Round 13 Match Preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Sydney FC

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It’s a little later this week than usual and a bit shorter preview but nevertheless, here we go.

Brisbane are back at Suncorp tomorrow night for the first time since early December. Don’t get too used to seeing them in person however, as after tomorrow night the next time they’ll play at home is February 2nd thanks to the Asian Cup. Until the last meeting up here in round 3, Sydney hadn’t picked up a win in Brisbane since 2007, so hopefully tomorrow night is the start of a run that is equally long.

These two sides are heading in opposite directions with Brisbane’s season heading in an upwards trajectory, with just one loss in the last five and the football has improved in the past couple of games. Sydney on the other hand started the season very strongly, however results in the last month have been poor and now they find themselves down in 5th spot, six points ahead of Brisbane.

Last time Sydney’s defensive press was a massive factor in their win, with the front third putting Jamie Young and the Brisbane defenders under huge pressure, and it was that pressure which resulted in the goals. Brisbane’s ball retention and movement has improved since that night, however I would be surprised if Arnold didn’t try to use similar tactics tomorrow night and how they handle that will be a key factor in the outcome.

Brisbane are expected to make just the one change to the side who drew 3-3 with Central Coast. Matt McKay has joined up with the Socceroos squad in Melbourne, with Luke Brattan set to overcome a hamstring injury to take the park tomorrow night. There’s an outside chance of a change on the bench with Brady maybe doing enough to take Kurtishi’s spot on the bench- but I think the Albanian will hold his place.

Expected Brisbane XI: Young, Bowles, North, Donachie, Brown, Sarota, Brattan, Lustica, Petratos, Solórzano, Henrique.
Substitutes: Acton, Stefanutto, Clut, Borrello, Kurtishi.
Omitted: Danning, Brady.

Sydney’s team is a little more uncertain, coming off back to back defeats and injuries to a number of key players give Graham Arnold a tough decision to make. He’s indicated that he’s going to have to change the system to suit the players that are available, so we’ll have to see what that means. My interpretation on that is he’s deciding on either 1 or two upfront, but time will tell.

Expected Sydney XI: Janjetovic, Bojic, Ryall, Petkovic, Gersbach, Dimitrijevic, Triantis, Grant, Ibini, Brosque, Janko.
Substitutes: Necevski, Calver, Gligor, Naumoff, Smeltz.
Omitted: Timotheou, Burgess.

Recent form:
Brisbane: DWLWD
Sydney: LLDLD

Top Goal-Scorer:
Brisbane: Henrique (7)
Sydney: Marc Janko (4)

This season:
Pre-season: Brisbane Roar 0-2 Sydney FC (Gameiro 25’, Janko 75’) Round 3: Brisbane Roar 0-2 Sydney FC (Janko 28’, Dimitrijevic 54’)

These two sides have already met twice this season, with the Sky blues taking the win on both occasions. Obviously with the first in pre-season it doesn’t count for a lot, but there was a trophy –Townsville Football Cup- on the end of that result and from the highlights it looked like Sydney had the better of the game.

When the two sides met in round three, it was a decided win for the visiting side, with their high defensive press almost completely nullifying Brisbane’s attacking style. The pressure that the Sydney front three put on Brisbane’s backline resulted in two goals, while Brisbane struggled to create chances at the other end of the park despite the endeavour still being there.

All-time record against Sydney FC:

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