Preview: Brisbane Roar v Melbourne Victory
Melbourne has had two weeks to reflect on its poorest result of the season against Central Coast and given that time, it should be ready to bounce back to winning ways in Saturday's match against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.
Date: Saturday November 21 Kick-off: 7:00pm AEST, 6:00pm AEST Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 2 and Sky Sports 1. To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au
Head-to-head 14 Hyundai A-League meetings: Wins: Melbourne 8, Brisbane 4. Draws: 2
Previous meeting Melbourne Victory 2, Brisbane Roar 1, Etihad Stadium, Round 9, October 2009
Season so far: Brisbane Roar: Round 10: Brisbane Roar 0, Gold Coast United 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 11: Brisbane Roar 0, Central Coast 3, Suncorp Stadium Round 12: Sydney FC 2, Brisbane Roar 1, Sydney Football Stadium Round 13: Brisbane Roar 1, Newcastle Jets 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 14: Adelaide United 0, Brisbane Roar 2, Hindmarsh Stadium
Melbourne Victory: Round 10: Melbourne Victory 0, Sydney FC 3, Etihad Stadium Round 11: Newcastle Jets 1, Melbourne Victory 3, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 12: Melbourne Victory 3, Adelaide United 1, Etihad Stadium Round 13: Perth Glory 1, Melbourne Victory 2, ME Bank Stadium Round 14: Melbourne Victory 0, Central Coast 4, Bluetongue Stadium
Analysis: Melbourne has had two weeks to reflect on its poorest result of the season against Central Coast and given that time, it should be ready to bounce back to winning ways in Saturday's match against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.
The nature of that defeat came as a complete shock to most at the club, and while there is a sense it is a blip, rather than a sign of underlying problems, the Mariners were able to expose a few weaknesses in that 4-0 result, giving Ernie Merrick and his staff plenty to work on over the week off.
Brisbane should be a familiar opponent for Melbourne with the sides having met twice already this season. Both matches have produced goals, with six in the 3-3 draw in Round 2 and three in Melbourne's win in Round 9. Both of these sides have enjoyed playing attacking football against each other this year, but given the changes that have happened at Brisbane since the last time the teams met, it could be a different type of match.
Ange Postecoglou took over in October and while the Roar have taken some time to get used of their new mentor, their most recent effort, a 2-0 win in Adelaide, was probably their best of the season. Sergio van Dijk has eight goals this season and three in the past two matches and looks the man to stop.
Melbourne boasts a strong record at Suncorp Stadium, having only lost there once in six matches. In fact, Victory's defence has usually performed very well here, with Brisbane managing just three goals in home matches against Melbourne over the history of the Hyundai A-League.
That record coincides with Melbourne's excellent away form this season. In six away matches, Melbourne has won five and arguably could have beaten Perth in the other. Victory seem to take a very positive approach on the road, averaging two goals scored and one goal conceded. The past four away games have produced a total of 10 goals.
Carlos Hernandez has proved to be Melbourne's great road warrior, the Costa Rican has put in star turns in the past two away victories over Newcastle and Perth. He set up two and scored the other in the 3-1 victory over the Jets, while he scored one and caused the other against the Glory.
There is no doubt that when he is in form, Melbourne is a much more dangerous side.
He will get some additional help this week with Robbie Kruse and Nick Ward both included in the extended squad along with Matthew Foschini and Evan Berger. Merrick is keeping his options open given he doesn't know what shape Thai pair Surat Sukha and Sutee Suksomkit will be in when they return from international duty. They will fly straight to Brisbane.
Brisbane gets first-choice keeper Liam Reddy back from injury while Charlie Miller, Tommy Oar and Bob Malcolm are also included in an extended squad.
Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Liam REDDY (GK), 2. Andrew PACKER, 3. Craig MOORE (c), 4. Luke DEVERE, 5. Josh McCLOUGHAN, 6. David DODD, 9. Sergio VAN DIJK, 10. Charlie MILLER, 11. REINALDO, 13. HENRIQUE, 15. Matt McKAY, 16. Bob MALCOLM, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 18. Danny TIATTO, 19. Isaka CERNAK, 20. Griffin McMASTER (GK), 21. Tommy OAR, 22. Ivan FRANJIC*three to be omitted*
In: Charlie MILLER (returns from injury), Tommy OAR (returns from international duty), Bob MALCOLM (promoted), Liam REDDY (returns from injury)
Out: Matt ACTON (end of short-term contract)
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3.Mate DUGANDZIC, 5.Surat SUKHA, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.NEY FABIANO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 13.Nathan ELASI, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Matthew FOSCHINI, 19.Evan BERGER, 20.Glen MOSS (gk), 21.Robbie KRUSE, 22.Nick WARD, 23.Adrian LEIJER, 27.Sutee SUKSOMKIT *four to be omitted*
In: Evan BERGER (return from injury), Matthew FOSCHINI (promoted), Robbie KRUSE (return from injury), Nick Ward (return from injury)
Unavailable: Marvin ANGULO (pending registration), Billy CELESKI (knee - season), Steven PACE (calf - 1 week), Tom PONDELJAK (calf - 1 week)