Bleiberg tips on-the-up Wanderers over Roar
Bleiberg spent a season and a half with Brisbane Roar from the league's launch back in 2005 before three years with the now defunct Gold Coast United.
Now coaching Oakleigh Cannons in Victoria’s National Premier League, Bleiberg feels that the Grand Final will be a hard-fought contest.
“On one side the Roar was the best team all year, but I think the Wanderers in the last few weeks proved they are a force to be reckoned with,” the 59-year old said.
“If you look at it like it is the stock exchange, I would put my money on the Wanderers because they are on the way up.
“The Roar are not as good as they used to be. The form of the Roar compared to what they’ve been doing this season is on the way down.
“They’re struggling to beat teams compared to the easy way they did it during the season. With the Wanderers, it’s the other way. “
Unlike the Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory, Bleiberg said the Wanderers squad depth and rotation were crucial in helping the club reach the Grand Final as well as the knock-out phase of the Asian Champions League.
“At the moment it’s easy for the Wanderers to shuffle around, it’s a credit to Tony Popovic, he did it in the best way,” he said.
“Asia didn’t affect the Wanderers like the other teams. And because of it, due to their success, it’s put them in the right frame of mind.”
The Grand Final will pit the passing, possession-based attacking game plan of Brisbane against the more defensively minded, counter-attacking style of Western Sydney.
“The Wanderers style is easier,” Bleiberg said.
“We saw it in the game just recently against Chelsea and Liverpool. You have many shots at goal or whatever, it doesn't mean much unless your attack is clinical.
“Unfortunately for the Roar, the Wanderers attack is well-drilled. They play the easier style, because it’s a one-off game, the Wanderers play the easier system to get results than the Roar.
“The Roar have to work hard, maintain possession and move the ball a lot to achieve what they need to achieve against a strong defence.
“While the Wanderers just have to use the counter-attack. The Roar defence is not the strongest part of the team