Preview: Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers

Brisbane Roar host Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 7 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Suncorp Stadium on Friday November 22 at 8pm AEDT.

Brisbane Roar host Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 7 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Suncorp Stadium on Friday November 22 at 8pm AEDT.

Played: 4, Wins: Roar 0, Wanderers 4, Draws: 0

Previous encounter:
Wanderers 2-0 Roar, April 12 2013

Past five matches:

Wanderers: WWWWD

The Game:

A top-of-the-table clash gives both teams an opportunity to underline their title credentials early in the season. Brisbane probably need to avoid defeat after an undermanned side was beaten by Newcastle last week and their record against Western Sydney is dreadful. They should regain Ivan Franjic and Matt McKay after international duty, while Besart Berisha, Liam Miller and Shane Stefanutto look set to return from injury. The Wanderers are unbeaten this season and two points clear at the top, picking up where they left off in their premiers' plate-winning first campaign.

The big issue:

Roar – overcoming what has been a dreadful record against Western Sydney. Suncorp Stadium was the venue for the Wanderers' historic first ever win in the A-League, which came with a 1-0 victory in October last year. And Brisbane failed in three further matches against the Wanderers, scoring just one goal in the four matches. This Roar side is a different one and are more than capable of beating Western Sydney, needing to end the poor head-to-head record soon.

Wanderers – whether they can break a game open. Tony Popovic's men have not needed to so far this season, and they have few problems, but there will come a time when more goals are needed. They have eight in six games – the equal second most in the competition – but their success has been based on their excellent and stubborn defence. Injuries and regular changes to the line-up have made it difficult, but it may only be a matter of time before they start clicking in attack.

The game breaker:

Thomas Broich – the German has failed to reach the high standards expected, scoring once and providing one assist in six games this season. Broich has created a few chances but often has a bigger impact than he has so far. Broich is capable of terrorising defenders with his movement and passing and the Roar are going to need him to lift to break down the best defence in the competition. The return of Berisha will help – if the Albanian is fit again – and expect Broich to get better as the season progresses.

Prediction: Roar 1-1 Wanderers

Popovic may be happy with a draw away to one of the competition's best sides, despite the Wanderers' outstanding record against Brisbane. Expect Brisbane to dominate possession as they have throughout the season, and the Wanderers will be largely happy to concede the ball and hit on the counter-attack. That has worked for them throughout the campaign and they have shown they can absorb pressure for long periods. If Western Sydney score first, the Roar could find it tough, but expect an entertaining draw.