Ahead of the start of the 2016/17 Gibraltar Premier Division tonight, Football Gibraltar takes a look at all 10 teams and attempts to predict where they will finish come the end of the season
Europa FC – Buoyed off their Pepe Reyes Cup win, as well as their own European exploits, Europa have once again changed a lot of their team over the summer, bringing in a mixture of international talent and locals, most notably Liam Walker from Lincoln. Kike looks dangerous last weekend and with the likes of Ivan Moya and Liam Walker supplying him, we could be looking at Pedro Carrion’s significantly younger replacement. They’ll be the main challenger to Lincoln’s throne this season.
Europa Point – The first of two newly-promoted clubs, Europa Point have bought in talent from not only the local league, but also clubs in Spain, USA and Australia. The “stepping stone club” as they are called will be an intriguing side to watch and we feel they’ll show enough to stay up over the course of a season.
Gibraltar United – Staying true to their local-only roots, Gib United have bought in talent including the likes of Jesse Victory, Erin Barnett and Jamie Bosio, to give themselves the best chance of success this season. It will be tight, but ultimately we feel that they may fall just short and finish second bottom. Should a play-off be in place this year though, we’d back them to have enough to stay up should they keep the majority of their team.
Glacis – In arguably the most competitive Premier Division in recent memory, Glacis may find themselves struggling somewhat. It will be interesting to see how they do, and perhaps they’ll surprise people with their performances, but over the course of a season we’re afraid that they might not have enough to stay up this time. Needless to say we’ve been proven wrong before though.
Lincoln – A mixed summer for Lincoln saw the high’s of beating Celtic in the Champions League, followed by last week’s defeat against Europa in the Pepe Reyes Cup, which might signal an ultra-competitive fight for the title. In truth Lincoln haven’t bought significantly in the window; instead bringing in a few players to complement the core. How they cope with the departure of Liam Walker is vital to their title challenge and maybe this is the season they are usurped from their reign as champions? We feel that they’ll have just enough this time around, but will learn a lot from the 2016/17 campaign.
Lions – Four of the next five teams will have been very much motivated by Gibraltar gaining an extra Europa League spot. The “3rd – 6th battle” as we’re deciding to label it sees Lions, Lynx, Manchester and St Joseph’s all potentially battle it out for a European spot (presuming Lincoln or Europa win the Rock Cup of course). Sudden change in the managerial position for Lions won’t help though and it may take time to re-settle, which in this league could be damaging.
Lynx – Another of the aforementioned teams; Lynx blew hot and cold at times last season and will hope they register more wins than losses this time out despite finishing 5th. A matter of points will separate the four positions in our opinion, but this time out Lynx may not qualify for European competition, at least in the football. Their futsal team will have to be the flag-bearer for Lynx as a club in Europe for the time being.
Manchester 62 – Manchester are a weird team; they had all the potential to be a top 3 side, but they had a disastrous spell last season winning one in 11 games, followed by just one defeat in six. Consistency will be demanded this time out and we don’t expect the alarming slump to occur this time as Mancheste threaten 3rd but ultimately don’t quite make it.
Mons Calpe – The other newly-promoted side, Mons Calpe won’t realistically have European ambitions; staying up will be the target this time out. They have also bought heavily, signed former Benfica midfielder William as manager and signed a partnership with American side Storm FC, so they are a team with a bright future. A team who might flirt with either end of the table, Mons should be safe and sound come the season’s end.
St Joseph’s – Last season’s third place team, Saints have bought in a number of Spanish players, but also some local talent, including Gib international John Paul Duarte and promising youngster Luke Buxton from Balona. Curiously, they signed Haitian international Shelby Printemps, and if their scouting program extends that far and wide, they could have the ability bring in further talent should they need to either in January, or next summer when we predict they’ll be preparing for a maiden European campaign.
Predicted League Table finish
1st – Lincoln
2nd – Europa
3rd – St Josephs
4th – Manchester 62
5th – Lions
6th – Lynx
7th – Europa Point
8th – Mons Calpe
9th – Gibraltar United
10th – Glacis