16/04/2024

Can Brisbane Roar make finals again in 2021/22 amidst a squad turnover? (Photo: Brisbane Roar)

After a busy signing window, can the Brisbane Roar go one better than the first week of finals in the 2021/22 season?

Last season’s finish: 4th (Elimination final)

Biggest in:

Brisbane Roar conducted a busy transfer window, with a multitude of players signing on. However, perhaps none will be bigger than tying down Matti Steinmann.

Steinmann is an understated, tidy central midfielder, who can play as a number six, in a screening role, or in a number eight, sitting as a link between defence and attack.

He is positionally intelligent and able to read progressive passes. He looks to cut down passing lanes early in an aggressive way, hence his success at Wellington Phoenix, who counter-press heavily in the six to eight seconds after losing possession.

The Finnish-German midfielder is calm and press resistant on the ball, able to weave his way through challenges with the utmost grace.

His spatial awareness is also useful, and he will likely combine a good partnership with Jay O’Shea in the base of midfield for Brisbane.

He will complement O’Shea’s technique and long passing range with an ability to progress the ball in between the lines, press resistance and tenacity and intelligence off the ball.

Steinmann is a tidy recycler of the ball, and, while likely playing on the left side of a midfield two, will be able to recycle possession to Corey Brown and O’Shea – Brisbane’s two biggest attacking threats, with their ability to cross from deep. 

Brisbane has signed a jack of all trades in Steinmann, and while he won’t get the most plaudits during the season considering his tidy, understated footballing style, there’s no doubt that he will be a key aspect of the club’s counter-pressing, ball progression and defensive structure. 

Biggest out:

And with a multitude of ins, there was of course a plethora of outs. 

Macaulay Gillesphey, a fixture of the side’s back three departed, as did Dylan Wenzel-Halls, who was the side’s second top goalscorer. 

Goalkeeper Jamie Young is a big loss, as is winger Joey Champness, but perhaps none came bigger than the departure of Riku Danzaki, the 21-year-old winger and attacking midfielder.

While Danzaki’s loss was an expected one for Brisbane, considering his one year loan deal, it comes as a blow with the impact the Japanese forward had on the club.

His energy was vivid throughout matches, and his first touch was subtle and confident, allowing Brisbane to find a consistent outlet down the right flank. 

Danzaki was directly involved in 27.78% of Brisbane’s goals last season and will be hard to replace for the upcoming campaign.

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What to expect:

Expect to see a similar 3-4-3 brand, with attacking rotations, movement up front and lots of crosses.

There will be an abundance of creativity in midfield, while the Steinmann and O’Shea pairing will be fabulous to watch.

This could be the breakout season for Alex Parsons, while Luke Ivanovic could also establish himself as one of the more promising A-League Men youngsters.

Brisbane will sit deeper and compact central areas when defending, likely with five defenders and two midfielders set up in front of them.

The back three will probably remain solid and consistent, assuming Tom Aldred doesn’t suffer consistent injuries, like in the last campaign.

Brisbane conceded the second least goals per game (1.1) of any A-League Men team in 2020/21, and kept the seventh most clean sheets, showing that their goals conceded were in general, evenly spread and consistent throughout the campaign, rather than sporadic.

In possession, the aforementioned O’Shea and Brown will be key, with the former often finding the latter with long, diagonal passes to stretch the play. 

Last season, Brisbane was third for the most shots on target per match (5.3), but was seventh for goals per game (1.4), meaning they took a number of shots from low probability positions.

For more on what to expect from Brisbane Roar, check out this article, written following their FFA Cup round of 32 victory over Peninsula Power.

Predicted starting eleven:

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