Preview: Brisbane Roar v Adelaide United

Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United will meet in Round 14 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, January 11 at 5.30pm AEDT.

Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United will meet in Round 14 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, January 11 at 5.30pm AEDT.


Played 28 – Wins: Brisbane 10, Adelaide 10, Draws: 8

Previous encounter:

Adelaide 1-2 Brisbane, December 6, 2013

Past five matches (including pre-season):

Brisbane: WWLWW
Adelaide: DWDWL

The Game:

Brisbane increased their lead at the top of the A-League ladder to seven points after a brilliant 3-0 demolition of Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park last Saturday night. Mike Mulvey’s side produced arguably the performance of the season, with the Victory having no answers to their pace, movement and sublime passing. Hopefully the Suncorp Stadium groundkeeper has managed to fix the bumpy surface in Brisbane because the Roar have been in scintillating form on the road over the last fortnight. While the Roar are expected to be boosted by the return of star striker Besart Berisha from injury, Australian under-22 duty means youngster Corey Brown and James Donachie are unavailable.

Adelaide continued their recent good run with a 2-2 draw with Sydney FC in their last outing. But while the result increases their unbeaten run to four games, the Reds will have been disappointed not to have secured all three points after leading 2-1 against the 10-man Sky Blues. Adelaide coach Josep Gombau is facing somewhat of a squad crisis though with the likes of Sergio Cirio (hamstring), Bruce Djite (groin) and Fabio Ferreira (hamstring) all in huge doubt for this one. Marcelo Carrusca is also racing the clock to return from injury, while last week’s goal-scorer Jake Barker-Daish is also away with the Aussie under-22 side. Argentine Jeronimo Neumann does return from suspension though to ease some of the burden, while new signing Ryan Griffiths may also be available if his international clearance comes through in time.

The big issue:

Brisbane – Complacency. Given the Roar’s lead at the top of the ladder and the way they dismantled one of the competition favourites last time out, it seems the only thing that can stop them at the moment is themselves. With Matt Smith and Jade North strong at the back, Luke Bratten, Matt McKay and Liam Miller making them tick in midfield and Thomas Broich, Henrique, Dimitri Petratos and Ivan Franjic providing the pace and flair, Brisbane have all the tools to go all the way. If they can match that with desire and hunger it’s hard to see them being stopped.

Adelaide – Rising injury toll. While results have improved over the last few weeks, Adelaide’s treatment room is bursting at the seams with a number of their key players struck down by injury. Cirio, Djite, Ferreira and Carrusca have been key contributors to the Reds’ resurgence and if they are missing for a lengthy period then the club’s hopes of putting pressure on the top six sides will certainly take a hit. Gombau will need his impressive batch of youngsters to step-up big time if the Reds are to give Brisbane a match on their home turf.

The game breaker:

Liam Miller – While Broich, McKay and Bratten get a lot of the headlines in the Roar’s all-conquering midfield, the acquisition of the Irishman has been a huge factor in the Roar’s stunning improvement from last season. After injury curtailed the start to this campaign, Miller is undoubtedly back to his best as evidenced by his performance last week in Melbourne, which included a goal and two brilliant assists.