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Melbourne City vs Brisbane Roar A-League Preview and Team News: City and Roar field new-look teams in season opener

Andrew Hendrie 4 Oct 2017
  • Melbourne City face Brisbane Roar on Friday
  • City undefeated against Brisbane in Melbourne since 2010
City face Roar on Friday

Melbourne City play host to Brisbane Roar as the 2017/18 A-League season gets underway at AAMI Park on Friday night.

Both Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar enjoyed solid seasons in 2016/17, but can they push on and capture the premiership this campaign? As is usually the case, both sides have undergone drastic makeovers, so it will be interesting to see how their respective new-look sides take shape over the early stages of the season.

City, last season’s FFA Cup champions, were eliminated at the first time of asking in the finals by Perth Glory, have suffered an early blow to their title hopes with star striker Bruno Fornaroli injuring his ankle in the FFA Cup and sidelined until December.

It’s an immediate challenge for new boss - former Manchester United reserve team coach Warren Joyce - to overcome, but he will be hoping the injury replacement acquisition of Scottish international striker Ross McCormack will limit the loss of goals from the proven Fornaroli.

McCormack has been a class player for years, recently bagging 23 goals in 49 games for Fulham, but he struggled in his latest spell at Aston Villa, scoring just three times in 24 appearances, with the former EPL club happy to release him to the A-League.

Joyce has strengthened City’s midfield with the signings of Italian warhorse Iacopo La Rocca and talented Argentine and former Adelaide playmaker Marcelo Carrusca, while other new faces lining up in City colours this season include Eugene Galekovic, Scott Jamieson and Stefan Mauk.

With City’s main issue since their inception being consistency, it’s crucial that this new-look team gel as quickly as possible under a new manager to ensure their best chance for success this season.

Meanwhile, Brisbane also have to find some new spark and a replacement for their main goalscorer from last season, with Jamie Maclaren leaving the club to pursue his dreams in Europe.

An out-and-out goalscorer like Maclaren was always going to be near-impossible for the Roar to replace, with John Aloisi bringing in Italian veteran striker Massimo Maccarone, along with wingers Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Corey Gameiro.

Maccarone, 38, has been playing professional football in Europe for over two decades, and is probably best known to Australian fans for his spell at EPL club Middlesborough between 2002-07, where he scored 24 goals in 80 games, while he’s still in solid touch well into his twilight years, scoring 29 goals in 98 games for Empoli in the Serie A from 2014-17.

Nevertheless, it’s hard to say whether Maccarone will conjure up the same amount of goals as Maclaren did, while it’s also going to be a challenge for Brisbane - who lost to Melbourne Victory in last year’s semi-finals - to replace the likes of Thomas Broich, Brandon Borrello, Manuel Arana and Tommy Oar.

These two sides have played out draws in their last two encounters, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the same result in the opening game of the season. Both sides are fielding new-look teams and it will take a while for them to figure out how to best utilise everyone’s talents collectively. City haven’t lost to Brisbane in Melbourne since 2010, so expect the home side to take home at least a point as the new season launches on Friday night.

Stats


  • Three of the last six games between the sides have ended in a draw
  • City are undefeated in Melbourne against Brisbane since 2010
  • Brisbane won 1-0 at Suncorp last year, while their other two meetings in 2016/17 were draws

Teams


Check back here on Thursday when the squads are officially announced.

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Melbourne City vs Brisbane Roar A-League Preview and Team News: City and Roar field new-look teams in season opener

Melbourne City play host to Brisbane Roar as the 2017/18 A-League season gets underway at AAMI Park on Friday night.

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