Venue: Moreton Daily Stadium, Queensland
Date & Time: 02 June, 7.05 pm
Round No.: 23
Brisbane Roar secured a spot in the A-League Final Series for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons with a 2-1 win over Perth Glory. This result also meant that Perth Glory won’t be able to make it to the top-six this time.
Both teams came into the game needing those three points to secure or still have a chance to make it into the top-six. Going into the half-time break locked in at 0-0, Brisbane broke the deadlock because of an own goal scored by Jonathan Aspropotamitis in the 51st minute. Riku Danzaki doubled the lead for Brisbane in the 73rd minute by finishing a rapid counterattack. Later on, Perth was hoping to turn around the deficit as they got their first goal in the 85th minute, but Brisbane was able to hold on to their lead for the final few minutes and guaranteed themselves a spot in the Final Series.
In this tactical analysis, I will analyze Brisbane Roar’s tactics against Perth Glory.
Manager: Warren Moon Head Coach: Richard Garcia
Brisbane Roar lined up in a 1-3-4-3 formation in which Warren Moon made four changes. In defence, Jordan Courtney-Perkins made his way into the starting line-up, replacing Macaulay Gillesphey. In midfield, there were two changes that were made. Riku Danzaki came in place of Alex Parsons and Jay O’Shea replaced Jesse Daley. Lastly, Dylan Wenzel-Halls led the attack for Brisbane coming in for Cyrus Dehmie.
By analyzing the average position of Brisbane Roar, it looks like they were set up in a 4-2-4 structure. In possession, the two midfielders staggered their positioning. Rahmat Akbari stayed in front of the centre-backs and provided them with passing options in behind the opposition’s first line of press. Jay O’Shea stayed a bit higher to provide passing options in between the lines and positioned himself behind Wenzel-Halls. Joseph Champness operated like an inverted winger, provided the width and at times came infield to get in between the opposition centre-back and full-back. Corey Brown operated mostly as a deep full-back, which gave Scott Neville license to join the attack.
If you look at the above image and relate it to the previous picture, it is pretty clear that Brisbane preferred the right flank as 48% came from that side. The Roar overloaded the flank with Neville, Danzaki and Brindell-South, combining well and linking-up play. The trio isolated Darryl Lachman and Kosuke Ota in a 3 v 2 and tried to go round or from in between them to get into the penalty box.
In possession, Perth set up in a 3-5-2 structure with three centre-backs, wing backs high and wide, a double pivot and Diego Castro as the no. “10” behind the two strikers Bruno Fornaroli and Andy Keogh.
The Roar are known for their structured and intense pressing. Against Perth, they set up in a mid-block 5-2-2-1 structure in which Wenzel-Halls led the press. Perth kept 60% of the possession trying to find a way through the Brisbane’s defence. Now, let’s have a look at the Roar’s pressing.
Wenzel-Halls was instructed to stick with the CB. In this way Perth could not switch play from the back and the far sided CB would be out of the picture.
As you can see in the above picture, Champness is pressing the RCB and using his shadow to cover the RDM. In the meantime, Danzaki would tuck in and stay close to LDM to cut out the vertical pass from the RCB. The same would happen on the other side as well. O’Shea and Akbari would stay close to the RDM and LDM to press them in case any of them peels out wide to receive the ball from the centre-backs. This would create a 4 v 2 overload in the midfield for Brisbane. The Roar did not allow Perth to build-up through the middle as they blocked all central passing lanes, which forced them to play wide or go long.
As you can see in the above picture, the ball now went out to the RWB. Brown comes out to press him and the midfielders would shift across to mark the RDM and CAM. While at the back, Brisbane kept a numerical superiority of +1 and would also shuffle across to close the gaps behind Brown.
The Roar have conceded just 28 goals in 26 matches this season, over performing their opponent’s xG which stands at 40 goals which proves they have been defensively solid.
They defend with at least 9 players behind the ball which includes the goalkeeper while Wenzel-Halls and the far sided winger stay up. The Roar defend in a unit and, shift and slide according to the play. The defence and midfield line stay close to each other.
Brisbane dropped into a 5-4-1 or 5-2-2-1 shape when they defended in which the wingbacks tucked in with the three centre backs who were protected by a midfield line of four players. Wenzel-Halls was left upfront with the task of closing down the ball side CDM. In this way, the Roar kept things tight at the back and maintain their lead over the opposition.
Brisbane has pleased everyone with their tactical flexibility while in possession of the ball. Although they had only 40% of the possession, they played out from the back with great confidence, crisply linking passes to keep the ball with an effortlessness that made the opposition’s forwards look like they were chasing shadows. Brisbane’s usual build-up play structure was a 3-1 shape in which either Brown would stay back along with Trewin, Courtney-Perkins to form a back three, allowing Neville to push up or vice versa. They would be supported by Akbari as the single pivot.
The defenders never agitated even after being put under immense pressure by the opposition forwards and midfielders. There was always an option open, be it short or a long outlet to open up Perth’s flanks.
Perth defended in a mid to low block 4-2-2-2 shape. Their strikers were tasked with pinning the three centre-backs of Brisbane. The strikers stayed close to the Neville and Courtney-Perkins of Brisbane and allowed the Trewin to be free. When Trewin had the time and space to drive, then Perth’s strikers would curve their run from out to in to press him and use their shadow to cover the Neville and Courtney-Perkins. Perth was forcing Brisbane to play through the centre.
Brisbane’s back three was supported by a double pivot of Akbari and O’Shea in front of them. Both were man-marked by Perth’s midfielders and followed them everywhere they moved. Brisbane’s wide back three created a disjoint between Perth’s forwards due to which they had to cover a lot of ground to press Trewin. This allowed Trewin a lot of time on the ball.
Often, Danzaki dropped in between the lines to provide a passing option to his defenders. Due to Perth man-marking the Brisbane midfielders, the CB was dragged by Danzaki till the halfway line like in the above picture and some other player would take Danzaki’s place. In this way, to disorganise the opposition, Brisbane’s midfielders kept on rotating.
As you can see in the above picture, Neville plays the pass to Brindell-South and makes underlapping run while Danzaki moved into the half space between the opposition CB & LB.
The above wide rotations happened several times in the match as Brisbane was targeting the space between the opposition left centre-back and left back.
Warren Moon has improved Brisbane’s attacking play this season. As compared to last season’s 1.14 goals per match, the team has scored 1.37 goals per match this season. However, they have slightly underperformed their xG of 41 goals and have scored only 37 this season.
Brisbane relied more on direct play after they were able to build-up from the back. The defenders looked to play diagonal long passes into the wide channels, looking to hit the wing backs.
While Brisbane sat deep during spells of opposite possession, they looked very dangerous on the counter-attack and got their reward in the 73rd minute when Dabzaki scored as you can see in the above video. Their aim was always to move the ball quickly with fast combination play to draw opposition players in which would create space out wide on the flanks to spring counter attacks. Brisbane tend to create space centrally as well for the attackers to roam in while their overlapping full-backs and wing-backs come in to play.
The likes of Champness and Danzaki are vital for such a style of play as they are excellent at carrying the ball upfield at pace while the wingbacks, Brown and Brindell-South provided support from wider areas. Wenzel-Halls, who with his exceptional work rate, led the front line and kept the central defenders occupied.
Along with these players, one of the central midfielders, usually O’Shea, would push up to join the attack while Akbari would stay back to guard the defenders. In this match, it proved to be an extremely effective way for them to create chances and score goals.
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