The LionsXII will pay a visit to Marlon James and his ATM gang at the Selayang stadium on Saturday. Do our boys think the reigning MSL champions will get anything out of the game?
ATM sit in second place at the moment, with two wins and a draw in four matches. While it is still early days to be looking at the league table, there is no doubt that the LionsXII, who are in ninth position, are going through a tough vein of form at the moment. The previous match against Terengganu widely exposed their frailties in front of goal, with the home side struggling to break down the resolute visiting team. Their lack of composure in the final third was there for all to see, and it seems that they are really missing the guile and quality of the departed Shahril Ishak. To be honest, it's hard to see where a goal will be coming from for the LionsXII. As for ATM, the name Marlon James still lingers. This was the man who single-handedly decimated the reigning MSL champions in the quarter final of the Malaysia Cup last year. LionsXII will definitely have their work cut out for them, and considering Marlon will likely continue his fine goal-scoring record against the Singapore-based team, they would somehow have to find the net themselves if they are going to get something from this game.
|Prediction: 1-0. The LionsXII's goal scoring woes will continue against an ATM side who are in good form at the moment. I predict a narrow victory for the home side.
Bluntness in front of goal haunted the LionsXII during the 0-0 draw against Terengganu. They failed to create the chances and failed to take the one that came. At the least though, Shahfiq Ghani will be more match fit now and I can see him playing a big role. Inconsistency down the flanks has been a big problem so far this season and whoever comes in will have to do the job here to ensure the LionsXII get something out of this. Make no mistake, Marlon James will torment the back-line, so the priority defensively has to be stopping his supply line. ATM will not sit back, but I can foresee the LionsXII's determination getting them at least a point here.
|Prediction: 1-1. The LionsXII will grit out a result.
ATM have in two short years have turned into quite the bogey side for the LionsXII. A good team that also boasts a good record against the Singapore side and that's the advantage they'll carry with them into this game. LionsXII's big concern before the start of the previous match against Terengganu was to stop conceding weak goals. They accomplished that but unfortunately goalscoring woes persisted, and it should be a problem too tomorrow. Shahril Ishak's departure was a loss but I think Hariss Harun's bite in the middle of the field has been a miss too. Isa Halim despite his best efforts has had trouble maintaining control on his own. A sturdy midfield is what a good attack is build on, and that's where Zulahmi has to play his part too. Assuming that is covered, the attackers need to make their efforts count. There's a good chance Safuwan might start upfront and perhaps that could lend an extra bite in attack. Overall, though, this will be an uphill battle for LionsXII.
|Prediction: 2-1. The home side should eke out a win by the odd goal but it will be a much improved performance from the LionsXII