Second-placed Hap TA not feeling too good about itself

Hapoel Tel Aviv will find itself in crisis mode should it fail to defeat Hapoel Petah Tikva at Bloomfield Stadium this weekend.

Hapoel Tel Aviv (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
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 night.
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 ago.
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.
Yadin 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 into liquidation.
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 season.
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.
Also Saturday, 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.