28/05/2024
Brisbane Roar have the one of the worst starts to an A-League Men's season Photo via Brisbane Roar Twitter

The Brisbane Roar have had one of the worst starts to an A-League Men season. (Photo: Brisbane Roar/Twitter)

In a season full of struggles across the pitch, the Brisbane Roar only barely claimed their first three points of the season on Wednesday. The Inner Sanctum dives deep into what is going wrong.

It has been a troublesome period for Brisbane Roar and Warren Moon so far this season, currently struggling to one of their worst starts to a season in club history with only one win in six games.

The Roar were predicted to finish in the lower places of the A-League Men competition this season, and it has been tough goings so far this season for Moon and his Roar squad.

Warren Moon is facing a long season with the Roar. (Photo: Brisbane Roar/Twitter)

Suffering a loss in the season-opener against Melbourne City, followed by a drenching once again by the hands of Melbourne Victory, Brisbane’s campaign only got worse with two back-to-back losses to Western United and Sydney FC.

It took the Roar six games to win a match after sitting last on the ladder for the first five games of the season. Their five points have come from draws against Adelaide United and Sydney FC, and a first win of the season against the Glory. Those three sides have also been struggling this season so far.

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The recruitment issues

Moon’s off-season recruitment has been relatively poor. The NPL duo of Jez Lofthouse and Henry Hore – who scored a winner against the Glory in a 1-0 win – have impressed in their limited cameos this season, but the foreign recruitment for the Roar has been abysmal.

Argentine striker Juan Lescano, who was brought in from the Russian side Enisey Krasnoyarsk, has failed to score in four consecutive games this season. He’s been one of Brisbane’s most disappointing so far this season, only scoring one goal in the FFA Cup for the Roar.

The 29-year-old only averages 0.5 shots on target per game and rarely finds himself within the 18-yard box, mainly found on the wing. His all-around stats have been less than useful for a foreign player occupying such an important role.

He has also laid off an assist for one of the three goals Brisbane has scored so far this season, but his stats while holding the ball is where he is lacking the most.

Lescano has lost possession on six occasions so far this season, while having a successful dribble rate of just 33 per cent. He is also very rarely a key creator in a Brisbane attack that craves a playmaker desperately.

The striker averages 18.5 touches of the ball per game. With only 6.5 passes being accurate each match, it’s no surprise that he is in the bottom echelon of the league for key passes per game, averaging just 0.3 each match so far.

Woeful attacking and woeful defence

The Roar possess a horrible shot conversion rate, with just four per cent of shots leading to goals. Only Luke Ivanovic, Nikola Mileusnic and Henry Hore have scored for Brisbane this season.

Brisbane has the second least expected goals (xG) out of the 12 clubs within the competition, and when away they have an expected goal against ratio of 1.66 per game. Each goal comes every 64 minutes while playing home or away.

It also doesn’t help the low-lying team when Lescano has not found the back of the net in four matches, but that could be also be put down to Brisbane’s poor final delivery in the front third.

This is particularly noticeable when crossing into central areas, somewhere that is vital if Lescano and the Roar are to succeed. This was highlighted in recent matches against Perth Glory and Sydney FC.

An exodus of crosses from short and deep wide areas led to a number of chances not being converted across both matches, an issue Moon quickly needs to fix.

The matches against the Sky Blues and the Glory further highlighted their inability to finish chances. They had 14 shots on goal and seven on target against Sydney, while they mustered up 24 shots against the Glory before finally breaking the deadlock late on.

Lescano’s lack of movement when occupying a central role further hurts the Roar attack. His failure to create attacking runs saw crosses in attacking areas go to waste against Sydney and Perth.

Six of the seven goals that the Roar conceded prior to facing Perth Glory happened within 15 minutes to halftime or 15 minutes after halftime commenced.

Roar custodian Macklin Freke has the most expected goals conceded, with 9.1 so far, a damning statistic alongside the weak attack that the Roar possesses.

The midfield issues

Only Jay O’Shea is inside the top 20 A-League players for most successful dribbles per match, which is another area the Roar has struggled this season within the midfield.

They have consistently held the least of amount of possession per match, with an average of 46 per cent per game, one of the lowest within the league.

Again, they struggled against Sydney, ending up with only 40 per cent of the ball in the match, completing 178 passes less than the Sky Blues for a total pass accuracy of 60 per cent.

Matti Steinmann, who joined from East Bengal SC, has also not impressed. The central-midfielder has been one of the worst-performing Roar players so far this season, with an average rating of 6.85 per game.

It has been a slow start with Brisbane Roar’s midfield being a key issue so far this season. (Photo: A-League Men/Twitter)

The duo of Anton Mlinaric and O’Shea are the only Roar players within the top 15 players in the league for most accurate passes per match, with both retrospectively averaging 55.3 and 55.8 passes per game finding a teammate.

In recent times they have struggled to cope with transitioning from defensive to attacking football, with the slow transition hindering the small amount of attacking chances that have fallen to the Roar so far this season.

Moon needs to establish and rebuild a footballing identity for Brisbane Roar, a club that has been yo-yo-ing from the heights of the A-League Men ladder to the cellars.

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