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A-League: Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar preview

The festive A-League action continues on Thursday as Melbourne City will welcome Brisbane Roar to AAMI Park, with the hosts attempting to push into the top-six with a win.

Both of these clubs have struggled for consistency so far this season and Melbourne go into this clash knowing that a fourth win of the season would be enough to push up into the top six, while also seeing them leapfrog the Roar, who have a two-point jump on them ahead of this tussle.

WhatMelbourne City v Brisbane Roar
WhereAAMI Park, Melbourne
When19:45 (AEDT), Thursday 28th December
How to watchParamount+
OddsMelbourne City 1.70, Draw 4.00, Brisbane Roar 4.75

Home comforts missing 

City are unbeaten in their last five meetings against the visitors, recording four wins and scoring two goals apiece in these wins as well but their home form this season raises concerns.

The Sky Blues have remarkably mustered just a single win at AAMI Park since the end of August.

Aurelio Vidmar's side come into this game off the back of three successive draws in all competitions and having exited the AFC Champions League.

Their recent home record includes a pair of 3-3 stalemates against Central Coast and Macarthur, so punters may be looking at the goals markets here. Over 3.5 Total Goals is priced at 2.30.

Roar welcome visitors

If Melbourne are looking for a boost, then it is surely that Brisbane Roar are misfiring themselves.

They went down 3-0 last time to Central Coast and, all told, the Queensland-based outfit have just a single win to their name from their previous four A-League games.

Beaten at this venue 2-1 when they last visited in March, the Roar have left AAMI Park without a point in five successive appearances.

Further, Roar have lost all of their last eight straight trips to Melbourne – a run that stems all the way back to a 2-2 stalemate in February 2017. 

So while they go into this game sitting above Melbourne City, the 1.70 about a home win could be the value call for this Thursday showdown. 

In 40 previous meetings, Melbourne have come out on top 21 times, with seven draws and a dozen wins for Brisbane.

Changes unlikely for City as Roar readjust 

Mathew Leckie, James Nieuwenhuizen, Andrew Nabbout, Zane Schreiber, and Arion Sulemani remain sidelined for Melbourne City, so Aurelio Vidmar may stick with a similar starting XI from last week.

City could be set for a major boost in the New Year, after coach Vidmar provided a promising update on the injury status of Nabbout this week.

The attacker suffered an Achilles injury in a behind-closed-doors friendly in September, which was set to rule him out for the entire A-League season.

However, Nabbout has made promising strides since and could – according to Vidmar – return at some stage this campaign. 

He acknowledged there's still a 'fair way to go' before he can take the field again but added: "He's a big chance [to return] this season."

The Roar parted ways with coach Ross Aloisi as he took a position with Chinese Super League club Shanghai Port as an assistant coach to Kevin Muscat.

Luciano Trani will take charge as the interim manager for this match and will be hoping to get a bounce from a squad have that suffered back-to-back defeats, conceding five goals while scoring just once.

Brisbane are buoyed by the news that midfield talisman, Jay O'Shea has signed a two year contract extension that will keep him at the club through to the end of the 2025/26 season A-League season.

The 35-year-old Irishman has top scored for Roar this season with four goals so far and leads the league for chances created. 

City were held to a goalless draw by local rivals Melbourne Victory last week, failing to score for the first time in six games. They'll be hoping Jamie Maclaren can open the scoring here 3.50.

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