Wednesday, February 16, 2011

17 February 2011: Geylang United vs Etoile FC

Etoile FC, fresh from their 1-2 defeat to Tampines Rovers, find themselves kicking off the season against Geylang United at the Bedok Stadium at 7.30pm. Last season, the Stars came from behind to beat the Eagles by 3-2 en route to the League Cup triumph, whilst in the League, the Stars managed to hold Geylang United to a 2-2 draw in March 2010, before beating them 1-0 in the next 2 encounters.

In this forthcoming league encounter, Etoile FC would be banking on their new players to get all 3 points for them. However, for Arena's charges to leave Bedok with all 3 points, they would have to be wary of the threat that the Eagles pose to them. Amongst the new arrival in the Eagles' camp are players like Rizawan Abdullah (ex-Woodlands Wellington), Sofiyan Abdul Hamid (ex-Balestier Khalsa) and Joo Ki Hwan (ex-Korea Super Reds). Of course, the Stars would also do good to watch out what Mike Wong touted as 'the player to look out for this season': Yasir Hanapi.

The Stars, not surprisingly, would be starting off with a brand new squad, as evident in their maiden showing this season against Tampines Rovers. In that game, the Stars showed fans what they can expect to see for the remaining of the season with Camara, Belouet and Bouchemlal shining in the Charity Shield encounter. Kevin Lefranc is another player to look out for as his attacking runs could cause a few tackles flying in his way, especially when it is being marshalled by tough man Walid Lounis and Adrian Dhanaraj.

For Etoile FC to take this game to the host, they would have to ensure that they play with 2 strikers instead of the lone striker (Justin) that was employed previously. From pre-season friendlies, we could see that the Eagles' defence would be most easily perturbed when they are faced with 2 attackers running at them. It is also noteworthy that Justin may be 'more complete' than Mendy but it took Mendy 3 games last season before finding his footing in the league, scoring 21 goals thereafter. Thus, by partnering a striker like Moulin, Blanpin or even Souchon, who are 1 season old now, it gives Justin more learning opportunities for him to grow and learn faster. We have to remember that he was playing in an amateur league prior coming to Singapore.

As like in previous encounters, this game may just be settled by a goal, and that goal will go to the side that settle into the game first. Our pick: Etoile 1-0

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