The FourFourTwo Preview: MSL Gameweek 20
PDRM vs Sime Darby
PDRM's form: WWWDL | Sime Darby's form: DLLLD
Last meeting: Sime Darby 1-4 PDRM (April 2015)
Although it is still mathematically possible for them to escape from the drop zone, Sime Darby’s relegation is nothing but a formality because they need a massive goal difference swing and rely on a Sarawak defeat against ATM. With that in mind, head coach Ismail Zakaria might resign to his team's fate and opt to rest his key players ahead of the Malaysia Cup playoffs. Meanwhile, PDRM will be looking to win at the Shah Alam Stadium to keep their chance of finishing in the top four alive. And in any case, if they need any reason at all to beat Sime Darby, it’s to ensure the Giant Killers remain winless in the league for another game. Why? It’s because the Cops are still the only team to go through an entire league season without a win in 2009. If Sime Darby’s woeful form continues, it will mean that PDRM will finally have a buddy to share the record with...
ATM vs Sarawak
ATM's form: LLLLL | Sarawak's form: DLDLL
Last meeting: Sarawak 1-1 ATM (April 2015)
The team talk inside ATM’s dressing room for this match will be a straightforward one: “Lose and get relegated.” As they are five points behind Sarawak with three matches remaining, a draw will at least see them fight for their Super League survival for another day. Statistically, the Gladiators might be able to nick a win on Saturday, as the Crocs have the joint-worst away record in the league, collecting just two points out of a possible 27. After serving a one-match suspension against Sime Darby, Patrik Gerthardt should return to the starting line-up to help the Kuching team improve on that poor away form, while goalkeeper Iqbal Suhaimi and winger Ashri Chuchu might not recover from their respective injuries in time.
LionsXII vs Selangor
LionsXII's form: LWLWW | Selangor's form: WWDDL
Last meeting: Selangor 4-0 LionsXII (April 2015)
This Saturday the football rivalry between Singapore and Selangor is renewed once again. Both teams are expected to name similar starting line-ups from Wednesday, but all eyes will be on Selangor striker Afiq Azmi, who bagged a hat-trick against the LionsXII. He has not found the back of the net since then – a run of 11 consecutive games – but Mehmet Durakovic might start him to give the Malaysia international the much needed confidence boost. And it is not like the Red Giants rely solely on Afiq for goals, as the likes of Guilherme de Paula and Ahmad Hazwan Bakri have deputised well. Furthermore, Selangor have only failed to score once all season long – in their opening day defeat to Terengganu – a record they are sharing with PDRM. So, although Fandi Ahmad's side has been unbeaten at home, we won’t be surprised if Selangor join JDT and Terengganu as the only teams to leave the island nation with a point.
Kelantan vs Johor Darul Ta'zim
Kelantan's form: LLDWW | JDT's form: WWWWW
Last meeting: JDT 3-1 Kelantan (April 2015)
Kelantan are currently five points behind Perak, who are holding on to eighth place in the league table – the final spot of Pot Two in the Malaysia Cup seeding – so they will need as many points as they can get in the three remaining league matches. However, last week’s heavy defeat in the East Coast derby proved one thing: the Red Warriors have struggled to beat top sides. It is evident from the total of seven points out of a possible 30 they have won against the current top six – JDT, Pahang, Selangor, Terengganu, PDRM and Felda United. This week, they won't face a tougher opponent than the Southern Tigers, whom they have not beaten in the last five games in all competitions. The Johor side will also be going into this match in good form, especially with Luciano Figueroa having scored 10 goals in his last 10 games.
Perak vs Pahang
Perak's form: LLLLL | Pahang's form: WLWWW
Last meeting: Pahang 1-0 Perak (May 2015)
Perak have lost their last five matches and it could get worse for them, as their next three games will be against the current top three in the league, starting with Pahang. It is certainly looking all gloom and doom for the Bos Gaurus, especially with the potential absence of joint-top scorers Namkung Woong and Chad Souza again. However, they can draw inspiration from the fact that they have never lost to the Elephants at home since the Malaysian Super League era began in 2004, winning eight and drawing three. With JDT looking likely to get full points in Kota Bharu, Pahang will have to break the jinx to stay in title contention.
Felda United vs Terengganu
Felda's form: LWDLW | Terengganu's form: WWWWW
Last meeting: Terengganu 1-3 Felda (April 2015)
Did you know that no teams have picked up more points on the road than Felda United so far? Yes, it’s true, and it’s such a big contrast to their home form, in which only ATM and Sime Darby have had it worse. In fact, the Fighters have not won their last four matches at the Selayang Stadium. Terengganu, currently the second most in-form team in the league, will definitely take note of their vulnerability at home. No major absentees have been reported for both sides, but Ismail Faruqi, who scored the opening goal against Perak, might not start against Felda after being subbed off on Wednesday due to injury.