Warriors FC vs Home United: Ailing giants battle for bragging rights in Uniform Derby

S.League | Jalan Besar Stadium | Friday 22 April | 7.45pm 

Billed As:

The opportunity for either side to get back on track with a bang.

The lowdown:

They are two of the S.League’s most successful sides, but the uniformed giants have not been faring very well this season.

Warriors FC won their record ninth title as recently as 2014, but finished fifth the next season in a disappointing title defence.

That is where they stand this year at the one-third mark, already eight points behind leaders Albirex Niigata (S).

Warriors FC form:

  • Warriors 0-1 Hougang United (S.League)
  • Geylang International 2-2 Warriors (S.League)
  • Warriors 2-0 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
  • Balestier Khalsa 1-1 Warriors (S.League)
  • Warriors 2-0 Garena Young Lions (S.League)

Home United form:

  • Geylang International 2-2 Home (S.League)
  • Home 0-3 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
  • Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Home (S.League)
  • Home 4-1 Garena Young Lions (S.League)
  • Brunei DPMM 2-1 Home (S.League)

Two victories from seven games is nothing to crow about – only three teams have less – and the Choa Chu Kang-based side is in a bit of a funk right now, having only taken one point from their last two games.

Triumph in the league’s highest-profile derby will be a statement of intent and a morale-boosting way to get back to form – but the same can be said of their opponents.

Home United’s wait for a first domestic crown since 2003 looks set to continue unless they start to rack up the points very soon, as they languish in seventh after eight games.

They are level on points with the Warriors but behind on goal difference and have played a game more, whilst also conceding the second-most number of goals (12) in the league behind cellar-dwellers Garena Young Lions.

A stuttering start to the campaign that constituted two points from four games was followed by two victories – their only ones so far – in a row, which sparked hopes that the Bishan outfit had finally found form.

That proved to be a false dawn as they took one point from their next two games and you can be sure Home will be desperate to return to winning ways again.

Team News:

Warriors duo Shaiful Esah and Ismail Yunos are likely to be unavailable due to injury. Versatile midfielder Emmeric Ong is away on reservist, but can still be called upon if needed.

Home winger Faris Ramli has missed the last five games, but will return to the side in a welcome boost. Long-term injury victims Ang Zhi Wei, R. Aaaravin and Nur Hizami Salim continue to be sidelined.

Key Battle: Madhu Mohana vs Ken Ilsø

Ken Ilso is returning to his fearsome self

One of the league’s most imposing centre-backs will have to be at his best when he comes up against a Danish attacker who appears to be hitting his stride.

Madhu Mohana and Ken Ilsø will face each other for the first time in their careers and how this match-up pans out could end up having a huge influence on the final outcome of the game.

The Warriors man is likely to have the upper hand in aerial duels, but will have to find a way to deal with former Bundesliga star Ilsø’s flair. The latter, who is likely to spearhead the Home attack again, has notched three goals in his last four games after a low-key start.

Ilsø is not an out-and-out striker and is equally adept at carving out chances for team-mates, whilst also having a penchant for drifting across the frontline to exploit space.

Madhu will have to keep a tight leash on Home’s key attacker, as well as command his rearguard to help out with the shackling.

The Coaches:

Jorg Steinebrunner, who took over this season, has tried to impose his style of play on the Warriors with mixed results. The German does not give his side carte blanche to attack, favouring instead a more methodical build-up with a solid base at the back.

In contrast, his counterpart Philippe Aw is a firm advocate of a fluid, attacking philosophy of play.

However, that has also not gone to plan for the Protectors so far, with their main problem being a failure to put away the chances they work so hard to carve out.

Last Five Meetings:

  • 14/2/16: Home 2-2 Warriors (S.League, Feb, 15')
  • 21/10/15: Home 2-1 Warriors (S.League, Oct, 15')
  • 15/8/15: Home 2-0 Warriors (SG Cup, Aug, 15')
  • 12/8/15: Warriors 1-2 Home (SG Cup, Aug, 15')
  • 30/7/15: Warriors 2-2 Home (S.League, Aug, 15')

Facts and Figures:

  • There have only been five 0-0 results in the 69 times this fixture has been played, with the last coming in November 2010.
  • Of the last four uniform derbies played at Jalan Besar Stadium in the S.League, Home and Warriors have each won two.
  • Home have dropped nine points from winning positions this season (P5 W1 D3 L1), the most in the league.
  • Warriors are the only side to have scored after 90 minutes (excluding own goals) this season (2 goals).
  • Warriors have scored three league goals from corners (out of nine), joint-most with Albirex (out of 15).
  • Only one of the last nine derbies has produced less than three goals.

FourFourTwo prediction:

It’s a tough call but Home should create more than the Warriors here and take this. 2-1 to the boys in red.