All teams will be keen not to leave anything to chance as they mark a return to football action following a long break when the eleventh round of the ADNOC Pro League kicks off this weekend.
Held under the slogan of ‘Tolerance and Coexistence’, the eleventh match-week will take place on December 25th and 26th.
With the competition approaching its midway mark, teams have had adequate time to reflect on the ups and downs of the ten previous rounds while setting eyes on fresh ambitions for the remainder of the season.
On the first day, there will be four matches, while the remaining three will be held on the following day.
At the forefront of action will be eighth-place Ajman hosting ninth-place Al Wasl, while currently-lying in sixth Al Jazira will take on seventh-place Khor Fakkan in the two early games at 5 pm.
In the two late matches, it will be a battle of the last two teams as Al Orooba hosts Emirates, while a fast-improving Al Nasr will make the long journey to take on leaders Al Ain.
On Saturday, third-placed Shabab Al Ahli will take on struggling Al Dhafrah, meanwhile, Ittihad Kalba will be up against second-place Al Wahda in the two early matches. The closing game of the round will be this between Sharjah and Baniyas.
There is no doubt that current leaders Al Ain will be looking at consolidating their position on standings’ top when they host Al Nasr on Christmas Day.
Al Ain had gone into the lengthy break last month comfortably clutching on to their top position with 24 points, chased down by Al Wahda (20 points), Shabab Al Ahli Dubai and Al Nasr (17 points each), while Sharjah and Al Jazira remained in fifth and sixth positions with an identical 16 points.
Now, that all their players are back from international duty, Al Ain can gladly look towards keeping their hands on the top spot ADNOC Pro League table.
Al Ain’s opponents won’t be that easy prey even though they have displayed a wavering form throughout their campaign so far.
Things have always been close between the two clubs considering the last ten matches played.
No doubt, Al Ain have the edge after scoring 23 goals in comparison with the 21 scored by Al Nasr.
However, next Saturday will be a totally different day with Al Nasr going all out to push towards the top from its current fourth slot in the standings table.
Al Wahda are in second place with 20 points, and they have the onerous task of tackling a tricky opponent like Ittihad Kalba, on Saturday.
On paper, Ittihad Kalba looks like a club that is capable of doing just half of what its illustrious opponent has so far achieved.
But, they can be quite tricky as they’ve displayed sinister form especially with that robust 3-0 win against Al Nasr in Round Eight.
Currently one of two unbeaten sides in the competition, Al Wahda too have had their moments of delight especially with identical 3-0 wins against Ajman and Sharjah in the last two rounds.