As the preparation for the two-month extended winter break begins, we review how the Premier Division season has panned out so far.
Lincoln Red Imps – 1st
The Imps have been on a different level this season and don’t look like slowing down any time soon. Their summer signings have proved to be instant hits, on the contrary to other seasons, and Julio Ribas has them playing in a way which has proved too much for many teams this season.
Depth is what has made Lincoln so good is being able to replace the likes of Lee Casciaro, Ryan Casciaro, Joseph Chipolina & George Cabrera with players such as Anthony Hernandez, Falu Aranda, Ethan Britto, Tjay De Barr and still keep at a tempo which makes them so strong in defence and attack.
It will certainly take a miracle for any team to catch up.
Europa – 2nd
We said in the summer that Europa fell into the same trap as Lincoln last season regarding a replacement for Liam Walker and it is shown now that we weren’t wrong. The reigning champions lost their first two games (Lions & Lincoln) but have since picked up some form going unbeaten in their last seven games (scoring seventeen and conceding four).
Even with the rumoured January returns of Ibrahim Ayew & Mustapha Yahaya, who played a part in their title triumph last season, we feel the eight point gap between themselves and Lincoln is too big. We believe that their victory over Gibraltar United last weekend however went some way to assure them second spot and another year in Europe.
St Joseph’s – 3rd
It has been an inconsistent season for the Saints so far and the announcement of the league being brought forward did some major damage to the squad’s preparation on what could have been “their season” after performing so well last year. The betting scandal that hit them in the summer saw them lose Alberto Montaño Gil and arguably their best players over the last few seasons Esteban ‘Steven’ Montes Enrique.
Raul Procopio brought in some big names players over the summer including Fran Mejias & Jose Luis Otero but they still don’t look as strong as last season. Goals is something which Saints are lacking with last season’s top goalscorer John-Paul Duarte only scoring one goal so far.
Gibraltar United – 4th
With heavy investment off the pitch in summer, Gib United had a great start to the season, winning four of their first five games, and finding themselves the closest challengers to Lincoln going into their match on Matchday Six. A narrow defeat to Lincoln then set off a run of four games without victory, but Gib find themselves fourth going into the break, a respectable position to be in.
The key to Gib continuing their decent season, and perhaps pushing for a Europa League spot, will be to keep the core of their new team together, especially star striker Ayman Elghobashy, while perhaps using their impressive contacts to strengthen the team in any areas Manolo Nunez Sanchez deems necessary.
Glacis United – 5th
After a poor start to the season, Glacis look to have found their rhythm and haven’t lost a game since late October. Defensively they are still as solid as last season and their time-wasting tactics has made them frustrating to watch and play against but goals have been hard to come by, scoring seven. However, their tactics have proven to be effective and could see them comfortably safe of any relegation trouble.
If Mariano Marcos Garcia’s men can continue their form and keep star-man Sidi Mahamud Buna fit then they have a great opportunity of making it into Europe next season.
Lions – 6th
After such a great start to the season, Lions now find themselves sixth with one win from seven, having lost their last two games in the final ten minutes. If they want to compete for a European spot then bringing in a full-back, winger and a striker is needed with Juan Manuel Llaves having no competition.
Looking at recent results, Rafa Bado will need to do some major business in January if they are going to chase St Josephs & Gibraltar United.
Gibraltar Phoenix – 7th
On paper Phoenix have a very strong squad and we saw that on the opening day against Mons Calpe. Injuries have been a big issue this season with the Prem new-boys losing two strikers, their centre-back and Jaime Molina not having the adequate cover to replace them.
Now the Phoenix board have a big problem on their hands and we expect them to be very busy from now until February.
Mons Calpe – 8th
It’s been a season to forget so far and the sacking of manager Albert Ferri on Monday was the icing of the cake. All the blame can’t be put on the managers as the players brought in are no where near the standard which was at the club last season. After finishing fifth last season you would have expected them to be in more or less the same spot this time around but three wins from nine has seen them fall into eighth.
A big turn-around is needed if they want to try and revive their season.
Manchester 62 – 9th
Despite being such a historic club, the Red Devils have found life in the Premier hard over the last few seasons and it’s mainly down to the fact that they cannot compete financially with teams around them. Just like last season, we expect Red Devils to be battling in the bottom two this season; with the Second Division teams growing stronger, they’ll want to avoid a repeat of a relegation playoff too.
Lynx – 10th
After the appointment of Allen Bula in the summer, many believed Lynx would be a mid-table team at least but it was quite the opposite; four straight defeats saw the former Gibraltar national team manager relieved of his duties. Albert Parody reinstated himself as manager and their form has slowly been picked up.
Technically Lynx are a good side with William O’Dwyer and Raul Segura pulling the strings in the midfield but it’s in the final third of the pitch where they have been below par, you would have expected different when their striker is over 6ft tall.