Tough challenges lie ahead for the top teams in the Arabian Gulf League table as three of them travel for matchweek 5 of the season. Al Wasl face a stern test in the capital against champions Al Jazira while Al Ain make the trip north to Ras Al Khaima to face an Emirates side looking to return to winning ways. Shabab Al Ahi Dubai head to the smiling emirate for the clash against Sharjah who have replaced their manager after matchweek 5 and will hope to be invigorated by the change as they pursue their first win of the season. Al Wahda are the only top four side playing at home this weekend as they welcome Hatta to Al Nahyan Stadium.
Matchweek 5 games take place over three days, with two games each day between Thursday and Saturday. The start is at 17:00 on Thursday at Fujairah Stadium where Dibba look to bounce back from their defeat against Al Nasr last time out. Al Dhafra who sit at seventh place, just one spot behind their hosts, look to build on their draw against Al Jazira last weekend to leap above Dibba in the table. Elsewhere, Al Wahda eye the top spot when they welcome Hatta in the 20:00 kick-off.
Friday's action gets underway at 17:00 when Al Nasr entertain Ajman at Zabeel Stadium. The hosts go into the game with objective of moving into double digit points, having won their previous game to move into fifth place with seven points. Meanwhile, newly promoted Ajman continue to chase their first win of the campaign after a dreadful start to their first season back at the top flight with four consecutive defeats kept them rooted to the foot of the table.
Abu Dhabi's Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium hosts the pick of the games as last season's champions and runners-up clash in Friday's 20:00 kick-off. Al Jazira look to get their title defence back on track after three winless game threw them in ninth place with just four points. Visitors Al Wasl lead the table with ten points and are unbeaten this season.
The action continues on Saturday with two more games; Al Ain travel to Ras Al Khaima to face Emirates Club at 17:00. The hosts collected four points from as many games and look to upset Al Ain whose three-game winning streak after a draw against Al Wasl in the opening weekend put them top of the table.
Sharjah and Shabab Al Ahli Dubai conclude matchweek 5 with an important game at Sharjah Club Stadium at 20:00. The hosts are still winless this season and Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro paid the price becoming the second Arabian Gulf League coach to face the axe after Hatta's Gjokica Hadzievski. Sharjah are looking for a fresh start and a win against Shabab Al Ahli would be a perfect place to kick-start their season. The visitors boast the competition's joint top goalscorer Makhete Diop and will be reliant on the strength of their attack to get a win and stay in contention for the top spot.