Are Al Shabab genuine contenders?
The season is two rounds old so no-one is getting carried away, but it’s hard to ignore the Hawks’ flying start. Fred Rutten’s men have won five of seven games in all competitions – their only defeat a spirited 3-2 cup defeat to champions Al Ahli who needed a stoppage-time winner from Asamoah Gyan. Third in the league and joint top of their AG Cup group though is hard to ignore
Al Wahda need to keep calm
Despite the sunshine and generous salary, earning a living in the AGL can be ruthless. Al Wahda coach Javier Aguirre is an internationally renowned manager and his Clarets side are not playing badly, but you simply never know when the club hierarchy may run out of patience with five draws in seven matches.
Will Hatta even matter?
Coming into the season, Hatta’s chances of survival were being talked up after heavy investment. Yo-yo side Ittihad Kalba were supposed to be the certainty to go down but the Tornado have been swept away by three straight 4-0 defeats, while Kalba are climbing.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Henrique Luvannor (Al Shabab)
The Moldova international has been in sizzling form in the early part of the campaign – scoring nine of the Hawks’ 16 goals in all competitions. He only struck 13 in 31 total games in 2015/16, so both he and new coach Fred Rutten must be thrilled with how he’s hit the ground running. His goal-scoring prowess will be key if they are to keep their early season form going.