Preview: Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar

Ange Postecoglou reckons as a club, Victory are still the benchmark. In reality, things are a little bit different.

Date: Saturday, 5 November 2011 Kick-off: 7.45pm AEDT, 7.45pm local Venue: Etihad Stadium

Head-to-head Played 18: Wins: Victory 10, Brisbane 5, Draws: 3

Previous encounter Brisbane 3, Victory 3, 3 December 2010

History: It's going back a long way now, but Victory were the last side to beat Brisbane. Almost 14 months ago, goals to Tommy Pondeljak, Ricardinho and Grant Brebner sealed a 3-0 win and ended the Roar's five-match unbeaten run. That loss must have left its mark - Brisbane picked themselves up, dusted each other off and embarked on a slightly longer streak of 32 games without defeat. The last time they met, a late equaliser from Matty McKay snatched a 3-3 draw and kept that run chugging along.

Form: Past five matches: Victory: DLDW Brisbane: WWWW

Summary of form: There is significant contrast. On one hand is Brisbane, in the midst of a once-in-a-generation spell of absolute dominance, coming off their most awesome display yet in their 7-1 annihilation of Adelaide United. On the other is Melbourne Victory, who, despite boasting an attacking arsenal that is the envy of almost the entire A-League (bar Brisbane I guess), only just broke a puzzling three-game scoring drought against unfancied Wellington last week.

Match Committee: There appear to be no major injury concerns for both the Roar and Victory, which is good news for all concerned. This is a massive fixture on paper and the A-League deserves to see both these teams go at it with full-strength line-ups.

Danger men: Harry Kewell - The A-League's poster boy has yet to dominate a match, but we've seen flashes of his gamebreaking ability. It's only a matter of time until the newly-recalled Socceroo plays a major hand in toweling up one unlucky opponent. He has the class, the vision, the god-given skill - but the challenge for coach Mehmet Durakovic is to find a system that allows Kewell to exert maximum influence on a game. If they can figure out the puzzle, Victory and Harry will be scary.

Mitch Nichols - The engine of the Roar post-McKay, Nichols has been rewarded for his fine form with a second Socceroos call-up. The Palm Beach junior has relished life under Ange Postecoglou, becoming a vital cog in the competition's most clinical midfield and chipping in with the odd goal or two when needed. At 22 years old, there's still a lot to come from Nichols and big games like this one are the perfect chance for him to continue to step it up.

At the end of the day… This week has been a love-in of epic proportions. Melbourne Victory skipper Adrian Leijer believes the Roar are taking the Hyundai A-League to another level. Brisbane Roar mastermind Ange Postecoglou reckons as a club, Victory are still the benchmark. In reality, things are a little bit different - Melbourne are massively underachieving at the moment, and Brisbane are damn near untouchable. While Postecoglou might want his club to be more like their rivals this week off the field, he'd be silly to want to be like them on-field at the moment.

Victory haven't quite sorted out the best way to deploy all their attacking weaponry at once - and the main problem seems to be their best player, Harry Kewell. If they play Kewell in attacking midfield, that leaves Carlos Hernandez out. If they put him on the wing, that's one less spot for wonderkid Marco Rojas and Isaka Cernak. If they put him up front, then why did Jean Carlos Solorzano bother signing at all? Under Durakovic, they remain a work in progress - and it's going to take a lot more than a work in progress to dismantle the Roar at this rate. 33 in a row it is, then.