Hapoel Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Tel Aviv may be just two points behind Maccabi Tel Aviv at the top of the
Premier League standings, but it will find itself in crisis mode should it fail
to defeat Hapoel Petah Tikva at Bloomfield Stadium on Saturday
Having ground out positive results at the start of the season,
Hapoel’s poor form inevitably caught up with it. After drawing 0-0 with Hapoel
Haifa three weeks ago, Hapoel fell to a 3-2 defeat to Legia Warsaw in the Europa
League before losing 2-1 to Maccabi Netanya in its latest league match two weeks
Tel Aviv’s mediocre performances have also been accompanied by
unrest off the field, with the latest saga at the Hodorov training ground ending
earlier this week when Avihai Yadin returned to the team after a week-long
suspension following a falling-out with coach Dror Kashtan.
apologized to Kashtan for his behavior while Hapoel released a statement saying
that Kashtan was not speaking of Yadin when he attacked players on the team who
leak information from the clubhouse.
Petah Tikva is still bottom of the
standings with -2 points after starting the season with a -9 penalty for going
However, Gili Landau’s men have proven to be a
surprisingly tough team to beat this season and are looking nothing like a side
resigned to its fate – relegation to the National League.
Petah Tikva has
lost just once in its past six matches and is unbeaten in three road games this
Despite only drawing 1-1 at Maccabi Tel Aviv last week, Maccabi
Haifa proved it is still the team to beat in the Premier League by outplaying
the league leader on its home ground.
However, the reigning champion
still finds itself five points behind the yellow-and-blue and cannot afford to
drop points at Hapoel Beersheba on Saturday.
Beersheba will be guided for
the first time by new coach Guy Levy and will be hoping to build on its first
win of the season at Hapoel Haifa two weeks ago after which Nir Klinger
announced his resignation in his post-match TV interview.
Bnei Yehuda, which has won three straight matches 1-0, will look to continue its
run when it hosts Bnei Sakhnin, Maccabi Netanya visits the still winless Hapoel
Haifa, while Maccabi Petah Tikva welcomes Hapoel Ramat Hasharon and Ashdod
travels north to play Hapoel Acre.
Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Ironi Kiryat
Shmona on Sunday, with Betar Jerusalem to host Hapoel Rishon Lezion on Monday.