against Melbourne Victory:
Round 2:Brisbane Roar (Broich, Paartalu, Berisha x2, Nichols) 5-0 Melbourne Victory

 

 

Recent form:
Brisbane:
LWLWL
Melbourne: LWWDW

 

Starting with Brisbane, last week they continued their horrid record on the road this season with another loss to Western Sydney. The road record this year has been as bad as it ever has for Brisbane in the A-League era, and they’re especially bad in Melbourne over that course of time. To take this line of thought one step further they also have a very poor record at AAMIPark with just the one win out of 5 trips to the venue- and that came against the Heart.

 

 

The positive news however is they do have some defensive re-enforcements with Captain Matt Smith and Ivan Franjic both returning from national team duty. Just how fresh they are after 4 games in a week is the question however, as Richard Garcia of the Heart couldn’t get through more than a half of their loss last night, and Scott Jamieson looked fatigued in Perth’s win. But nevertheless it’s a safe assumption that they’ll both be in the starting line-up tonight, and most likely they’ll be partnering each other in the heart of defence. Hingert has looked solid enough at right back while Jurman has been anything but convincing in recent weeks which means Franjic will have to take one for the team and move inside to CB again.

 

 

Last time against the Victory, Brisbane obviously looked very good and it was perhaps the only time we’ve seen Rado’s innovation of ‘playing more direct when necessary’ with the third goal being a prime example of that. Halloran also had a field day with all the space Traore was affording him but I don’t expect him to be given that much freedom tonight. I think Brisbane’s best chance at getting the result tonight is to get back to the Roar of old so to speak. They did so in the 2nd half last week against Western Sydney and while they lacked conviction and confidence in the final third they looked far better doing so than just playing it over the top for Halloran. Speaking of Ben I thought the idea of switching him at times worked well last week and it’s worth persisting with again.

 

 

Moving onto the Victory and it’s fair to say they’re not the team they were in round 2, and they’ve improved in leaps and bounds since with Ange beginning to get them playing the football he wants. In round 2 their defence could best be described as a shambles with nobody seeming to understand the defensive pressure and positioning all across the park. Since that night they’ve improved drastically with Leijer and Franjic doing reasonably –more so Leijer- and the Fullbacks (Ferreira and Traore) have done well. I was hoping ex-Roar NYL defender Jason Geria would walk right into their staring line-up, but there’s reports in the Melbourne press Ange is going to spring a surprise by picking Nick Ansell from their NYL side in the 1st team tonight to partner Leijer. We shall see.

 

 

In midfield they desperately missed Milligan last time and he’s been a solid player in the holding midfield role chipping in with a couple goals from set pieces. Broxham, Bru and Celeski have been ok so far but nothing special with Celeski seemingly the preferred of the trio. In terms of the creative side, Finkler leads the league in assists and has settled in now after a difficult start while Flores has picked up where he left off with Adelaide.

 

Upfront is where they’ve surprised with Rojas suddenly looking like the player he was for the Phoenix before he made the move to Melbourne. Thompson has done his usual thing and the duo are working well as wingers/wide strikers, especially on the counter attack so Brisbane’s defence had better make sure they don’t leave any spaces for them to exploit. The biggest surprise is Andrew Nabbout, who surprisingly made his debut up here in round 2 and looked ok but nothing special. Since then however he’s gone on to become a revelation culminating with a late rescue act away to Sydney. The three of them all work well with each other and are extremely dangerous, and when you add in Finkler and Flores they’re very dangerous going forward. The other thing they are is versatile, with the ability to move into the space in between defenders and pick teams apart with intricate tight passing.

 

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