Warriors FC vs Tampines Rovers: Tampines set to heap the pressure on Albirex
A match which may show how far S.League giants Warriors have fallen
- Tampines 2-1 Geylang International (S.League)
- Albirex Niigata (S) 4-0 Tampines (League Cup SF)
- Brunei DPMM 2-1 Tampines (League Cup)
- Warriors FC 0-3 Tampines (League Cup)
- Tampines 6-4 Hougang United (League Cup)
- Home United 3-0 Warriors (S.League)
- Geylang International 1-0 Warriors (League Cup)
- Hougang United 4-1 Warriors (League Cup)
- Warriors 0-3 Tampines Rovers (League Cup)
- Brunei DPMM 4-0 Warriors (League Cup)
In the past, any match between Warriors FC and Tampines Rovers, the two most successful clubs in the history of the S.League, at this stage of the season would instantly be touted as a potential title decider.
Not anymore, however.
The Warriors, right now, are a club in turmoil. Despite having a squad filled with experienced campaigners, they have failed to string results together and their inconsistent season left them languishing third from bottom in the nine-team league table.
They are also currently on a five-game winless streak, with the last game ending in a poor 3-0 defeat to Home United.
It will be hard for the Warriors to end that unwanted streak though, considering that the Stags are charging for the top of the table.
They managed to close the gap on league leaders Albirex Niigata (S) to just a single point, and will be looking to put themselves in a prime position to take advantage of any more slip-ups by the White Swans.
It is also well worth nothing that the Stags have not lost in the league since May too.
Tampines Rovers will continue to miss Shahdan Sulaiman through injury, while Jermaine Pennant is also suspended for this clash.
Hafiz Osman will miss this through suspension for the Warriors, although everyone else in the squad will be available.
Key Battle: Kento Fukuda vs Billy Mehmet
With seven goals and five assists in just 16 league appearances, it’s fair to say that Mehmet has been key to Tampines’ fortunes this season.
His ability to hold up the ball in the attacking third and play in his teammates has proved to be very vital in coach Akbar Nawas’ game plan.
Warriors will most probably call upon Kento Fukuda to stop him. While this season hasn’t been exactly the best for the Japanese, he is still a capable defender and Warriors will need him to turn up on the day if they want to overturn their fortunes.
Things haven’t exactly gone down the way Razif Onn expected when the interim coach took over from Jorg Steinebrunner midway through the season.
With not much games left until the end of the season, he may well find himself out of job at the end of the year if there isn’t any improvement shown from now until then.
On the other hand, Akbar has been sort of a revelation for Tampines, moulding the Stags into a side that plays attractive football, yet capable of turning it on when needed.
Last Five meetings
- Warriors 0-3 Tampines (League Cup, Jul’ 16)
- Warriors 0-0 Tampines (S.League, May’ 16)
- Tampines Rovers 4-2 Warriors (S.League, Apr’ 16)
- Tampines Rovers 0-0 Warriors (S.League, Nov’ 15)
- Warriors 2-1 Tampines Rovers (S.League, Aug’ 15)
Facts and Figures
Statistically, this is the worst season for the Warriors ever. They have never averaged below 1.3 points per game, but are currently averaging 1.1 points per game this season.
With a win against Warriors on Friday, Tampines will go five straight matches against Warriors without a defeat for the first time since 2011.
Warriors have conceded first 14 times this season, the joint-highest in the league. They have gone on to lose 11 times.
Tampines have opened the scoring in 17 matches this season, the highest in the league. Out of those 17, they have gone on to win 13 times.
It seems like there will be no stopping Tampines, who are on a roll right now. 3-1 to the Stags.