Attacking feast expected in Portmore vs Arnett
Arnett Gardens FC and Portmore United are set for their first meeting in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) after last season's final, when the teams meet at the Spanish Town Prison Oval tomorrow at 3 p.m.
In the 2016-17 final, Arnett Gardens edged Portmore United 2-1 to lift their fifth national title last May at the National Stadium.
Now, the teams will continue their rivalry and spectators could be in for some good attacking football based on the performances leading up to this game.
Arnett lead the 12-team standings on 18 points, including five wins and three drawn encounters from eight games. That unbeaten run has placed the 'Junglists' two points ahead of second-place Portmore.
Both teams are good offensively, so it could come down to the best defensive unit on the day. Portmore have a league-high 18 goals, while Arnett come next in the goal column with 17 strikes. That means fireworks are anticipated.
Arnett's attacking line will be led by Lennox Russell, who has scored five times so far this season, alongside national player Fabian Reid, who has netted three goals. They should get support from captain Oneil 'Bigga' Thompson, Rickardo Oldham, Marvin Morgan, Geovaunie Samuda and Ronaldo Wright.
Portmore bounced back from two straight defeats when they whipped struggling Boys' Town 4-1 last Wednesday. The Portmore unit are always fired up for any big clash, and players such as Jermie Lynch, who is on five goals, Ricardo Morris (four goals) and Javon East (three goals) are expected to continue their good goalscoring form.
"It's a game-by-game situation, we don't really look at the statistics. Regardless of the positions both teams are always at their best. The placings don't really count," Arnett's captain 'Bigga' Thompson told STAR Sports.
"We won't look at the fact that we have 11 scorers and they have eight scorers so far. Most definitely, defensive systems could be the key," he added.
"We have a good start, so the aim is to continue that form in order to give players opportunities. We have a balanced squad, and the players who missed preseason are back, and some have not featured as yet," Thompson disclosed.
"In my eyes, we have the best team in the island. We have so much talent and that is pleasing for the community, the coaches and players. We have not lost any game this season, so the aim is to continue," he said.
"It is always a mouthwatering clash against Portmore. The Portmore team are consistent and have a good system, one that I have admired. It will always be a competitive encounter, even if the teams are at 11th and 12th positions in the table," Thompson noted.
Portmore's coach Shavar Thomas will be in charge of his first game against reigning champions Arnett, and he is expecting a competitive affair.
"It is just like another game, but at the same time, the two teams have a history between them. We just want to go out there and get three points," Thomas said.
"If you look at the stats at both ends, one goal separates the teams, but some games' statistics go through the window. Our focus is to get the three points. Both teams have played good attacking football over the years, so with a spread of scorers on the teams, spectators could see entertaining football," the former Reggae Boyz captain said.
• 3 p.m. - Cavalier SC vs UWI FC at Stadium East
• 3 p.m. - Portmore United vs Arnett Gardens at Spanish Town Prison Oval
• 3 p.m. - Sandals South Coast vs Boys' Town at Frome Complex, Westmoreland
• 3 p.m. - Tivoli Gardens vs Humble Lion at Edward Seaga Complex
• 6:30 p.m. - Montego Bay United vs Waterhouse at Montego Bay Sports Complex
Monday night game
• 8:35 p.m. - Harbour View vs FC Reno at Harbour View Stadium
Teams P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Arnett 8 5 3 0 17 5 12 18
Portmore 8 5 1 2 18 6 12 16
UWI FC 8 4 2 2 11 8 3 14
H View 8 3 4 1 6 2 4 13
Tivoli 8 3 3 2 5 4 1 12
FC Reno 8 3 3 2 7 8 -1 12
Cavalier 8 3 2 3 8 6 2 11
Humble Lion 8 2 2 4 9 12 -3 8
MBU 8 2 2 4 6 9 -3 8
Waterhouse 8 1 4 3 6 13 -7 7
Boys' Town 8 1 3 4 6 13 -7 6
Sandals 8 0 3 5 4 16 -12 3