Round 8 Preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Perth Glory

round-1

After last weeks dismantling of the Wanderers, Brisbane are home once again this weekend to take on the Perth Glory who have been solid but not spectacular to date. Both sides will be weakened with the host still missing Stefanutto, Miller and now North and Theo – which results in Matt Acton set to become the 100th player for Brisbane Roar, while Perth will miss captain Jacob Burns, marquee William Gallas and Scott Jamieson for the trip. The game also gives Brisbane a chance to equal their best even run of home wins -6- if they can get the maximum points. Not since the Frank Farina era has Brisbane –then Queensland- won 6 straight at home.

Form: (Last 5)
Brisbane: WLWWL
Perth: LDDWW

Top Goal scorer:
Brisbane: Henrique (3)
Perth: Nagai, Maclaren (2)

Brisbane:
Brisbane started in fantastic fashion last week against the Wanderers, effectively ending the contest inside the opening quarter of the game with their high defensive press and all around intensity. They got two goals, and in truth it could have been double that if not for wasted chances and good saves. From there however the Wanderers worked their way back into the game nicely and probably edged the contest from that point on, it was however a quality game from about the 25th minute onwards. If Brisbane can replicate that opening half hour again at any stage of tomorrow’s game they should prove too strong for the Glory.

One of the main reasons for the performance last week was the return of Besart Berisha, who looked hungrier than ever to score and when he’s in that sort of mood there’s not a defence in this league that can contain him. In addition to Berisha the midfield was back to its best last week and I think we saw for the first time this season what the first choice midfield will look like with Franjic and McKay flanking Brattan in the middle with imported stars Henrique and Broich causing chaos from the wide positions. In fact it was the defensive press from Berisha and McKay in particular that helped Brisbane jump out to that 2-0 advantage. And if all else fails, there’s always emerging star Kwame Yeboah to come off the bench.

This week it seemed like being an unchanged side up until this morning when news broke that Theo and North would be missing this game due to shoulder and groin injuries respectively. This means that Matt Acton will finally get the chance to make his Brisbane debut tomorrow, while Donachie will come back into the defence to partner Smith. Onto the bench will come youth league goalkeeper Fraser Chalmers, and in all likelihood one of Brandon Borrello or Devante Clut. Id give the edge to Borrello since he was named in the squad yesterday, and he’s coming off a two goal performance in the youth league last week, but it’s going to come down to what sort of player Mulvey wants in that last bench spot. Defender Lachlan Jackson may also be a chance to take that spot as defensive cover.

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

Perth:
Perth have been steady but not spectacular to start the season with just two wins from their opening 7 games, and they will be coming to Brisbane on the back of a last minute loss to Central Coast despite going ahead in the game. Perth’s road record and travelling woes have been well documented and it’s a trend that also is in Brisbane’s favour, however it’s worth pointing out that Perth won on their last trip to Brisbane. A goal from Steven McGarry gave the visitors a 1-0 win in Mike Mulvey’s first game as Brisbane boss.

From a tactical stand point Perth try to play a shorter passing, possession based game these days under Alistair Edwards who was with the Australian junior teams before taking the job, so it promises to be a good game between two sides who value the ball. Perth however aren’t afraid to be direct and when called for will not shy away from playing the ball in behind, especially in the wider areas for Sidnei and Nagai to chase. Their two major weaknesses this weak would be the reshuffled defence which could be exploited early on, and also the midfield. While Cameron and Ryan Edwards –yes the coaches sons- may be talented and have promise for the future, they are both young and inexperienced which is why im expecting it to be McGarry rather than O’Neill or Cernak to replace burns in there. With Brisbane’s quality and experience in McKay, Franjic and Brattan, possibly even Broich cutting inside from the left hand side, this is one area of the park Brisbane could look to exploit throughout the 90 minutes.

Perth won’t be helped in their quest to overturn their travel woes this week with key personnel William Gallas, Scott Jamieson and Jacob Burns all out. Marquee Gallas is expected to miss a couple of weeks with a calf injury, while Burns was suspended for two weeks for stamping and Jamieson is out for the season with an Achilles injury. Replacement wise veteran utility Steve Pantelidis will fill in at the heart of defence for Gallas and McGarry will likely come into the starting side to replace the suspended Burns. Left back is where Edwards has a choice to make with young defenders Jack Clisby and Riley Woodcock fighting for the spot, I’ve given it to Clisby purely on the basis of slightly more A-League experience but it could go either way. Some may be surprised to see Smeltz on the bench, but with youngster Jamie Maclaren in goal scoring form right now there’s no need to change. Speaking of the bench, Isaka Cernak is a chance of making his first appearance for Perth off the subs bench and will likely be joined by Smeltz, Harold, Duncan and whichever of Woodcock/Clisby that doesn’t start the game.

Expected Perth XI:
Vukovic, Davies, Pantelidis, Thwaite, Clisby, R. Edwards, C. Edwards, McGarry, Sciola, Nagai, Maclaren.
Substitutes: Duncan, Woodcock, Cernak, Harold, Smeltz.
Omitted: Zahra, O’Neill.

Stats:
Untitled

Kick-off is set down for 4.30pm tomorrow afternoon, and it could be difficult conditions which a late storm projected to hit Brisbane tomorrow. Don’t let that stop you from attending though because if there is rain level 6 of the Western Stand will be opened, and if you’d like to go but don’t have tickets, here’s the link. You can also watch live on Fox Sports 1 as part of the Matchday Saturday program, and also listen live on 612 ABC digital radio Brisbane.

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