Round 13 Match Preview: Melbourne Victory vs. Brisbane Roar

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After the Boxing Day demolition of Sydney FC, Brisbane are on the road once again this weekend against the Victory. Brisbane have a shocking record all up in Melbourne against the Victory, including failing to win at tomorrow’s venue against the Victory – they have beaten Heart at the Rectangle Stadium, but not Victory. All up Brisbane have beaten Victory just three times from 13 attempts in the Victorian capital, the last of which was back in 2008 when Minnieccon and Zullo gave Frank Farina’s side a 2-0 victory. In terms of goal scorers in this fixture, Melbourne’s Archie Thompson is the runaway leader with 10, while Besart Berisha (4) is the only Brisbane Roar player to score more than twice against the Victory.

Form:
Brisbane:
WLWWW
Melbourne: DWWLD

Top Scorer:
Brisbane:
Besart Berisha (5)
Melbourne: James Troisi (7)

Brisbane:
After last weeks complete display against Sydney, there seems to be very little reason for change for Mike Mulvey. However unfortunately for him young defender James Donachie has picked up an injury and is set to miss a month of football, while fellow youngster Kwame Yeboah has completed his transfer to German side Borussia Monchengladbach.

Replacement wise there seems to be a bit of a dilemma for Mulvey with both Corey Brown and Diogo Ferreira in line to play at left-back. The fact that Mulvey hasn’t automatically said that Brown will return to the side to me suggests that Ferreira is in line for his first start in Brisbane colours. In addition to that decision, Mulvey must also decide which of the clubs youngsters to promote to the substitute bench after Yeboah left for Germany and Berisha, Stefanutto and Donachie out injured. The contenders for the role would be Julius Doe, Devante Clut, Ben Litfin and Patrick Theodore. Litfin, Clut and Theodore have been regular starters for the Youth Side this year, while Doe has been out for most of the season with just a couple of substitute appearances lately. I’ve got Clut in the list, but it could be any of them.

Expected Brisbane line-up:
Theo, Franjic, North, Smith, Ferreira, Miller, Brattan, McKay, Petratos, Broich, Henrique.
Substitutes: Acton, Hingert, Brown, Clut, Borrello.

Melbourne:
The Victory have played pretty well this season under new coach Kevin Muscat and last week they played well to earn a point off the Wanderers. They’ve played some good football at times this season, with midfield duo Mitch Nichols and James Troisi producing some solid form which in former Brisbane man Nichols’ case has attracted the interest of international clubs. Marquee defender Pablo Contreras has been ruled out of the game this week with a thigh strain and will be replaced in the side by young defender Nick Ansell. Archie Thompson will also continue to miss for the Victory as he struggles to return from a hamstring injury. That reportedly will result in Brazilian midfield Gui Finkler making his first start of the season in place of Connor Pain who is set to be dropped to the bench.

Expected Melbourne XI:
Coe, Geria, Ansell, Leijer, Traore, Milligan, Broxham, Nichols, Troisi, Finkler, Barbarouses.
Substitutes: Thomas, Galloway, Mahazi, Pain, Nabbout.
Omitted: Jeggo.

So far this season:

Round 3: Melbourne Victory (Troisi 58’) 1-0 Brisbane Roar.
All of the talk around this game was in relation to former Brisbane boss Ange Postecoglou coaching his final game for the Victory before becoming the Socceroos boss. The game itself was a good one with both sides playing some impressive football. Brisbane played well in the wider areas but with the absence of Berisha there was a lack of cutting edge in the front third. Victory meanwhile played well on the counter attack and finished the game off through Troisi after a sloppy pass from defence to midfield from Brisbane. Berisha is once again absent through injury, however with Broich as a false #9 dropping in with Henrique and Petratos making runs from outside to in, Brisbane looks on paper at least to be a more dangerous attacking side than in round 3.

All-time record with Melbourne Victory:
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It could be a wet day tomorrow in the Victorian capital with showers and 21 degrees the expected forecast. A large number of Brisbane fans have made the trip as part of the Den’s annual crusade; however for those who remain in Brisbane, kick-off is from 6.45 pm on Fox Sports 1.

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