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Melbourne Victory vs Brisbane Roar
Etihad Stadium
Friday October 25, Kick-off: 7:30pm

Believe it or not, a football match will take place this Friday night. Much talk has surrounded the appointment of Ange Postecoglou to the Socceroos job, but there is a season still going which will only provide more talking points and drama when Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar meet this Friday.

The Issues

It is somewhat fitting and symbolic that these two shall meet in what will be Ange’s final game in charge of Victory. It will also feature former Roar man Mitch Nichols facing his former teammates for the first time.

This rivalry has been one that has been brewing for the past three seasons, putting on some memorable matches over that time. The rivalry took a new dimension when Postecoglou left a champion Brisbane team to head to his hometown of Melbourne to take over its biggest club. Unsavory comments from some at the Roar in the lead-up to Postecoglou’s return game gave the rivalry a personal edge.

The Ins and Outs

Victory are fortunate to have a clean bill of health from the epic encounter against Adelaide at Hindmarsh last Friday. Andrew Nabbout and James Jeggo come in to an extended squad, while Pablo Contreras will miss this week through suspension.

Brisbane will be without talismanic marksman Besart Berisha, as he succumbed to a hamstring injury sustained early in his side’s 4-0 wrecking of Sydney FC.

The 90 Minutes

Brisbane looked on another level last weekend, but will face a much quicker and better unit. It will be a clash of similar styles, neither have much time for staid, boring football. The movement of Brisbane’s midfield operated like clockwork last weekend and the overlapping full-backs cause further trouble. Victory will look to go wide and pierce the Roar defence throughout, looking to veer in crosses to the trio of Archie Thompson, James Troisi and possibly another former Roar man in Kosta Barbarouses.

This is where it gets intriguing and will ensure a great contest on the night. Both sides have the same overall philosophy that guides their play, the point of difference laying in the use of a recognised striker, Victory don’t use one while the Roar have one that is arguably the best in the A-League, he will be missed on the night.

Both sides like to move the ball quickly and with purpose. The midfield battle of Mark Milligan, Mitch Nichols and Leigh Broxham versus Matt McKay, Luke Brattan and Liam Miller will be one to watch.

Players to Watch

Guilherme Finkler: Whether he starts or gets a cameo role off the bench tomorrow night, Finkler proved his game-breaking qualities last weekend. The popular playmaker is being eased into football again, and will certainly have a job tomorrow night. The Roar can’t afford to give him much space or time.

Ivan Franjic: Playing in a more advanced position than last season, Franjic’s runs and attacking qualities seem much more suited to a wing position rather than full-back. Now off the leash, and with his solid defensive mind, Franjic will be very important for creating attacks and defending in equal measure.

The Talk from Ange

Much talk centred around his new job at his Thursday press conference, but Ange’s focus remained on tomorrow night.

“It’s obviously been a big week, but we’ve really been conscious of making sure that everyone within here has been focused on tomorrow’s game,” revealed Ange. “Training has been good, everyone’s ticking along well so I’m looking forward to it.

“Two really good teams are playing tomorrow night and it doesn’t need any extra stuff that happened this week to build it up. As a stand-alone event, it’s going to be a massive game.”

The Potential Teams

Melbourne Victory: Nathan Coe, Jason Geria, Adrian Leijer, Nick Ansell, Adama Traore, Mark Milligan ©, Mitch Nichols, Leigh Broxham, James Troisi, Archie Thompson, Kosta Barbarouses.

Brisbane Roar: Michael Theo, Shane Steffanuto, Jade North, Matt Smith ©, Jack Hingert, Luke Brattan, Liam Miller, Matt McKay, Ivan Franjic, Henrique, Thomas Broich.

Katie Lambeski

Katie is Football Central's Melbourne Victory correspondent. She describes herself as a mad football fan who also likes to write about it. Follow Katie on twitter @katielambeski

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