Hyundai A-League preview: Roar v Wanderers

It's three versus one in Brisbane. Roar may be in a mini-slump but there’s no time to feel sorry for themselves with league-leaders Western Sydney Wanderers in town aiming to move further clear in the Premiers’ Plate race.

MATCH DETAILS

Friday, 4 March 2016

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Kick-Off: 7:00 PM (Local) (8:00 PM (AEDT))

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.30pm (AEDT), SBS TWO from 7:30pm AEDT and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. Crocmedia A-League Live (www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio)

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #BRIvWSW

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets 

Brisbane Roar FC 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 (c), 18.Javier HERVAS, 19.Jack HINGERT, 20.Shannon BRADY, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 28.Brandon BORRELLO

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 16.Devante CLUT (promoted), 20.Shannon BRADY (promoted)

Brisbane Roar's Devante Clut celebrates scoring in his side's 3-0 win against Villarreal.

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 6.Jerome POLENZ (quadriceps - 3 weeks), 11.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO (quadriceps - 2 weeks)

Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 2.Shannon COLE, 3.Scott JAMIESON, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Romeo CASTELEN, 8.DIMAS, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 14.Golgol MEBRAHTU, 15.Kearyn BACCUS,16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.ALBERTO, 18.ANDREU, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 21.Jacob PEPPER, 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 30.Liam REDDY (gk)

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 5. Brendan HAMILL (promoted), 14.Golgol MEBRAHTU (promoted), 21.Jacob PEPPER (promoted), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS (promoted)

GolGol Mebrahtu

Outs: 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (suspended – 1 week), 10.Dario VIDOSIC (hamstring – 1 week)

Unavailable: nil

Referee: Ben Williams

Assistant Referee 1: Ashley Beecham

Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Lindsay

Fourth Official: Alan Milliner

#BRIvWSW

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

These two sides have genuine designs on the Premiership. 

Roar, now third, have hit some turbulence over the last over the last three weeks, picking up just one point from a possible nine, including a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Adelaide last weekend.

For a side that was leading the league a fortnight ago, John Aloisi’s men have dropped to third, now two points behind the second-placed Reds.

They are heading the wrong way at the worst possible time of the season.

Roar players look on following their 3-0 loss to Adelaide United.

Defence has been Brisbane’s biggest problem, shipping 11 in their last three outings. It’s not the type of form you want ahead of a clash with the Wanderers.

The Red and Black, who sit atop the league, stopped halted Glory’s record-breaking run with a 2-1 win last weekend thanks to super-sub Brendon Santalab’s late strike.

It was the type of win that all potential champions are adept at, finding a way to get the result despite being below their total best.

The two sides have met twice this season so far, with a win apiece.

Roar received a boost this week with the acquisition of Socceroo winger Tommy Oar on a two-and-a-half year deal, although he’ll have to wait another week to be involved in the squad.

Aloisi is unlikely to make too many changes to his starting XI although Thomas Broich may come in after starting on the bench against the Reds.

Suspension sees Wanderers skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley miss out with Brendan Hamill his most likely replacement. 

Hamill is hoping for a clash with Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Dario Vidosic’s hamstring strain will see him miss a week as well but they have a ready-made replacement in Romeo Castelen.

OPTA DATA

  • Brisbane Roar has won four of their last six Hyundai A-League matches (inc. finals) against Western Sydney Wanderers though they’ve lost two of their last three.
  • Western Sydney Wanderers have restricted Roar to only a single goal in six of their last eight league encounters.
  • Roar’s poor run of form has seen them lose their last two Hyundai A-League matches. A third straight loss would be their longest losing streak since they lost four in a row in March 2015.
  • Wanderers winger Romeo Castelen has conceded 16 fouls so far this season, the third most of any player yet to receive a yellow or red card (Stefan Mauk 18, Aaron Mooy 17).

ROUTE TO GOAL

Brisbane has been one of the A-League’s more impressive attacking forces this season but drew a blank last weekend for just the second time in six games.

Of most concern will have been a real lack of spark against Adelaide, which hasn’t been an issue at all this season.

Thomas Broich was left on the bench for that clash but you would expect the classy playmaker to come back into the XI and add some creativity to Roar’s front line.

Thomas Broich on the ball against the Reds.

Brisbane’s leading scorer Jamie Maclaren (12) has been a real thorn in the Wanderers side this season, scoring three times in two clashes and his pace and direct running will be called upon again.

For the Wanderers, they’ll again look to the creative quality of Mitch Nichols to unlock the home side’s shaky defence.

Along with Mark Bridge, the pair set-up both goals in the win over Glory and their ability to find pockets of space in the front third has been a huge feature of their success.

Popovic will be hoping Castelen’s goal last week will open the floodgates for the Dutchman, whose finishing has complemented his excellent approach play throughout 2015/16.

Romeo Castelen on the ball against Melbourne Victory.

And if all else fails, Santalab is in the wings, the striker having scored five of his six goals off the bench this season, including his last four in the 85th minute or later.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Brisbane Roar squad. Heavy back-to-back defeats have put the spotlight on the entire Roar team who appear to be hitting the wall at just the wrong time. They need a response or the Wanderers will make them pay.

FORM LINES

Roar: WWDLL

Wanderers: WDLDW

PREDICTION

Brisbane Roar 1-3 Western Sydney Wanderers

#BRIvWSW