Round 22 Preview- Brisbane Roar vs. Western Sydney Wanderers

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Round 22 sees Brisbane begin a tough run of fixtures in the month of March with a home game against the Wanderers.

The two enter the clash on the opposite end of the spectrum, with Western Sydney sitting on top of the table on the back of a late winner against Perth, while Brisbane are currently on a three game winless run which has seen the side drop down to 3rd on the table.

Off the field this week things have gone well for the Roar, with the return of Socceroo Tommy Oar and the announcement of a new training and administration base in Logan, but on the park things have been below par of date.

Last week saw the Roar lose their second straight game, conceding nine goals along the way as Brisbane have began to slip away from the top of the league. With a tough run of fixtures coming up throughout March John Aloisi will no doubt be hoping for a win tonight.

Last week he made some bold choices at the selection table by leaving out Broich, so it will be interesting to see what he decides to do this week. It’s almost a must win game for the Roar though if they’re to finish in the top two.

Western Sydney meanwhile arrive on the back of a late winner against Perth which sees them enter March top of the table. Spanish trio Andreu, Dimas and Alberto have been at the core of the Wanderers turn-around this season, and after missing in recent weeks for various reasons all 3 are now once again available for the visitors.

A win here today will from the Wanderers perspective remove Brisbane from the premiership race and give them a 4pt lead over Adelaide at the top.

Brisbane Roar Squad
1) Michael Theo, 3) Shane Stefanutto, 5) Corey Brown, 7) Corona, 8) Steven Lustica, 9) Jamie Maclaren, 10) Henrique, 13) Jade North, 14) Daniel Bowles, 16) Devante Clut, 17) Matt McKay, 18) Javier Hervas, 19) Jack Hingert, 20) Shannon Brady, 21) Jamie Young, 22) Thomas Broich, 23) Dimitri Petratos, 28) Brandon Borrello.
*two to be omitted.

Western Sydney Wanderers Squad
2) Shannon Cole, 3) Scott Jamieson, 5) Brendan Hamill, 6) Mitch Nichols, 7) Romeo Castelen, 8) Dimas, 11) Brendan Santalab, 12) Scott Neville, 14) Golgol Mebrahtu, 15) Kearyn Baccus, 16) Jaushua Sotirio, 17) Alberto, 18) Andreu, 19) Mark Bridge, 20) Andrew Redmayne, 21) Jacob Pepper, 22) Jonathan Aspropotamitis, 30) Liam Reddy.

Expected line-ups
Brisbane Starting XI– Theo, Hingert, North, Bowles, Stefanutto, Petratos, Corona, McKay, Borrello, Broich, Maclaren.
Substitutes- Young, Brown, Lustica, Hervas, Henrique.
Omitted- Clut, Brady.

John Aloisi has some big decisions on his hands ahead of this one, with marquee man Thomas Broich surely set for a recall after a shock demotion last week. The additions of Lustica and Henrique for Broich and Petratos failed to bring the changes required and the duo should return this week.

At the back, while the team have been shipping goals regularly of late, Aloisi is set to stick with the same back four with both Donachie and DeVere out for the game. DeVere infact could be out for the season on the back of a serious groin injury last year. Matt McKay is also in doubt with his wife set to give birth to their first child at some point in the next 24 hours or so.

Western Sydney XI- Reddy, Neville, Aspropotamitis, Alberto, Jamieson, Dimas, Andreu, Nichols, Sotirio, Bridge, Castelen.
Substitutes- Redmayne, Hamill, Pepper, Mebrahtu, Santalab.
Omitted- Cole, Baccus.

Tony Popovic will be without captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Dario Vidosic for this game, which will mean the Wanderers depth will be tested. At the back Popovic will have to choose from the rarely used Brendan Hamill or youngster Jonathan Aspropotamitis who was sent off for a last man foul in his last game.

Upfront without Vidosic, Romeo Castelen looms as the most logical replacement, although it will no doubt be tempting to throw ‘super sub’ Brendan Santalab in from the start. Golgol Mebrahtu, who scored against the Roar in the FFA Cup in August will come onto the bench.

Recent form
Brisbane– LLDWW
West Sydney– WDLDW

Top Scorer
Brisbane– Jamie Maclaren (12)
West Sydney– Mitch Nichols (9)

All-Time Record against Western Sydney Wanderers

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