Which AGL team should you support?

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Which club will you end up supporting?

So you love your football and have just touched down in Dubai or have been here a while and after flirting with the UAE’s Arabian Gulf League you’re ready to make a commitment.

But which AGL team should you take up? Which ground should become your second home and who will fill you with joy or heartbreak?

We know it’s a tough choice, which is why we have put together this list of clubs in the UAE will suit your needs.

And we also want to hear from you. Tells us which club’s shirt you’ve bought and whose flag you fly by commenting below, using #360fans on Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook.

First of all, take our personality quiz that will help shape your decision…

But that’s not enough, let us tell you a little more about the clubs and what you’ll get in return for a lifetime of loyalty…

THE GUARANTEED GLORY – Al Ahli, Al Ain

On recent history, there are just two teams to follow if you’re looking for AGL and continental glory, an annual confetti shower and the right results more often than not.

Al Ahli and Al Ain are the two behemoths of UAE football. They boast the best local talent, generally spend heavily on bringing prime foreign players to the country and between them they have won the last five league titles.

Yes the rest of the league is improving and looking to catch up, but Al Ahli and Al Ain don’t look like relinquishing their places at the top table any time soon.

Another bonus is that both sides are sponsored by Nike and their kits readily available in stores. Who wouldn’t want an Omar Abdulrahman or Ahmed Khalil replica shirt?

A BIT LIKE SUPPORTING: Barcelona or Real Madrid

THE SLEEPING GIANTS – Al Wasl, Sharjah

It may be far-fetched to think they will awaken in your lifetime but you can harp on about past successes and ‘the good old days’.

Only Al Ain [12] have won more league trophies than Wasl [seven], who have as many as Al Ahli and are a notch above Sharjah’s five.

Wasl are famed for the time Diego Maradona took charge of the club and in recent years they have shown signs of improvement and stability; the previous regime’s history of sacking managers and overturning players with alarming regularity was notorious.

As for Sharjah, they remain a work in progress but if you live in Dubai’s northern neighbour out that way and are looking for some regular football to take in then why look elsewhere?

A BIT LIKE SUPPORTING: Liverpool or Manchester United

THE CONTROVERSIAL ENTERTAINERS

Al Nasr, Al Jazira

Okay, so you may be consistently let down by moments of daring promise being immediately followed by dire performances and bizarre decision making, but hey there will never be a dull moment.

Nasr were summed up perfectly by the clinical, yet somewhat manic Ibrahima Toure [handstands and all], and looked like genuine domestic and Asian challengers this year until they undid it all with the botched attempt at passing new Brazilian striker Wanderley off as possessing an Indonesian passport.

But Jazira are the true men of madness.

Never short of a few quid, they will churn out big names and will score goals at will. Unfortunately, they will also ship as many, if not more, making their matches highly entertaining but equally frustrating for their fans.

A BIT LIKE SUPPORTING: Napoli, Bayer Leverkusen

THE MODELS OF CONSISTENCY

Bani Yas, Al Wahda,

Maybe this isn’t the greatest tag if you’re searching for some trophies to brag about to your mates, but you are guaranteed safety and a battle among the ‘best of the rest’ in the league.

Bani may not have hit the heights expected of them in recent times but they are always a willing club.

As for Wahda, we dare you not to fall in love with Sebastian Tagbliabue and you have a club legend laying in waiting for you to adore.

Wahda consistently vie for second, third and fourth and you never know, one of these days they may just put a season together that sees them upset the establishment.

A BIT LIKE SUPPORTING: Everton, Fiorentina

THE UNDERDOGS

Dibba Al Fujairah, Hatta, Al Dhafra

If all that success, past or present, just isn’t your cup of tea and the idea of turning over the big boys is far more appealing then look no further than this trio.

Times will be tough but along the course of the season there are some serious highs that will punctuate those all too common lows.

Dibba surprised everyone last year, something Hatta will be looking to replicate this time round, while Dhafra should generally have enough about them to remain in the top tier.

After all, life doesn’t always smell of roses.

A BIT LIKE SUPPORTING: Eibar, Sassuolo

THE YO-YOS

Ittihad Kalba, Emirates Club, Al Shabab

Yeah, relegation is a real possibility, but you know your team has it cut out to bounce right back.

You probably don’t like all the riches and prima donnas that litter modern football anyway and in the First Division there are plenty of chances to expand your knowledge of the league.

This is proper, backs-against-the-wall stuff and you are likely to tear your hair out at times.

But next season, you’ll sweep all before you and get a crucial 12 months of respite in the process as you prepare to be put through the mill once again.

A BIT LIKE SUPPORTING: Burnley, Hull

Have you taken that quiz yet? It really will help make that decision…

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Aguirre unfazed by mounting pressure

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Undeterred: Javier Aguirre.

Having made three additions, including Hungary captain Balazs Dzsudzsak, to a squad that claimed a maiden Arabian Gulf Cup and a third-place finish in the Arabian Gulf League that clinched an AFC Champions League playoff berth last term, many would have expected the Mexican’s side to hit the ground running. But the Clarets have flattered to deceive, with their 2-0 defeat to Al Wasl in the AG Cup on Friday leaving them winless in five matches in all competitions.

Former Atletico Madrid boss Aguirre admits the form of his side is a real concern but is not ready to press the panic button just yet.

“There is always pressure in this job at the beginning or at the end. If you’re winning or not, the pressure level remains the same,” said the 57-year-old, who has managed Mexico and Japan at the World Cup.

“Whatever your job you are doing, there is always pressure. I’ve chosen this job in football and it’s not different to any other. I’ve been doing this for 40 years as a player and coach, and it’s the way that you handle it.”

First-half strikes from Fabio De Lima and Helder Barbosa were enough to condemn the holders to their second defeat in three games in Group A. Wahda sit sixth and face a stern task to finish inside the top two and have a chance of retaining their crown.

“We gave many opportunities away in the first half and then with three substitutions in the second, our display changed,” Aguirre said of defeat to the Cheetahs. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t score. But there is always pressure in the game, especially in my job, from the beginning to the end.”

Meanwhile, opposite number Rodolfo Arruabarrena has made a promising start at Zabeel Stadium since replacing compatriot Gabriel Calderon in June. His team have put themselves in a strong position to advance to the semi-finals, topping Group A with a perfect nine points from nine. Meanwhile, in the league, despite a 3-1 defeat to Al Jazira in the opening game of the season, the Cheetahs responded emphatically to thrash Al Dhafra 4-1 in their next outing.

The Argentine has been impressed by his team’s displays and believes the positive results will give them a lot of confidence going into their upcoming matches.

“I know what really matters is not what happens at the beginning of the matches but at the end of the games,” said the ex-Boca Juniors supremo. “But winning matches will give the players confidence.

“In order for us to achieve a successful end to the season, we need to have a good start. Each match we win will give us motivation to win the next one. During the season we will have good and bad moments. Whenever we have bad moments, we need to make it better. We all know our goals and we will keep working hard to achieve it.”​

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Dominant first-half display earns Al Nasr victory

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Muscled out: Al Ain’s Douglas (l).

An Ahmed Khamis brace sandwiched Abdelaziz Barrada’s goal to give the Blue Wave a maximum six points from their first two games, which put them joint top alongside Al Ahli and Al Shabab in Group B.

The visitors survived an early scare when veteran Ibrahim Diaky hit the post to go ahead in the 23rd minute. A low cross from the right by captain Ahmed Al Yassi was cleverly back-heeled in by Khamis to silence Hazza bin Zayed Stadium. It was 2-0 a minute before the break when the classy Barrada chipped goalkeeper Dawoud Sulaiman after being fed by Khamis.

Khamis got his second to put Nasr in a commanding position 16 minutes into the second half, tucking home after Sulaiman parried Jonathan Pitroipa’s volley. That appeared that but Zlatko Dalic’s men pulled a goal back two minutes later through Brazilian Douglas who nodded in Danilo Asprilla’s cross. The hosts had several penalty appeals waved away before Colombian trickster Asprilla found the net from a tight angle in injury time, but Ivan Jovanovic’s side hung on.

Emirates Club, meanwhile, got their AG Cup campaign up and running with a 4-0 thrashing of promoted Hatta. They blew away the Tornado to secure their first points of any sort this season, while Hatta are rooted to the bottom of Group A with three straight defeats.

The Falcons took the lead in the 29th minute when Argentine Sebastian Saez turned home a lofted free-kick. Saez turned provider on the hour when Hatta stopper Saif Al Badi parried his shot into Alhusain Saleh’s path.

Saleh put the game to bed when he thrashed home at the back post and Khaled Khamis rounded off the scoring five minutes from time.

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