2016-17 Round 8 Preview- Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar

It’s been an interesting week for Brisbane Roar with off-field striker issues dominating the headlines ahead of this Round 8 fixture.

After the early week saw Robbie Keane linked as a potential January marquee arrival, the last 24 hours or so has been dominated by Brisbane’s current striker Jamie Maclaren whose representatives were unhappy with the contract offer presented them by the Roar.

While the Maclaren contract situation could potentially become an on-field distraction in future weeks, I doubt were anywhere near that stage yet and it’s more likely that Brisbane’s #9 will be hungry to prove a point this weekend.

In terms of the on-field situation last week was a mixed performance for the Roar who fought back into the game after a sluggish against Sydney FC to pick up a point, largely due to Sydney’s inability to take their chances and the goalkeeping of Michael Theo.

The second half performance however was better and showed that Brisbane are once again in contention for silverware this season as they stretched the league leaders in what was the Roar’s toughest test of the season so far.

While tonight’s clash with the Wanderers wont be as big of a test on the field, it’s an important one for a number of reasons. Firstly, a win would send Brisbane into second place on the table for the time being, and perhaps more importantly for John Aloisi’ side they need a win away from home to boost their confidence away from Suncorp Stadium.

So far in the Aloisi era Brisbane have won just four road games, two of which came against Central Coast Mariners so a big win on the road against a perennial finals contender would be a timely boost.

What have they done lately?
Western Sydney are in the middle of a baron run of results so far this season with just one win in their first seven fixtures which sees the Wanderers enter the round clash in 7th place after earlier results this weekend.

A big part of the problem for Tony Popovic’s side has been their form at their home ground where the Wanderers have drawn three straight games at a ground where the atmosphere isn’t as intense as Parramatta Stadium which is in the early stages of its redevelopment.

In addition to their home form, Western Sydney will no doubt be looking for more from their attacking players, with Jumpei Kusukami and Nicolas Martinez both showing signs following their off-season arrivals but are yet to find the mark. The same can be said of Kerem Bulut, with the controversial striker struggling to have an impact so far this season although he was incorrectly ruled offside last week against Melbourne City.

Despite all of that Western Sydney still have their threats about them, and similarly to last season a lot of that starts with Mitch Nichols who lead the team to the Grand Final last year with his performances, and the team played well enough against Melbourne City to suggest they could be ready to turn their form around.

Recent Form
Brisbane-
DDWWW
Western Sydney-
DLDDD

Top Scorer Brisbane-Jamie Maclaren, Thomas Kristensen (2)
Western Sydney- Brendon Santalab (4)

Team News
Brisbane Roar
1) Michael Theo, 3) Luke DeVere, 4) Daniel Bowles, 5) Corey Brown, 7) Thomas Kristensen, 7) Jacob Pepper, 8) Jamie Maclaren 10) Brett Holman 11) Tommy Oar, 13) Jade North, 15) Manuel Arana, 16) Nathan Konstandopoulos, 17) Matt McKay, 19) Jack Hingert, 21) Jamie Young, 22) Thomas Broich, 23) Dimitri Petratos, 33) Joey Katebian.
*Two to be omitted.

As mentioned above Jamie Maclaren has been in the headlines this week for his contractual statues but perhaps more importantly he will likely regain his starting place this weekend against Western Sydney side he dominated last season with 7 goals in 4 games.

The question of who makes way to accommodate the return of Maclaren will likely come down to two, with Thomas Broich or Dimitri Petratos the most likely, with Tommy Oar and Brett Holman seemingly entrenched in their starting roles.

The other potential issue to keep an eye on for Brisbane is the fitness of Thomas Kristensen who went off at half time with hamstring tightness. The Danish midfielder, who is Brisbane’s equal top scorer this season, has been named in the squad though and seems set to play. Should he not play however a reprisal of the second half formation against Sydney is likely with Holman, McKay & Petratos as the midfield trio.

Expected Brisbane XI- Theo, Hingert, DeVere, North, Brown, Kristensen, McKay, Petratos, Holman, Oar, Maclaren.
Substitutes- Young, Bowles, Arana, Broich, Katebian

Western Sydney Wanderers
1) Jerrad Tyson, 3) Jack Clisby, 5) Brendan Hamill, 6) Mitch Nichols, 7) Steven Lustica, 8) Dimas Delgado, 9) Kerem Bulut, 10) Nicolas Martinez, 11) Brendon Santalab, 12) Scott Neville, 13) Bruno Pinatares, 14) Jumpei Kusukami, 15) Kearyn Baccus, 16) Jaushua Sotirio, 16) Artiz Borda, 18) Robert Cornthwaite, 20) Andrew Redmayne, 22) Jonathon Aspropotamitis.
*Two to be omitted.

The Wanderers team selection is a little harder to read as there’s potential for Popovic to make like for like changes throughout the spine of his side, however it’s most likely that he will make just the one change with Santalab a likely starter in place of Bulut. That means the likes of Cornthwaite, Baccus and Redmayne will likely have to continue to bide their time.

Expected Western Sydney XI- Tyson, Neville, Borda, Aspropotamitis, Clisby, Pinatares, Dimas, Nichols, Kusukami, Martinez, Santalab.
Substitutes- Redmayne, Hamill, Baccus, Sotirio, Bulut.

Stats, Facts & Figures
Jamie Maclaren has an excellent goalscoring record against the Wanderers, with seven goals in four clashes against Western Sydney in the league last season.

– Brisbane have won just twice in nine trips to Western Sydney in all competitions, which is their second worst record away from home behind trips to AAMI Park to play Melbourne City.

– Spotless Stadium will be the 29th different stadium that Brisbane Roar has played a competitive game in (All Comps), and the 19th different venue they’ve played an A-League match in.

All-Time Record against Western Sydney Wanderers

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