All is not lost for Roar
In this week's, Three Sides to Every Story, J Spiropoulos looks at Brisbane Roar's A League season
Brisbane Roar's spectacular run came to a shuddering end against Sydney FC a week ago, Heart hit them when they were down on Friday night, and then Wellington Phoenix rubbed salt into their wounds on Wednesday evening. Have the wheels come off the bandwagon? Some are saying that the other A-League clubs have finally raised their game - that tactics to counter the Roar system have been moulded by opponents all season, and we're now seeing the result of those changes. Ange Postecoglou feels that the recent form is a result of his team under performing rather than others raising their game.
"We couldn't capitalise on our chances and they capitalised on theirs" was his simple analysis of the match on Wednesday night in which Roar dominated possession but came away scoreless. Ange is committed to playing the game his way - his style and come hell or high water they will keep doing that whether they win, lose or draw. He believes that the luck that was going their way for a year has simple turned a little the other way, and that balance will come back in time. The biggest theory of the last two weeks is simply that Broich = Brisbane. Thomas Broich, the German midfielder who has had such a huge impact on Roar's play over the last 18 months, has been out injured for the last 3 games and Roar haven't had the cutting edge his passing possessed in those games.
The reality is that things go deeper than Broich. Brilliant as he is, it's not a one player game or a one man team. The key is that since the end of last season Roar have lost pacey forward Kosta Barbarouses who was capable of running through defences at any time, or outpacing pretty much any player in the league in the chase for a throughball.
They've also lost club captain Matt McKay from the midfield, which has reduced both the attacking and defending options the Socceroo regular provided. Their replacements, Bahrain international defender Mohamed Adnan and tricky winger Issey Nakajima-Farran, whilst solid professionals and good players, don't provide the same options going forward and make the team increasingly one dimensional (we'll pass you into submission). All of this leaves the weight of expectation being heaped increasingly on German playmaker Broich, and young Aussie Mitch Nichols.
In the absence of Broich, Nichols' limitations as a playmaker are highlighted and the quality of chances has decreased. All is not lost for Roar though - the beauty of the finals system is that, rather like Green Gully in the last two seasons in the VPL, finishing top of the league isn't that important, it's about being in good form at the end of the season, and Roar could be untouchable by that time if they can keep Broich fit, and perhaps take advantage of the new owner's cash reserves by bringing in an exciting and pacey attacking option to the marquee spot. One thing is for certain though, when Broich returns he will be watched more closely than perhaps any player in A-League history.
For similarly harebrained theories, you can follow me on Twitter @JimSpiropoulos
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