Champions to test hot Arnett
IF they are to win the Red Stripe Premier league (RSPL), leaders Arnett Gardens will have to show defending champions Portmore United what they are made of in their clash at Ferdie Neita Park today at 7:00 pm.
Arnett, back-to-back champions in 2001 and 2002, are off to their best start in many moons and lead the standing with 10 points, while Portmore United are ninth with four after a dismal start, losing their first two games.
Despite lying in ninth, Portmore are not an easy team to beat and coach Andre Waugh says they are ready to disrupt Arnett's flow.
Said Waugh: "All systems go and we're ready. We had a good week in terms of preparations and we know they're the hottest team in the league, but we have the potential to disrupt their flow at this time."
He added: "It's going to be one of those games where the team that is most prepared to play for 90 minutes will come out on top. We definitely understand the challenge that we're up against, having been the defending champions and having to play up to that standard.
"We also know most clubs believe the road to the title is through us, so we are up to the task. We're not shy of competition and if we're to be taken serious as a champion team, we have to beat teams like these who are riding high," he added.
Portmore have lost to both promoted teams — Savannah FC and Cavalier — but defeated Waterhouse and drew with Sporting Central.
On the other hand, Arnett are off to a 'flyer' with wins over Tivoli Gardens, Humble Lions and Boys' Town, while drawing with Highgate United.
The 'Junglist' are the only unbeaten team in the league after four rounds and coach Paul 'Tegat' Davis believes there is no pressure to prove they are title contenders.
"I wouldn't put ourselves under any pressure, all teams are title contenders and this is just the fifth game, so we just have to maintain our standard," said Davis.
"This game will be a goalkeeper's game, but we definitely want those three points. It will be a tough game. The coach (Waugh) said they won their first game and drew the other so they have found their rhythm. We have to just do what we have to do and if we do get a point, it is also good. It's going to be interesting," said Davis.
However, the Arnett injury list is growing after Andrew Phang dislocated his shoulder during training, joining Errol Stevens, Rohan Reid, Newton Sterling and Kemar G Brown on the sideline.
Once again, the talented Lamar Nelson and the sharp-looking Kirk Ramsey, both on three goals, are expected to lead the Arnett charge, which should include Marcelino Blackburn, the competent Vishunel Harris, Ricardo Oldham, Odaine Simpson, and William Richards.
Portmore will be without Rosario Harriott and Upston Edwards, but with the likes of Ewan Grandison, Andrew Vanzie, Alanzo Adlam, Stephen Williams, Adoah Nickles, and Andrew Christie, they are expected to take the fight to Arnett.
Meanwhile, second-placed Savannah, on nine points, should come under fire at Drewsland against eighth-placed Waterhouse, on four points.
Savannah lost their perfect record against Tivoli Gardens last week, but the general feeling is that was the beginning of many more defeats to come.
The Humble Lion-Tivoli Gardens game should be an intriguing one. Tivoli are up to fifth on seven points, while the May Pen opponents are faltering in 11th on three points.
At Collie Smith Complex, home team Boys' Town in sixth spot on six points, will be aiming to rebound against the struggling Montego Bay United in 10 spot on three points.