Abu Dhabi: The ninth week of the Etisalat Pro-League kicks off on Friday night when reigning champions and leaders Al Ain visit Dubai Club in Al Aweer in a crucial match, while second-placed Al Nasr play host to Dibba.
Dubai have proved to be one of the most improved teams in the league, as their seventh place demonstrates. But Al Ain have demolished any side in their half following their surprising opening-day defeat to Al Ahli. They have scored 35 goals in eight matches and conceded 12, six during their loss in the opening game.
Meanwhile, Al Nasr, who trounced Al Wahda last week and took second place in their quest to return to the top spot, are expected to emerge winners against Dibba, who are 13th with four points.
But they have to be wary of their opponents as Dibba secured their first victory of the season last week against Al Wasl and, as a result, are high on confidence.
The match of the week will be between Al Wahda, who are fifth with 15 points, against Al Ahli, one place below on goal difference, at Al Nahyan Stadium on Friday night.
Both teams suffered disappointing results last week, Al Wahda losing to Al Nasr and Al Ahli failing to beat ten-man Bani Yas.
On Saturday, Al Shabab, who are in the middle of a slump, will host Al Wasl in another Dubai derby which dates back many years. The encounter between the two teams has always been a fascinating one, irrespective of their place in the league.
Marcos Paqueta, the coach of Al Shabab, is skating on thin ice and his future looks gloomy, while Frenchman Guy Lacombe is yet to celebrate his first positive result since he replaced his sick compatriot Bruno Metsu two weeks ago. In the last three matches, Al Wasl have secured only a point.
Al Nasr vs Dibba, 4.45pm.
Al Shaab vs Al Dhafra, 8pm.
Kalba vs Al Jazira, 4.40pm.
Bani Yas vs Ajman, 4.50pm.
Al Shabab vs Al Wasl, 8pm.