The FourFourTwo Preview: MSL Gameweek 18
Sime Darby vs Selangor
Sime Darby's form: LLDLD | Selangor's form: DDLLW
Last meeting: Selangor 3-2 Sime Darby (April 2015)
Despite being tipped to beat PDRM and Sarawak in their last two matches, both disappointingly ended in draws for Selangor. It is quite puzzling what has gone wrong with the Klang Valley outfit. The team that entered the second half of the season with an average of 2.18 goals per match – second only to PDRM back then – has somehow lost its fangs, scoring only seven goals in their last six matches (1.17 goals per match). Afiq Azmi, the current local top scorer, has not found the back of the net since bagging a hat-trick against the LionsXII. However, the Red Giants will have an opportunity to improve that record in their upcoming visit to Sime Darby, who have conceded 15 goals in their last five outings. As for the Giant Killers, anything less than a win on Saturday could seal their Premier League fate because if 10th-placed Sarawak beat PDRM, it will be virtually impossible for them to escape the relegation zone.
ATM vs Johor Darul Ta'zim
ATM's form: LLLLL | JDT's form: WWWWD
Last meeting: JDT 2-1 ATM (April 2015)
In this match between the second-bottom-of-the-league and the second-on-the-league-table, it certainly looks like a straightforward win for JDT. However, for all their might and superiority at the Larkin Stadium, the Southern Tigers are almost like house kittens when they are on the road – they have actually won only twice away from home this season. The Gladiators, on the other hand, have picked up most of their points at the Selayang Stadium – three of them actually came against league leaders Pahang. So, stranger results have happened, just sayin’…
LionsXII vs Pahang
LionsXII's form: LWWWL | Pahang's form: WWWWD
Last meeting: Pahang 3-2 LionsXII (April 2015)
Just when they want to draw some home comfort following their 4-2 defeat at Terengganu, the LionsXII will have to play host to Pahang, arguably the last team they want to face at the moment. Their unbeaten home record of six wins and two draws will be severely tested by the Elephants, who have stomped past all teams and only failed to pick up full points once in their last 12 league matches – a 1-1 draw with JDT in June. And with Singapore celebrating their 50th year of independence on Sunday, Zainal Abidin Hassan and his team will be eager to spoil the party.
Sarawak vs PDRM
Sarawak's form: DLLLL | PDRM's form: WDLLW
Last meeting: PDRM 1-0 Sarawak (April 2015)
On Wednesday against Selangor, Sarawak finally halted their losing run and obtained their first point in six matches. It might just get better for the Crocs, as their final five matches will be against the teams in the current bottom half of the league table, starting with PDRM, who have enjoyed their very own mini-revival as well. Under caretaker coach Fauzi Pilus, they beat Perak 3-2 and drew with Selangor 1-1 in their last two games, but questions will be asked about their defence and concentration. In both games, they somehow conceded goals in the dying minutes.
Kelantan vs Terengganu
Kelantan's form: DWWDW | Terengganu's form: WWWWL
Last meeting: Terengganu 2-1 Kelantan (April 2015)
An East Coast derby is always an entertaining affair for fans, especially if both teams are doing relatively well. Besides Pahang and JDT, Terengganu have recorded four wins in a row – the current best streak in the league – while Kelantan are the third most in-form team. However, when it comes to face-to-face encounters, the Turtles are holding the upper-hand against Red Warriors, having won 2-1, 3-2 and 3-0 in their past three meetings.
Perak vs Felda United
Perak's form: LLLWW | Felda United's form: DLWDW
Last meeting: Felda United 1-4 Perak (April 2015)
The match against Felda United, who have the second best away record in the league, is probably coming at the wrong time for Perak, as they face a striking crisis. The Bos Gaurus have only registered six goal-scorers so far in the league – Chad Souza, Namkung Woong, Nurridzuan Abu Hassan, Nasir Basharrudin, Horrace James and Thiago Junior – which is the current joint-fewest in the league alongside Sime Darby. Their overreliance on the same players was exploited in their recent 1-0 defeat to Kelantan, when most of them were out injured. Against Felda, it could happen again, as Nurridzuan might not be available due to an ongoing ankle injury, while the trio of Souza, Woong and Thiago were spotted sitting out of training on Thursday. In light of that, forgotten striker Bobby Gonzales might be getting some much needed game time. As for the Fighters, they know a win will see them leapfrog Perak.