The Malta Independent 14 November 2019, Thursday

BOV Premier League: Leaders Floriana face second placed Sirens in weekend’s top clash

Henry Brincat Friday, 18 October 2019, 12:00 Last update: about 28 days ago

The Bank of Valletta Premier League resumes after the international stoppage with the seven matches of the 7th round spread over four days - between today and Monday.

At present Floriana lead the standings with 14 points, one ahead of surprise package Sirens. Hamrun are third on 11, while Gzira and Hibernians are next on 10 points each. Sta Lucia follow on 9, Valletta and Senglea 8 each, Mosta and Balzan 7, Birkirkara 6, Sliema 5, Gudja 4 and Tarxien prop up the table with no points.

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The most important clashes are those involving four of the top five teams, that is, Sirens-Floriana and Hibernians-Hamrun.

But even the other matches have their importance.

 

TOP CLASHES

The main match is being played tomorrow.

Floriana will be aiming to retain their top placing by beating the newcomers from St Paul's Bay.

The Greens have shown they intend to challenge seriously for the honours this season. It is years since the Greens have had such an excellent start to a season.

But they cannot take things for granted as Sirens could be tough opponents, as Hibernians and Sliema have already experienced.

Sirens can be considered as the surprise package so far. I never expected the St Paul's Bay outfit to do so well in their Premier League debut season.

They are certainly full of enthusiasm considering that out of the first 6 matches, they have won four, drew 1 and lost the other.

The match is the first on the programme tomorrow at the National Stadium.

The other top clash between Hibernians and Hamrun is being played on Monday evening.

The two teams are coming from defeats. The Paolites went down 1-0 against Birkirkara, while the Spartans lost against Mosta.

I expect both sides to go all out to return to winning form to remain close to the leading duo.

Both teams need to show improvement as they disappointed their followers in their last encounters.

Another interesting clash is on the card this afternoon at Ta' Qali National Stadium where 4th placed Gzira United face the improving Birkirkara who are still occupying a lowly 11th placing.

The Maroons scored a second consecutive win when beating none other than champions Valletta 1-3. Moreover, the Maroons are still unbeaten after 6 matches and it is obvious they will be looking forward with optimism to maintain their positive trend.

On their part Birkirkara keep showing improvement after suffering defeats against Floriana and Senglea in their opening matches.

Now they have collected 6 points from three consecutive draws and a win, which had eluded them in their opening five matches.

The Stripes will also be looking forward to carry their current good form into this round, by beating Gzira to move further up the standings.

 

OTHER MATCHES

In the other matches, all the teams will also be seeking precious points to improve their position in the standings.

The first match today between Mosta and Sta Lucia should be a very balanced encounter.

Mosta are coming from a brilliant 2-0 win against Hamrun Spartans, while Santa Lucia seek to return to winning form after being held to a goalless draw by Senglea.

Also today, the Senglea-Sliema clash promises to be a keen and balanced encounter.

Sliema, in particular, will be aiming to win the three points to move away from the relegation zone.

In their last match, they were surprised by Sirens. Now they face 8th placed Senglea who have already collected 8 points from their opening six games.

Senglea are not to be taken lightly. On their day, they can be very tough opponents and this should not be an exception against Sliema.

On Sunday Valletta should be able to return to winning form when they face 13th placed Gudja.

The champions need to find their best form quickly and return to winning form if they are to maintain the pace with the top clubs.

At present, they are already six points behind Floriana, but this match presents a chance for them to get back on track.

Gudja will not be throwing in the towel so easily. They have lost only two of the six matches played so far, but they are still searching for their first win.

Tarxien are also still searching not only for their first win, but also for their first point of the season.

And against Balzan on Sunday, this once again seems to be difficult as Balzan have shown improvement in recent matches culminating in the 1-0 win over Gudja even if they were made to suffer in the last moments before claiming all the three points in a 1-0 win.

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