Al Ain will enter today's the third stage of league match against Al Shaab with six points from two victories over Al Ittihad and Al Shabab. Al Ain, who won the league title a record six times, will be looking for the seventh this season.
Under Romanian coach Angel Iordanescu, who led them to win the President's Cup last season, they put up a good performance in the two league matches they played so far.
However, Al Ain could be affected by their participation in the Asian Cup Winners Cup and the Arab clubs tournament during the coming weeks.
Some of Al Ain's league matches will be postponed during this period. However, when they return, the pressure will be too much on them as they have to play their league matches and at the same time the postponement matches.
The third stage begins with three matches today and the rest tomorrow with the game between Al Wahda and Al Ahli as the match of the week.
Today's matches (team's points in parenthesis)
Al Shaab (4) v Al Ain (6) kick off 11 pm
It will be a tough game for Al Ain, who scored easy wins last week. Al Shaab also returned to Sharjah with three valuable points by defeating Al Jazira in Abu Dhabi. Iraqi Abdul Wahab Abulhail scored two goals for Al Shaab in his second match for the club Al Shaab.
However, Al Shaab are a different team than the one in the FA Cup. The return of defenders Abdul Rahman Ibrahim and Jalil Abdul Rahman strengthen the back line while boosting the confidence of the midfielders.
Al Ain coach Iordanescu will field the same team that beat Al Shabab three days ago with the addition of Nigerian pro Emannuel, who will return today after serving a three-match ban.
Bani Yas (3) v Al Jazira (3) kick off 9 pm
Both teams lost their last match Al Jazira at home to Al Shaab 0-2 and Bani Yas were crushed 5-0 by Sharjah. The two teams will be looking to compensate for their loss after a good start which saw them win their first match. Al Jazira rely on Liberian George Weah, who needs to double his effort, while Bani Yas must recover quickly from the heavy defeat they suffered last week.
Al Shabab (0) v Al Ittihad (0) kick off 9 pm
Al Shabab sacked their coach Doshan of Slovakia following their second defeat in the league when they lost to Al Ain 3-1. Doshan was replaced by the club's youth coach Wahid Haydoosi of Tunisia as a caretaker coach. Today's match will be the first for Haydoosi and it will not be easy against Al Ittihad, who made Al Wasl fight hard until the end to win three points.
Al Wahda (4) v Al Ahli (1) 11pm
The defending champions scored a resounding 4-0 win over Al Khaleej in KhorFakkan last week. In today's match they face Al Ahli, who used to give them a run for their money especially when it is played in Abu Dhabi.
Al Ahli will be with their new coach Jan Pivarnic of Czech Republic, who replaced Sudanese Fawzi Al Ta'aisha who returned to coach club's youths. The new Al Ahli coach has worked with Al Jazira in Abu Dhabi two years ago. Al Ahli supporters will expect a better performance from Iranian Ali Karimi.
Al Nasr (2) v Sharjah (4) kick off 9 pm
The FA Cup champions will be looking for their first win in the league after they were held in their first two games by Al Khaleej and Al Ahli. Al Nasr supporters are not happy with the performance of Paolo Silva of Angola. Al Nasr will miss midfielder Salah Abbas, who was shown the red card in the last match.
Sharjah scored an emphatic 5-0 win over Bani Yas last week. The win has raised the morale of the players, who are keen to take the club back to the good old days. Sharjah will miss their striker Saeed Al Kass, who was injured in the last match.
Al Khaleej (1) v Al Wasl (4) kick off 9 pm
The home team, after showing fighting spirit when winning a point from Al Nasr in the away match, fell back in their second at home against Al Wahda when they lost 4-0. Their new Brazilian coach must work hard against the First division giants, who look only to win points.
Al Wasl scored a hard-fought win against Al Ittihad. Chilean Christian Montecinos and Iranian Farhad Majiedi will be under close marking by Khaleej defenders. This will pave the way for other players like Mohammed Omer, Juma Darwish, Tariq Hasan to advance and take advantage of the situation.