Match Preview: Melbourne Victory vs. Brisbane RoarPosted: October 25, 2013
Round 3 kicks off tonight with Brisbane heading south to Melbourne to take on the Victory after a resounding 4-0 win over Sydney FC last weekend. Brisbane have been dominant against the Victory in recent times, having not lost to Melbourne since Round 5, Season 6 (8 games: won 4, drawn 4). They do however a less than impressive record at Docklands, with just two wins from eight trips to the venue.
Brisbane were impressive last week against what was a poor Sydney side, and they’ll face a much sterner test tonight in Melbourne. All of the hallmarks of a typical Brisbane performance were on show: playing out from the back, quick passing, lots of chances, goals and pressure from the front without the ball. Injury to Berisha aside, perhaps the only thing that is of slight concern is the relative ineffectiveness and influence of new signing Liam Miller, who has had two quiet games so far. The return of Matt McKay at his best however has made up for that.
The big news for Brisbane this week is that they’ll be missing Besart Berisha for the clash, with the striker ruled out with a slight hamstring injury. Brisbane will no doubt miss the Albanian and have a horrible record without him. They do however have a few options as outlined earlier in the week. Marco has speculated in the paper today that it will be Henrique coming into the side tonight to fill the void, ahead of youngster Kwame Yeboah. If true, don’t expect Henrique to last the full game, as he’s still recapturing his fitness. That looms as the only change to the starting line-up for what appears to be a settled starting XI for Brisbane.
Expected Brisbane XI: Theo, Hingert, Smith, North, Stefanutto, Brattan, McKay, Miller, Franjic, Broich, Henrique.
Substitutes: Acton, Donachie, Brown, Petratos, Yeboah.
Despite only getting a draw in the last minute, Melbourne were impressive last weekend against Adelaide. They perhaps started the slower of the two sides, but Adelaide were given two highly debatable calls in their favour leading to one goal for them, and one disallowed for Victory. Despite that, they played some extremely slick attacking football in the second half and the introduction of Barbarouses, Finkler and Troisi made a massive impact.
They’ve had something of a disrupted week however, with their coach Ange Postecoglou spending a lot of the week in negotiations to leave the club and coach the national team. Ange is still coaching tonight, and will typically not make any excuses, but it could affect the preparations of his side. Other than that they too look a settled side, however they will no doubt be tempted to bring in some of the attacking flair that won them a point last week.
Melbourne will continue to play there 4-2-2-2 formation with Broxham and Milligan playing a duel holding role, with former Brisbane attacker Mitch Nichols partnering James Troisi as the duel attacking midfielders. Thompson and Pain will play as the nominal strikers, however as usual they will be deployed more in wide areas and make outside to in runs. Expect lots of movement off the ball and lots of short passing from the Victory.
Expected Melbourne XI: Coe, Geria, Ansell, Leijer, Traore, Broxham, Troisi, Milligan, Nichols, Thompson, Pain.
Substitutes: Thomas, Gallaway, Nabbout, Finkler, Barbarouses.
Omitted: Jeggo, Mahazi
Brisbane had the better of the Victory last season, with a resounding 5-0 win in round 2, followed up by a pair of 1-1 draws. The 5-0 win is a bit misleading given the ‘revenge’ factor or whatever you want to call it, and the fact Melbourne were a work in process. The two meetings later in the season were a more accurate reflection of the two teams.
Its fine if not slightly cold down in Melbourne today, and with the ends brought in closer to the field it should be a good atmosphere tonight. Reminder that you can catch the game live on Fox Sports from 5.30 Brisbane time (kickoff 6.30), and on 612 ABC Radio Brisbane. You can also watch Brisbane live on free to air television tonight- with coverage on SBS2.