Three conclusions as Macarthur stop Brisbane from going top
Macarthur FC has defeated the Brisbane Roar in Redcliffe thanks to Denis Genreau and Matt Derbyshire's second-half strikes.
Below are our three key conclusions from the 2-0 win.
Are Macarthur the most boring team in the league?
I've held my tongue for weeks about saying this, but I think now is the right time to suggest that Macarthur might be the most boring team in the league this season.
Ante Milicic's side might be great at retaining the ball, but that's about it.
They offer no threat in behind, move the ball too slowly, and are probably one of the few sides that can have over 60% possession without truly influencing the game.
It seems odd to be so critical of their style after a win.
However, their first goal, in particular, also speaks volumes about what they need to do regularly.
Substitute Jake Hollman took a risk by taking on Jack Hingert.
However, instead of playing backwards or taking a safe option, he swung the ball across for Denis Genreau to finish.
That was one of the very few occasions where they made the Roar defence uncomfortable.
Even Matt Derbyshire's lob was due to an individual error by Kai Trewin and questionable positioning by Jamie Young.
In the opening twenty minutes, the Bulls had around 80% possession.
However, as Brisbane captain Tom Aldred said at halftime, the Roar were very comfortable.
One noticeable ploy was an insistence from Macarthur to force the ball onto one side, in the hope of creating an overload, but it just wasn't happening.
You can have much of the ball and still wear out the opposition by switching from side to side, but Milicic's men aren't even doing that.
When you think of the goals they have scored this season, four have come directly from set-pieces, whilst tonight was only the second time they truly opened up a defence.
The other time was when Markel Susaeta fired home against Wellington, but the Nix were down to ten men.
They seriously lack pace and intensity.
Right now, if I was an opposition manager, all I would do is stick ten men behind the ball because they will struggle to score.
We must change our attitude around possession
In that opening twenty minutes where Macarthur was dominating the ball, the Fox Sports commentators seemed to suggest that meant they were the better side.
Let me make two things abundantly clear.
Firstly, more possession does not mean you are the better side.
As the Central Coast Mariners have shown so far this season, you will win games in this league if you can offer a potent counter-attacking threat and defend well.
It was quite fascinating at the start of the season when Macarthur had 70% possession against the Mariners but lost 2-0.
Another point I must make is that more possession also doesn't mean more control of a game.
As ridiculous as it sounds, you can control a football match without the ball.
It might not have been by design, but Brisbane efficiently dealt with Macarthur in the first half, despite their hefty share of the ball.
Jose Mourinho was a master at setting his sides up to be so comfortable without the ball that clean sheets became a given.
Having seen this for many years in England, their media now understands that possession isn't everything.
Instead, it's about making the game uncomfortable for your opponent by creating chances.
However, in Australia, we still seem to be stuck with the mentality that possession is the pinnacle.
It isn't, and the quicker we change this mentality, the quicker we will have better punditry and analysis.
Brisbane fail to Roar
The Roar's performance tonight wasn't that much worse than their recent wins against Adelaide and Melbourne Victory.
However, one thing that was very noticeable from the get-go was fatigue and a lack of ruthlessness in the final third.
Due to the humid conditions in Redcliffe, you could excuse Brisbane for their slow start, as they had to back it up in the same extreme temperatures with just a three-day break.
However, should the manager have made more changes?
Warren Moon stuck with the same starting lineup as Saturday, deciding not to make any changes despite the quick turn around.
On the one hand, you can understand the decision, as based on their current form, the team is picking itself, but not every player can play twice in a matter of days.
Take Scott McDonald, for example, who has suited Moon's system brilliantly, but at the age of 37, it's a big ask for him to play 180 minutes in four days.
The Roar did improve after a sloppy start.
If Dylan Wenzel-Halls' strike early in the second half went the other side of the post, we could be discussing a different result.