Match Preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Melbourne Heart

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It’s a little later this week due to other commitments, and it’s probably a bit shorter than most weeks, but here it is- the round 4 match preview.

Recent form:
Brisbane: WWL
Melbourne: DDL

Brisbane:
The buzz word for Brisbane this week has been injures with 5 of the clubs regular starters either officially ruled or, or missing from part of the week with various issues. Just to recap: Stefanutto is out with a hamstring injury, and will join Berisha who is still out, and Miller on the sides after he picked up a calf strain last Friday night. In addition to that Brattan has had a quiet week on the training park after picking up a knock on his tibia against the Victory, while Franjic was struck down by the flu. In addition to all of that squad members Kofi Danning and George Lambadaridis are out for the foreseeable future.

As far as replacements go, the obvious ones are that Corey Brown will slot in at left back in place of Stefanutto, while Kwame Yeboah will continue to deputise for Berisha. He’s copped a fair bit of commentary in the past week, but I thought he played reasonably well given the circumstances against a strong Victory side, and should put in another solid shift against a Heart side missing half of it’s new defensive pairing. In the midfield, things are a little more complex, but I suspect that either Diogo Ferreira will play in the middle in a more defensive role, or Franjic will move into the middle with Petratos wide right. My gut feeling Petratos will start the game. Youngster Brandon Borrello and Diogo Ferreira could be in line to make their debuts off the bench.

Expected Brisbane XI:
Theo, Hingert, North, Smith, Brown, Brattan, Franjic, McKay, Petratos, Broich, Yeboah.
Substitutes: Acton, Donachie, Ferreira, Henrique, Borrello.

Melbourne:
Heart aren’t without their own injury issues with key signings Harry Kewell and Patrick Kisnorbo both ruled out of the game for Melbourne. That should result in Patrick Gerhardt slotting in next to Dutch import Rob Wielaert in the Heart defence, while David Williams will likely continue in the #10 role behind Maltese international Michael Mifsud. It will be something of a reunion tomorrow with a host of former Brisbane players set to take the field for the Heart, headlined by foundation player Massimo Murdocca making his first trip back to Brisbane.

Heart are winless going into this game, but they’ve played some decent football in the opening weeks of the campaign. They started out with the slightly dour derby against the Victory, where they kept a free flowing Victory to a clean sheet, before putting in a very solid showing against the Mariners at home in round 2. Their road woes however still appear no closer to being fixed with the Red and White half of Melbourne still winless on the road since late 2011. They are however very pacy in the front third with Mebrahtu and Williams in particular.

Expected Melbourne XI:
Redmayne, Hoffman, Gerhardt, Wielaert, Behich, Murdocca, Ramsay, Migliorini, Mebrahtu, Williams, Mifsud.
Substitutes: Velaphi, Mitchinson, Mauk, Dugandzic, Kalmar.

Last season vs. Melbourne Heart:
last yr

Heart had the better of this fixture last season, with two wins in the Victorian capital, including the infamous 4-1 loss which then coach Rado Vidosic called ‘garbage’. Brisbane had the last laugh in this fixture however, with win in round 26 at home putting themselves in pole position for the finals, and the Heart officially out of the running.

All time record against Melbourne Heart:
all time

Heart 1

At Lang Park:
home record

Top scorers in this fixture:
scorers

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