Preview: Brisbane Roar v Adelaide United

In a weird way, the Roar's shockingly bad performance against Western Sydney might just be the best thing that's happened to them so far this season.

Date: Sunday 4 November, 2012 Kick-off: 5.00pm AEST, 4.00pm local Venue: Suncorp Stadium

Head-to-head Played: 22 Wins: Brisbane 6, Adelaide 8, Draws: 6

Previous encounter Brisbane 1, Adelaide 1, 11 March 2012

Form: Past five matches: Brisbane: LWDL Adelaide: WWLW

The Game Three wins from the first month of the new season has Adelaide United perched atop the A-League ladder. They don't particularly look like they want to move from there, either.

John Kosmina's move to revitalise what was a tired old Reds squad last season has paid off, immensely. The new imports - Jeronimo Neumann, Marcelo Carrusca, Fabio Ferreira - all bring something new to the table.

Adelaide are no longer a hit-and-hope team - Kosmina's coaching badge refresher course has helped him turn United into a side that could turn out to be the surprise packets of the season.

Yes, it is very early days, but they have no reason to fear Brisbane this week, either.

First of all, their record against the A-League heavyweights is terrific. Second, the Roar aren't really in great touch at the moment, with only one win so far, two losses and, of most concern, the fact that they've scored in just two of four games this term.

That means Brisbane Roar, the champions of possession football, arguably the most lethal team in A-League history, have been unable to hit the back of the net on a regular basis in 2012/13. That's not right.

Both teams are just about at full strength - only Adelaide's Jon McKain (knee) and Brisbane's Ivan Franjic (stomach) have injury clouds hovering above them - so this looms as the perfect opportunity to find out if the Reds' rise or the Roar's slump is legit.

The big issue Brisbane - What on earth happened last week? The Roar have never, ever looked as off the boil as they did against Western Sydney - not even during last season's uncharacteristic five-game losing streak.

It's not even as if they have a history of being undone by organised, disciplined teams who set up to frustrate and then spring into action on the counter. It's just that the two-time A-League champions looked like an empty shell of the team they're expected to be.

They still saw plenty of the ball but couldn't do anything with it. Pass after pass was either cut out or misdirected. Thomas Broich had one of his worst games since coming to Australia, Besart Berisha had nothing to do and even Erik Paartalu was silenced.

Perhaps the Roar were finally feeling the effects of trips to Perth and Wellington in the first three weeks of the competition. Or perhaps the gap is closing on Brisbane, and the 5-0 win over Victory was an anomaly. Time will tell, but Rado Vidosic must turn things around quickly.

Adelaide - How will Jeronimo Neumann respond? In the space of one week, the diminutive Argentine has gone from one of most beloved and dynamic new players in the A-League, to one branded a "cheat" and a "diver" by not just Andrew Durante and Ricki Herbert, but a host of armchair critics as well.

Whatever your take on the incident last weekend that saw Wellington's Ben Sigmund red carded and an appeal to overturn it rejected, the fact is that Neumann has not been sanctioned and he is free to play. He remains an extremely dangerous player, having scored two and set up the other in the 3-1 win over the Phoenix.

But what happens now? Is the controversy going to affect his game? Are referees going to start thinking of him as the boy who cried contact? Or does he have a point to prove?

Gamebreaker Osama Malik. If this game is anything like the Wanderers' visit to Suncorp Stadium, where the competition's new kids kept things tight, won the ball then played smart counter attacking football, then Adelaide's midfield metronome needs to have a massive influence.

He is United's answer to Erik Paartalu - a player who can collect the ball from his defence and spray passes ahead of him to start attacking moves. But he can also set the tone of the game in the face of incessant pressure.

John Kosmina considers him a future Socceroo and it's not hard to see why. If he has a big game here, it'll go a long way towards an Adelaide upset.

Prediction Brisbane 2-1 Adelaide. In a weird way, the Roar's shockingly bad performance against Western Sydney might just be the best thing that's happened to them so far this season.

It should serve as a wake-up call to Rado Vidosic and his men that the gap is closing in the A-League, so anything other than 100 per cent commitment to the cause is unlikely to get them over the line.

The Brisbane boys know it wasn't good enough and they've shown over the past two seasons an ability to turn things around. A full week's rest at home, on the back of a nightmare schedule across the opening month, should see them back to their best.

Adelaide, on the other hand, were great against Wellington - but the red card incident and Cassio's offside goal helped swing the match their way. Can they do it all on their own at Fortress Suncorp? Maybe. But it will take another offbeat Roar performance, and they don't often happen two weeks in a row.