Moving into the third week of the A-League season and it doesn’t feel like we’re in Kansas anymore. Perth are leading the ladder, closely followed by Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide while the two grand finalists are languishing at the bottom.
Sydney buoyed by the momentum of a comeback derby victory, head up to the Sunshine state looking to arrest their shocking record against the reigning champions. For Brisbane after suffering a 3-2 loss of their own to Keogh-led Perth and sitting on the dreaded duck egg will be motivation enough to dent the confidence of the visitors.
For the Sky Blues, there is the added distraction of losing FFA quarter final against Adelaide United including the contentious red card shown to Nikola Petkovic, who is banned for this contest. This will mean a reshuffle for the disjointed backline – Pedj Bojic is tipped to slot into right back while Sebastian Ryall moves into the middle like Tuesday.
Despite their problems at the back, Sydney possesses possibly the best attacking quartet in the A-League. Corey Gameiro’s continued his pre-season form, scoring in each A-League game thus far while Alex Brosque scored the winner in the derby and a sumptuous chip in the FFA Cup. Brosque, captaining Sydney will also go up against his old team, spending the first season with the then Queensland Roar.
Brisbane after traveling to the west last Sunday, are back in home comforts looking to continue the torment they have over the visitors including a 4-0 and 5-2 victory plus a draw in their fixtures last season.
There were some positives for the Roar in their defeat to Perth, Mensur Kurtisi getting off the mark for the season from a delightful cross from Thomas Broich alongside the stunning strike from Henrique off a single step.
While the attack has been sufficient – Brisbane has a few problems at the back conceding five goals in the two losses. The biggest worry for Mike Mulvey will be the errors leading to these goals – own goals and penalties have allowed opponents back into the game before overrunning the Roar, a theme which wasn’t present last season in doing the double.
Mulvey will devise a plan to pressure the Sydney FC backline, having it’s third formation in as many weeks. Pedj Bojic was caught out by balls in behind against Adelaide, so Thomas Broich will aim crosses for Kurtisi and Henrique down the entrepreneurs wing.
For the Sky Blues to win – they will have to tighten up at the back including not having anymore gaffes from Vedran Janjetovic so their midfield and forwards won’t have to chase the game like last Saturday.
Prediction: 2-2 draw