Premier Division 2017/18 preview

With the start of the new Premier Division kicking off today, we have got you covered with everything you need to know ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.

From team previews to our league views and analysis of the summer signings, there’s plenty to get stuck into before St Joseph’s face Manchester 62.

Here’s all your essential reading ahead of the new season …

Opening Premier Division fixtures

The league kicks off with St Joseph’s taking on Manchester 62 followed by a new-look Gibraltar United side facing off against Allen Bula’s Lynx.

Tomorrow’s only game sees Mons Calpe against Premier new-boys Gibraltar Phoenix. After the Pepe Reyes Cup yesterday, Lincoln & Europa play on Wednesday against Glacis United & Lions respectively. 

Team by team preview

Europa FC (prediction 2nd)  

If yesterday’s game is anything to go by, hopes of retaining the Premier Division title look very slim. They are still struggling to kill games off, too many defensive errors and certain players still trying to find their way into the football in Gibraltar. 

Their summer signings did relatively well last night with Nito Gonzalez impressing and Jorge Pina playing well. Mikey Yome also made his debut as a second half substitute, he’ll be hoping to get more involved against Lions on Wednesday.

Gibraltar Phoenix (prediction 8th) 

The Premier new-boys shouldn’t have a problem with fighting for relegation this season with the big changes made at the club over the summer. We expect the battle between 6th & 8th to be very tight between themselves, Lions & Gibraltar United.

Phoenix have been very quiet this summer on transfers but they have brought in a mix of Premier experience and also players from Segunda B. Alvi Carrasco from Glacis, Javi Pecas from Europa, Ashley Rodriguez from Gibraltar United & Dean Torrilla on loan from Lincoln are just a few of Jaime Molina’s new additions.

Gibraltar United (prediction 6th)

A high-profile takeover which saw the involvement of former Real Madrid and Spain defender Michel Salgado means Gib United have strengthened notably on and off the pitch, albeit at the expense of their “local-only” policy which endeared them to many in a league where it is growing ever-harder for local talent to get game time.

While they have lost the likes of Anthony Hernandez, Robert Montovio and Jason Pusey, they have bought in a whole host of replacements, both local and overseas, and this new look side should have enough about them to finish in mid-table this season.

Glacis United (prediction 5th) 

Mariano Marcos Garcia has some big shoes to fill if he wants to try and replicate the form which saw Glacis finish 4th last season under Manuel Perez Jimenez. We still expect to Glacis to be up there but with St Joseph’s and Mons improving of the summer, will be hard for them to compete. 

Sadly, Glacis this summer have only announced the locals players and “forgot” about the foreigners. Despite this, they have bagged some good local talent including Paul Podesta, Tyson Ruiz, Naoufal El Andaloussi including youngsters. 

Lincoln Red Imps (prediction 1st) 

It was difficult to judge the Imps after last night’s performance seeing as they were missing their big players such as Bernardo Lopes, Joseph Chipolina, Anthony Bardon, George Cabrera & Ryan Casciaro. Julio can still be pleased with the result as they were playing against a nearly full strength Europa side and took the game to penalties. 

As expected Falu Aranda had a great debut yesterday bagging two goals and defender Alvaro ‘Oli’ Paris impressed. One player who we wouldn’t expect to be playing when everyone is fully fit is Ricardo Nayar who seemed lost on the pitch for a good majority of the game.

Lions (prediction 7th) 

They will be hoping for better improvements after last season’s campaign. Unlike last preseason, Rafa Bado has had time to build a team around his liking and worked with the players throughout the summer. Will be interesting to see how they fare without local duo Graeme Torrilla & Nathan Santos who played a big role last season. 

Lions have been quiet this summer, from the photos during their preseason Rafa has kept the players he wanted from last season and built a team around them. Some of the names are Kenneth Chipolina on loan from Lincoln, Carlos Sanchez from St Joseph’s & Juanma Llaves from Glacis. 

Lynx (prediction 9th) 

Will be interesting to see how Allen Bula fares at Lynx this season. We know Bula has an excellent pedigree in coaching but has he been able to bring in the type of players that will suit his kind of football? 

Again, this is only a prediction and from the lack of Premier experience names it has been difficult to predict them to do any better. Two players which Bula can be happy to have kept are Raul Segura & Billy O’Dwyer who struck up a great partnership last season and they’ll be hoping for more of the same this time around. 

Manchester 62 (prediction 10th) 

After just about staying up last season, we don’t feel they will be able to do so this season. With teams around them improving with bigger funds, the Red Devils seem to be drifting apart from the rest. 

They also have been very quiet this summer so we’ll be keeping an eye out on what team they put out today against St Joseph’s. 

Mons Calpe (prediction 4th) 

Following last season’s campaign, Mons moved swiftly in bringing Albert Ferri in to replace Mauro Ardizzone as manager. Ferri is one of the best in the game when it comes to tactics and with a much bigger budget at Mons compared to what he has previously had at Angels & Phoenix, we expect him to be a hit this season. 

Mons have lost some big players this summer but brought in some experienced ones also. The only problem which we expect them to have is with the locals as they have lost nearly all of the ones they have last season. 

St Joseph’s (prediction 3rd)

Saints are definitely ones to watch out for this season. Raul Procopio has had the whole summer to bring in players he wants and build them around a team which was very good last season. We wouldn’t be surprised if they find a way to break into the top two this time around. 

Raul did a massive clear-out just before their Europa League campaign but one player he wouldn’t have wanted to go was Esteban Montes Enrique who has been banned from football in Gibraltar for betting. Despite this, Saints moved quickly and brought in former Mons defender Jose Luis Otero alongside Fran Mejias who everyone knows has bags of talent. 

Whatever the outcome this season, we can all agree that it will be another competitive campaign with the locals players learning and gaining some valuable experience to take into the Internationals. May the best team win! 





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