Week 2 Rumours

Matchweek One is in the books, and we already have some juicy storylines heading into MW2. Who look like contenders and who look like pretenders? Who has the makings of a champion and who is already looking ahead to a new draft strategy for next year? Let’s kick off with this week’s rumours.

Another Transaction of Note: Samarra FC's Faraz Siraj withdraws from the League due to injury, and Samarra will be replacing him with Khizer Shahzad.  BSL wishes Faraz a safe and speedy recovery and hopes to see him back next year, iA. 

Samarra FC vs, Jerusalem FC (8:45PM on Field 3)

Samarra FC
Samarra FC had a tough start to the season, incurring a heavy loss and forfeiting most of the possession in their first match. They were able to salvage 3 goals and capitalize on miscues, but overall didn’t look threatening going forward. In fact, the only other thing that was going for them was the great colour combination of their jersey kit that made players across the league second think a transfer to the side. Newcomer Danish Khan has shown glimpses of his undeniable talent and it’s clear to see he will be the heart and soul of the Samarian midfield and transitional play. Numair Bari and Umair Jabbar were on the scoresheet and it’s great to see your forwards score, but as the best players on the team, they may have to convert positions in order to balance the weaknesses in the squad’s defense. Defense has been a strength for the club, and they are no strangers to protecting their goal – they had the least goals against last season and made the playoffs as a result. The judgment on what the club philosophy is falls upon GM Umer Jabbar. Will the team play 3 behind half and counter or push forward to create chances on their own? Regardless, we expect to see a change and see Samarra rise once again. A great test befalls them as they line up against Jerusalem this weekend.

Jerusalem FC
Jerusalem FC started the season off by defeating their rivals Hejaz FC in the “BSL Derby”, who have had their number for the most part in the past. GM Zahid Merchant managed to hold on to a clean sheet till the dying seconds of the match, but Muhammad Shah stained it with a decisive consolation goal. Zahid brought back the Jerusalem core, but the additions to his squad are really the ones paying dividends. Mohammad Variava has become a leader in the team after just saying his hellos and has had a prominent effect on the backline and overall team shape on the pitch. The goals also came from the additions of Umair Wasim and Furhan Azmat, who have fit in with the team seamlessly as if they’ve been here for years. With Saqib Dadabhoy on D and Omar Shiekh in the midfield, we can only conclude that the baby blues look like the most balanced and consistent team in the league. Zahid will be missing a couple weeks for Umrah and will look to Umair to take on his duties, but with the new striker stirring up a pair of goals this week, the team may have a change in heart. Jerusalem take on Samarra this week, a squad that gave them fits in this fixture last year

Anatolia FC vs. Sham FC (8:45PM on Field 4)

Anatolia FC
Anatolia FC, once again, start the season with all 3 points and a flurry of goals to take the league by storm. As expected, Anatolia's offensive output is their greatest strength and teams already know it will be difficult to prevent them from scoring. However, the best defense against this team is to score more than them. The team conceded 3 goals despite having a heavy majority of the possession. The offensive options are plenty at the club and it could be a challenge to select the correct players in a balanced formation. Zain Khilji and Nehad Shihab are branded goal scorers combining for all 6 goals in the previous match while Riaz Murad has the knack of sneaking a few of his own with unexpected (due to his size and width) support play. Speaking of support, Taqi Ahmed and Kamil Lotia have proved they have the ability to provide an excess of opportunities for their scorers and just thinking about it, the goal tally for this team could get out of hand. The team will hope to welcome Shoaib Gaya after his absence last week to solidify the back line and take leadership at the back to mop up mishaps and strengthen their intensity. Goalkeeper Umair Shiekh could turn out to be an unsung hero at the club from what we saw last weekend, but he's one to feel the defense should do better to make him look better... Anatolia will push for even more goals against a struggling Sham side, but more importantly, will look to protect their goal with more resilience in their back line.

Sham FC
Sham FC will try again to find any sort of rhythm to get them back to their old goal scoring ways. The team was held scoreless by a pestering Andalusian side, but there is a consensus that the team was not able to create opportunities going forward. It seems the team hasn't jelled as quickly as they wanted to, which is always a part of rebuilding a team. With the likes of Zeem Khan and Athar Siddiqui, the side definitely has goals in them, but it's a matter of whether the midfield can give them the ball at the right times. Human wall Yasser Zia will be welcomed to the new season this week and even though he is not involved in the offense, his presence and leadership has an effect on their performance. The club supporters will demand a positive response this weekend after rumoured bad fitness practices at the club. A BSL reporter had attended a Sham practice midweek and claims the superstars did not attend, and those who did were too tired to play at game pace after just 15 minutes. Among them was Omair Zuberi, who took too many water breaks. Sham won't have time to breathe against the explosive Anatolians, as the only way to win is the keep pace with your opponents.

Andalusia FC vs. Hejaz FC (9:45PM on Field 3)

Andalusia FC
Andalusia FC (now known as Anda-liers FC amongst the league’s gaffers) emerged victorious in their opening match and the change in management seems to have much to do with it. Members of the League board have made a strong case accusing incoming players of providing wrongful and misleading information which may cost the club thousands in fines. These players rated themselves as 1 out of 5 on every category of their self-evaluation sheets, and are performing well beyond those capacities. Andalusia has never won on opening day fixture and has only registered 2 wins in each of the previous 2 seasons. We wonder if this was the cause for immoral behaviors within the club. Certainly, the corruption started with new management, Hassan Chaudhry in particular, as he brought his brother and friends to club for little cost. Andalusia has already registered a quarter of the number of wins in club history in just one game. We expect them to break all club records this season. GM Junaid Mirza was very pleased with his team being able to score goals without conceding and of course making him look good as the only goalie with a clean sheet thus far. The new guys, Ali Chaudhry, Hassan Chaudhary, and Zain Khan certainly have what it takes to compete for top spot and by bringing their own chemistry, they could put their team above their opponents. Their talent will be put to test again this week against reigning back-to-back champs Hejaz FC.

Hejaz FC
After a seventeen game undefeated streak dating back to early 2015 and featured two champions, Hejaz FC finally tasted defeat at the hands of their rivals JFC. It's definitely a slow start by Hejaz standards and it's expected the club will take the loss seriously. The championship squad was broken with the departure of the Masood brothers and a couple of key player suiting up for the opposition, but GM Ibrahim Sardar remains confident in the team’s chance of capturing a three peat. Although they are still capable, it won't come as easy as the previous two. Superstar Muhammad Shah must take on a greater burden offensively as the squad's capacity to go forward has diminished. With his partner in crime A K manning the midfield, Shah may have to take on a more forward role and rely on others to support the D in mid. Goalkeeper Faheem Kotwal is a former superstar in the league, but has been safeguarding his knee and talents on the goal line to avoid re-injury. He can be the answer Hejaz and Sardar are looking for, but will we see him combine in the midfield this season? Ibrahim is also playing out of position to make room for Faheem and will take some getting used to on defense. The lily whites perhaps need more time to jell and discover their tendencies to return to their winning ways. Andalusia is the next to stand in front of them – a fixture that by no means is as easy as it has been in the past.

Week 2 kicks off at 8:45pm on Sunday.