2016-17 A-League Round 16 Preview- Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar

Brisbane Roar will be looking to snap a three game losing streak this weekend, but in order to do so they’ll need to beat a Wellington side which has won their last two games and has just one loss in their last seven games.

Last weekend in Melbourne, John Aloisi side put in a valiant fight back after going three goals down, but it wasn’t to be as they were made to pay for individual errors. Their inability to break down a team down to 10 men and sitting deep was once again on show, with Brisbane struggling to create clear chances against the undermanned Victory side.

Much has been made of Brisbane’s lack of chances in the final third this season, but less attention is being paid to the other end of the park, where Brisbane nine goals in their last four games which is the most in the competition over that timeframe.

This weekend as mentioned they’re making their only trip across the Tasman for the season to take on a Wellington side who are hitting form under new boss Des Buckingham.

The good news for Brisbane is that Westpac Stadium has almost been a home away from home, with the Roar losing just two of eleven games played at the venue -5 wins-. In the John Aloisi era however Brisbane returned home with just one point from two trips last season.

What have they done lately?
Wellington have had an up and down season so far in 2016-17, with Ernie Merrick announcing his resignation after the Nix lost six of their first eight games. Since then under the tutelage of Des Buckingham and Chris Greenacre, Wellington have lost just one of their last seven matches as they’ve moved from the bottom of the ladder into a finals place.

This week has been a big one for the Phoenix as they reach the end of a stretch where they’ve hosted three games in seven days. Wins over Central Coast (1-0) and Melbourne Victory (3-0) have both set a marker down about Wellington’s ambitions for the second half of the season and seen them enter the A-League’s top six for the first time this season.

Recent Form
Wellington-
WWLDD
Brisbane- LLLDW

Top Scorer
Wellington-
Roy Krishna (8)
Brisbane- Jamie Maclaren (7)

Expected Line-ups
Brisbane-
Theo, Hingert, North, DeVere, Brown, McKay, Kristensen, Petratos, Borrello, Oar, Maclaren.
Substitutes- Young, Bowles, Pepper, Arana, Katebian.
Omitted- Broich, D’Agostino.

After last weeks selection surprise it’s unclear how John Aloisi’ side will line up this for this clash, however if reports of Thomas Broich not making the trip are true, there will be atleast one change to the squad.

With this news in mind, there looks to be an opportunity for either Joey Katebian or Nicholas D’Agostino this weekend to make the matchday squad, with Katebian the likely frontrunner.

The big question this week however surrounds Jamie Maclaren and if he will return to starting line-up. Manuel Arana –who started in his place last week- struggled in the role before being replaced early in the second half, and while Maclaren wasn’t at his sharpest either, it’s likely that he returns to the side this week. Especially if Katebian or D’Agostino are infact promoted into the matchday squad.

Wellington- Moss, Tratt, Rossi, Durante, Doyle, Lia, Finkler, Bonevacia, Krishna, Barbarouses, Smeltz.
Substitutes- Italiano, Lowry, Rodriguez, McGlinchey, Watson.
Omitted- Parkhouse.

Wellington are unlikely to make mass changes on the back of two straight wins, although there could be some freshening up of the side given it will be the Nix’ 3rd game in 7 days.

Gui Finkler and Michael McGlinchey would be the most likely additions to the starting line-up in this case, although it’s highly likely that new boss Des Buckingham will stick with what has worked so far.

This season against Wellington Phoenix
In what is one of the quirks of the A-League draw, this is the first time these two sides have met this season

All-Time record against Wellington Phoenix

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