A potential change at the top, a 2015 Malaysian FA Cup final repeat, and a Selayang Derby - just another exciting week of Malaysian Super League football....
Selangor vs Pahang
Selangor’s form: WWDLL | Pahang’s form: DWWWW
Last meeting: Pahang 1-1 Selangor (Feb 2015)
Following the crazy Felda United game that finished 4-4, Selangor have reverted to their old self and kept two straight clean sheets. Coincidentally, the man in charge of marshalling the defence, Robert Cornthwaite, scored in both of the games. This week, with the Red Giants facing Pahang, the Australian defender will have to maintain his rich form because his team will not be able to call upon defenders Shahrom Kalam and Raimi Nor due to injuries. Besides that, coach Mehmet Durakovic will also not have Guilherme De Paula and Abdul Hadi Yahya at his disposal, so it will help if Cornthwaite can somehow find the back of the net for the third consecutive match.
As for the away side, although all their key players should be fit for the fixture, all pressure will be on Pahang. A defeat will see the Elephants lose the leadership of the Malaysian Super League to Selangor, with Perak and JDT within reach to snatch the top spot as well depending on their respective results.
Johor Darul Ta'zim vs PDRM
JDT’s form: DWWWL | PDRM’s form: WLLLW
Last meeting: PDRM 1-0 JDT (Feb 2015)
If JDT are the most organised team in the league – prior to the 1-1 draw with Pahang, Mario Gomez’s side was impenetrable in goal in their previous five matches – the Police will be the most enigmatic one, as seen from the fact that they have both the most goals scored and conceded records in the league. Besides that, they beat JDT 1-0 the last time around, despite having lost 5-3 to the LionsXII in the previous week. So, the big question is: can the Southern Tigers finally be tamed at the Larkin Stadium? Although the defending champions have yet to lose a league match at home, it is certainly not impossible for PDRM to be the first team to break that proud record because the visitors are that unpredictable.
Terengganu vs Sarawak
Terengganu’s form:LLLLL | Sarawak’s form: LLDWL
Last meeting: Sarawak 3-1 Terengganu (Feb 2015)
If Terengganu and Sarawak have one thing in common, it will be their recent struggle to win any match. Both teams started the season brilliantly but somehow shot themselves in the foot and slid down the league table as the season progresses on. The Turtles, however, are arguably having it worse. Besides conceding the second most goals in the league – even more than bottom-of-the-table Sime Darby – they will have to take on the remainder of the league season without head coach Abdul Rahman Ibrahim, who has requested for a short break from football, and their suspended top scorer, Paulo Rangel. Thus, the timing doesn’t come any better for the Crocs, who did everything but scoring against Felda last week, to bring at least a point home back to their state.
Felda United vs Sime Darby
Felda's form: WLDLL | Sime Darby’s form: LDLDL
Last meeting: Sime Darby 0-3 Felda United (Feb 2015)
Three points in the bag for Felda United? It certainly seems so, as Sime Darby do not look capable of stopping the attacking threat of the home side, who have scored 16 of their 22 goals when they play at the Selayang Stadium (both teams share the stadium this season, in case you do not know). Besides that, Sime Darby have not helped themselves, as 61% of the goals conceded by them have come from the same venue.
Perak vs ATM
Perak’s form: WWDWW | ATM’s form: DLWDD
Last meeting: ATM 0-2 Perak (Feb 2015)
Following the departure of B. Sathianathan, relegation-threatened ATM have improved under Shahrin Majid, picking up six points in five games compared to four in their previous seven. However, in general, they are still a struggling side especially on the road, collecting just two points out of a possible 12 this season. On top of that, they recently struggled against Frenz United Under-18 in a supposedly easy friendly encounter. Hence, facing an enthusiastic Perak side, easily one of the most in-form teams in the league, at the Ipoh Stadium is definitely not ideal for the Gladiators.
LionsXII vs Kelantan
LionsXII’s form: LDWWW | Kelantan’s form: DLWLL
Last meeting: Kelantan 1-3 LionsXII (May 2015)
The LionsXII fans might be worried about a potential backlash from Kelantan in this week’s battle, having defeated the two-time Super League winners in the 2015 Malaysian FA Cup final. However, the signs are pointing at the opposite direction. Firstly, the Lions are unbeaten at home this season, while Kelantan have only won twice away from home. Secondly, since taking over the hot seat from George Boateng, head coach Azraai Khor Abdullah has only amassed three wins in 11 matches in all competitions with the Red Warriors (in comparison, the Dutch coach achieved four wins in seven). Lastly, the former Negeri Sembilan, Perak and T-Team head coach has only won once (and drawn twice) in his last nine meetings with the LionsXII since the Singaporean side began competing in Malaysia. Feeling better, the LionsXII fans?