Preview: Brisbane Roar v Gold Coast United

It’s the M1 Derby! Prepare for a Christmas cracker as title-favourites Roar aim to finally beat rivals United

Brisbane Roar v Gold Coast United Sunday 26th December 6:15pm It-s the M1 Derby! Prepare for a Christmas cracker as title-favourites Roar aim to finally beat rivals United. Be a part of the drama!

What a difference a year makes. Last Boxing Day, Brisbane Roar - in sixth place on the ladder - visited Gold Coast United and, despite taking the lead, were absolutely destroyed 5-1. The defeat was the beginning of the end of their season; it was a decline that saw them slip to a ninth-place finish.

Fast-forward 12 months from that miserable loss, and Roar are odds-on favourites to finish top of the pile, having ripped through the first two-thirds of their campaign in style. In the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season, it has been Brisbane dishing out the 5-1 hidings rather than receiving them.

Last week-s first-ever win in Townsville saw Brisbane extend their record-breaking unbeaten run to an astonishing 17 games.

With one loss in the 22 matches they have played in the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season, all Ange Postecoglou needs to do for the remaining eight games is keep the ship nice and steady and, barring any titanic slip-ups, Roar will surely be celebrating an incredible turnaround by finishing top of the ladder.

However, if they can win their few games in hand, this week-s opponents, Gold Coast United, aren-t actually that far away from being in position to catch up with Roar. While this might seem unlikely, victory at Suncorp would be the perfect way to begin trying to close the gap.

If they can beat Roar and use it as a springboard for the remainder of their campaign, then their last match of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season - a repeat of this weekend-s match-up - could prove to be very interesting indeed.

So far though, it-s not been the festive period that Gold Coast United would have hoped for. In their last away game, United fell to a side that was in irresistible form. Despite a brilliant performance from keeper Glen Moss, Miron Bleiberg-s men succumbed to two late goals to Newcastle-s Ali Abass and Sasho Petrovski.

Following that, last week, the disappointment took a different shape. Their highly-anticipated six-pointer against Central Coast Mariners was abandoned after 19 minutes as the Skilled Park pitch gradually disappeared under water. This was doubly devastating for United, as a record crowd of 10,146 took advantage of the club-s offer of free tickets and braved the elements.

The sides haven-t met since the opening day of this Hyundai A-League season, when they played out a fairly tepid 0-0 draw that in no way pointed towards the exciting times that would follow.

Last season, Roar lost all three games to their M1 rivals, and so will be looking to finally put that hoodoo to an end by picking up three more points that would keep their amazing unbeaten home run going.

It-s a Boxing Day battle between two big rivals. On current form, Roar are favourites, whereas history favours United. Which way will the pendulum swing this time? Secure your ticket to this mammoth clash today and prepare yourself for thrilling Hyundai A-League action at its most exciting. It-s gonna be a big one!

Click here for the M1 derby tickets