With two sides yet to be beaten and as many yet to collect points, the Arabian Gulf League resumes this weekend with three games on Thursday and four on Friday.
The action gets underway at Shabab Al Ahli’s Al Awir Stadium when the Dubai side host Ittihad Kalba at 17:15. The two sides go into the fixture on the back of contrasting results; the hosts lost their last two league matches, while the visitors from the east coast are on a three-match winning streak that sees them sit as high as fifth in the table.
The second Thursday afternoon kick-off, also at 17:15, pits high-flying Bani Yas against an Ajman side that have flustered with three defeats after a winning start to the campaign. Ajman’s Rashid bin Saeed Stadium plays host to the encounter with the Sky Blues looking to make it five matches unbeaten.
Thursday’s games conclude in Dubai where Al Nasr, winless thus far despite the high-profile acquisitions of Yohan Cabaye and Alvaro Negredo, welcome a Dibba side rejuvenated following their first win of the season in their most recent outing against Al Dhafra. The evening fixture kicks-off at 20:00 at Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium.
Last season’s runners-up Al Wahda travel to Ras Al Khaima for Friday’s 17:10 kick-off against Emirates at the Emirates Club Stadium. The hosts have one win in four and find themselves in tenth place, while the visiting Clarets are the league’s top scorers with 16 strikes, but their defeat to Bani Yas in matchweek 4 saw them drop to fourth place with nine points.
Meanwhile, Al Wasl make the three-hours trip to the west to face bottom-placed Al Dhafra at Hamdan bin Zayed Stadium at 17:25. The Cheetahs are sixth in the table with seven points, while the hosts’ inability to find the back of the net has consigned them to the foot of the table as they remain winless having scored just twice in four matches while conceding 11 times.
Reigning champions Al Ain look to extend their perfect start to the season when they travelling to Fujairah for the 20:00 kick-off. The Boss boast the league’s meanest defence, having conceded just twice, but they remain second behind Sharjah on goal difference. The Wolves hope to bounce back at home after suffering a 3-0 reversal against the leaders last time out.
Matchweek 5 concludes with the pick of the games as Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium hosts ‘Match of The Week’ between table-toppers Sharjah and third-placed Al Jazira. Coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari’s men impressed this season, romping to four straight wins while scoring 15 and conceding just four in the process.
In turn, Marcel Keizer’s Al Jazira have scored as many goals as their opponents, but have been more porous at the back, shipping nine goals in four matches. Their inability to keep opposition strikers at bay cost them a perfect record as they failed to outscore Bani Yas in their 2-2 draw in matchweek 3, leaving them two points behind leaders Sharjah and Al Ain.