Birkirkara in ‘Save the Premier League’ mis­sion to­mor­row

● Stripes face run­away league lead­ers Balzan in week­end’s top clash ● Tough match also for Hiber­ni­ans against Flo­ri­ana as Val­letta take on Gzira U.; Ham­run S. face Sliema W. ● Tarx­ien- Mosta and St An­drewsPem­broke are di­rect rel­e­ga­tion clashes

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

The Bank of Val­letta Premier League re­sumes this week­end af­ter the in­ter­na­tional break which in­cluded sim­i­lar 2-0 away de­feats at the hands of Eng­land and Lithua­nia.

This week­end, or rather to­mor­row, Birkirkara are called by all lo­cal en­thu­si­asts to save the League as they taken on lead­ers Balzan who are al­ready en­joy­ing a six-point lead over the same Stripes and Hiber­ni­ans.

Even the Pao­lites face a tough match when fac­ing Flo­ri­ana, while next in line Val­letta and Ham­run will be meet­ing Gzira and Sliema re­spec­tively.

At the other end of the stand­ings, two in­ter­est­ing matches await lo­cal foot­ball fol­low­ers with Tarx­ien play­ing against Mosta and St An­drews and Pem­broke clash­ing in another derby match.

As al­ready stated, the top week­end clash is the derby be­tween Balzan and Birkirkara, that is, the first and sec­ond placed in the stand­ings.

Balzan have had a very pos­i­tive start to the sea­son hav­ing won six and drawn the other match to ob­tain 19 points from a pos­si­ble 21.

From what has been seen so far, it is ev­i­dent that Oliver Spi­teri’s side is the most con­sis­tent and most im­pres­sive for­ma­tion.

And Birkirkara will have to be at their very best to out­smart the lead­ers and bring their un­beaten run to an end, thus also re­duc­ing the gap from six to three points and there­fore sav­ing the Premier League.

The Stripes have been some­what unim­pres­sive in their last few matches which also in­cluded that mis­er­able de­feat against bot­tom placed Pem­broke.

If Balzan win to­mor­row’s clash, they may well be able to ex­tend their lead, es­pe­cially if Hiber­ni­ans fal­ter to­day in their match against Flo­ri­ana.

I ex­pect Flo­ri­ana to do their best to re­turn to win­ning form af­ter hav­ing fig­ured in a 1-1 draw against Ham­run and a 3-1 loss against Sliema in their last two matches.

Hiber­ni­ans will also be ea­ger to re­turn to win­ning form af­ter hav­ing been held to a sur­prise 1-1 draw by Gzira United in their last league match.

The Pao­lites, like Birkirkara and the other chal­lengers, can­not af­ford to lose more points even if the com­pe­ti­tion is still at an early stage.

Gzira have been one of the pos­i­tive sur­prises so far this sea­son. And in their last match against Hiber­ni­ans, they sim­ply con­firmed that they can­not be taken for granted.

Val­letta will also be ea­ger to re­turn onto the win­ning trail as they take on Gzira United.

In the last three matches, the cit­i­zens gained only one point fol­low­ing two de­feats at the hands of Flo­ri­ana and Hiber­ni­ans and a draw against Birkirkara.

Now it is im­per­a­tive for them to start win­ning the points if they are to re­tain their hopes of con­tin­u­ing their chal­lenge to re­tain the ti­tle.

The Ham­run-Sliema clash should also be worth watch­ing.

With the Spar­tans show­ing im­pres­sive form in their re­turn to the Premier League and with Sliema show­ing signs of a good re­cov­ery af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing start to the sea­son, I ex­pect both sides to go all out for a win which would en­able them to con­sol­i­date their po­si­tion in the stand­ings.

The Tarx­ien-Mosta clash as well as to­mor­row’s derby game be­tween St An­drews and Pem­broke should also be keen en­coun­ters where pre­cious points vis-a-vis the rel­e­ga­tion is­sue will be at stake.

The four teams have shown some im­prove­ment of late and I ex­pect all of them to go all out for a vic­tory. Balzan Birkirkara Hiber­ni­ans Ham­run Val­letta Flo­ri­ana Gzira Sliema Tarx­ien Mosta St. An­drews Pem­broke 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 6 4 4 3 3 3 2 3 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 3 0 2 0 0 1 0 16 6 19 2 15 6 13 2 10 8 13 2 15 10 11 2 11 9 11 3 9 8 10 2 9 8 9 4 8 10 9 3 7 11 8 5 8 15 6 5 6 14 6 5 8 17 4

Ac­tion from an en­counter be­tween Hi­bre­ni­ans and Flo­ri­ana last sea­son

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