As Melbourne City FC continues preparations for its crucial Round 7 clash against Brisbane Roar, we take an in-depth look at John Aloisi’s side ahead of Friday night’s encounter at Suncorp Stadium.
Brisbane are roaring once again
After a period of off-field uncertainty threatened to derail Brisbane’s season before it even began, the Roar are firing on all cylinders once again.
Flying high at the top of the league with 13 points from its opening six matches, the signs of Brisbane’s dominant period is slowly returning, with the club boasting a perfect record from its three home games.
The core of the club’s successful period lives on in the form of experienced players Michael Theo, Shane Steffanuto, Matt McKay and Thomas Broich, while youngsters Jamie Maclaren and Devante Clut demonstrate promising signs for the future.
Maclaren and Borrello provide double threat
Returning from international duty with the Olyroos, striker Jamie Maclaren has been a key figure in Brisbane’s resurgence this season, leading the line with three goals and two assists from the opening six games.
Key to the 22-year-old’s impressive performances is his movement off the ball, stretching the opposition with well-timed runs in behind the defence and creating space for his team-mates to occupy between the lines.
A main benefactor of Maclaren’s intelligence on the pitch has been young striker Brandon Borrello. The 20-year-old has made a sensational start to the season, with four goals in October earning him a nomination for the A-League Young Player of the Year.
Borrello’s pace and trickery is matched with a burning desire to be involved in the first-team – Head Coach John Aloisi has even touted him as a future Socceroo – and his partnership with Maclaren in the final-third will be a difficult test for an under fire City back-line.
Defence keeping it clean
With the goals flowing in at one end, Brisbane have proven to be a difficult nut to crack in defence so far this season.
The Roar have only conceded a measly five goals this season – the lowest amount of anyone in the league – with goalkeeper Jamie Young helping the club register three consecutive clean sheets in the absence of first-choice ‘keeper Michael Theo
Employing a defensive structure built on aggressive and coordinated pressing of the opposition, Brisbane have proven to be vulnerable on the counter-attack, often getting hit on the break as fullbacks Jack Hingert and Shane Stefanuto are caught high up the pitch.
Boasting the pace of Harry Novillo and the skill of Bruno Fornaroli, capitalising on Brisbane’s high defensive line will be key to City unlocking a watertight Roar defence.
Last Time We Met
Melbourne City FC 1-0 Brisbane Roar – Hyundai A-League 2014/15 Round 23
An early goal from midfielder Jonatan Germano proved to be the difference in a tense encounter, with the win moving Melbourne City FC one step closer to securing a spot in last season’s Hyundai A-League finals.
Captain Patrick Kisnorbo put in a colossal display in the heart of defence as the Club secured its third consecutive clean sheet, while marquee man Robert Koren was lively in midfield as City’s big guns lifted for the occasion.
- Melbourne City won all three of their encounters with Brisbane Roar last season, only conceding one goal.
- Henrique has scored four goals in his seven Hyundai A-League appearances against Melbourne City.
- Melbourne City has a shot conversion rate of 20.3 percent. Only Roar have a better conversion rate (21.6 percent).
- Brisbane is looking to keep four consecutive clean sheets in the Hyundai A-League for the first time since September 2010.
- After coming off the bench last week, Roar midfielder Javi Hervas became the 11th Spaniard to play in the Hyundai A-League, the most imports from one nation after 13 Brazilians (07/08 and 09/10) and 12 Brazilians in 11/12.
- Melbourne City striker Bruno Fornaroli has scored three goals in his last two away matches in the league.
- Aaron Mooy has created more chances than any other A-League player (19). He has been involved in five of the Club’s goals (two goals, three assists). Only Fornaroli has been involved in more for Melbourne City (five goals, one assist).
- Goals should be aplenty at Suncorp stadium on Friday night, with Melbourne City (12) and Brisbane Roar (11) ranked first and second in the league for goals scored this season.