Football Professional | Gibfootballtalk analyzes the Gibraltar Premier Division

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This season will once again feature 3 round of fixtures with the two promoted sides taking the division team total to 10, the largest the Gibraltar Premier Division has been in quite some time. To ease the fixture congestion in the sole stadium in Gibraltar, the Senior Cup has been re-formatted to the former knock out basis, similar to the Rock Cup. Gone are the group stages ensuring each club had at least 3 games in Gibraltar secondary cup competition.

ANGELS

The youngest club in the top flight, only founded last season, have a tough looking start to the season. Beaten cup finalists Lynx and European hopefuls St Josephs are their opposition in the opening 2 rounds of league fixtures, with revamped Lions Gibraltar and Manchester 62 to follow, the early preseason bookies favourites for the drop look to have a tough start to proceedings. A final day showdown against Glacis United could prove important on paper in the end of season shake up.

EUROPA FC

Under the stewardship of the Carrasco brothers, Europa FC look to have completely revitalised the club from the ground up. A more professional look about the club both on and off the pitch could prove to be the difference in challenging for the title this season. A strong playing squad with plenty of experience in the Spanish leagues has been assembled, as bookies tip them to be strong contenders for the title this time round. A mammoth clash against Lincoln Red Imps in round one will be an early test of their title credentials, and with Glacis Utd and Gibraltar United to follow, Europa FC will be looking to get points on the board early doors.

FC BRITANNIA

The blues did brilliantly to avoid the wooden spoon last season, with a final day victory over Glacis United ensured that accolade landed squarely in the hands of Lions Gibraltar. Britannia will be looking to consolidate themselves once again in the division. Plenty of new faces expected for the new season, Britannia will be looking to gel quickly in order to get points on the board early on to ease any relegation fears. Goal scoring needs to be improved from last season in order not to be sucked into a dog fight come the latter stages of the season. An opening day fixture against 2nd Division champions Gibraltar United will be a good test for both sides to open with, and with Glacis Utd and Lynx to follow in their opening 3 games, Britannia should fancy their chances of a positive start to the season. The blues finish off each league round with games against last season’s top two, Europa FC and Lincoln Red Imps, so its imperative for the Britons to have amassed sufficient points before entering these games, as on paper, they will be touted as underdogs going into those games.

GIBRALTAR UNITED

The red and whites are back in the big time after a 4 year absence. After winning a tough 2nd Division on their return to domestic football, Gibraltar United will be looking to avoid the drop this season. Manolo Sanchez Nuñez’s troops will be confident going into the new season. A squad full of Gibraltar’s top talents should see them do well and fight tooth and nail for every point available to them. Gibraltar United are the only team to have one the division since the 2000/2001 season other than Lincoln Red Imps, with their triumph coming  in 2001/2002. A lot has changed since then and the 11 times champions of Gibraltar will be hoping to build on their impressive comeback last season. The opening game against Britannia is followed by games against last season’s top 2 clubs, Europa FC and Lincoln Red Imps. They may struggle to get anything out of those games which means their opening day game is vitally important for confidence.

GLACIS UNITED

Perennial strugglers Glacis United will once again be tipped for a bottom half finish by the punters this season. With the club finishing in a distant 6th position last season, well clear of 5th placed Manchester 62 and 7th placed FC Britannia, Glacis’s season lulled last season as it has been for the last few campaigns. This is not the what a 17 time champion of Gibraltar club should be achieving. The club’s rich history should be worthy of better performances, however with relative little investment in comparison to other clubs in the division, it won’t come as a surprise to many if Glacis find themselves in the lower echelons of the division this time round. However, the club is slowly working its way towards a more professional structure, with Stephen Serrano, Johnny Moreno and others in the backroom team working tirelessly to ensure one of Gibraltar’s historic clubs continues in the top flight. On paper Glacis look to have the toughest start of any of the teams. An opening day clash against new look rivals Manchester 62 is followed by Europa FC and Lincoln Red Imps in the opening 4 games of the season. Points could be hard to come by but the club is quietly going on with their business in the background and perhaps could raise a few eyebrows come the start of the season.

LINCOLN RED IMPS

Gibraltar’s most decorated club captured the imagination of fans home and abroad with their fantastic achievements in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers in July, making them Gibraltar’s first team to progress into the 2nd qualifying round where their eventually crashed out to Danish champions FC Midtjylland 3-0 on aggregate without disgrace. 14 league titles in the 21st century sees the Imps as the team to beat this season, however there is a sense of a changing of the guard this time round, with many of Lincoln’s all conquering players moving on, could this be the season they are finally dethroned? A big game against Europa FC on the opening day should give us an indication of what to expect from the Champions this season. However, if last season’s opening day defeat to Lynx is anything to go by, they are truly capable of coming from behind to go on long winning streaks. With Lions Gibraltar, Gibraltar United and Glacis all to feature in the opening 4 games of the season, Lincoln have a great chance of grinding out early victories to get their season underway.

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LIONS GIBRALTAR

There is plenty of expectation going into the start of the season for the oranges. Heavy investment from Andrew Flowers and a significant influx of top talent has completely revamped last season’s bottom club. as they now aim for honours. As a minimum, Lions should be aiming for a top half finish with good performances in both cup competitions, anything else, could be described as a below par season . A club with top class youth players, with some experienced signings during the transfer window, this season could prove to be Lions Gibraltar’s best finish in many seasons. Their opening two fixtures with St Joseph’s and Lincoln Red Imps could prove tough, but with newly promoted duo Angels and Gibraltar United to follow, Lions could be looking  for a good points haul in their start of the campaign.

LYNX

 Albert Parody’s men were bitterly disappointed with their finish to the season last year. Missing out on 2nd place in the league with 2 disappointing draws against most notably Lions Gibraltar and then Europa FC, compounded by the Rock Cup Final defeat to Lincoln, their Europa League dream was over for another season. With plenty of last season’s players moving on, Lynx will need time to gel and may not hit the ground running from the off, but with Angels, Manchester 62 and Britannia in their opening 3 games, a good start is certainly achievable. With the recent appointment of Allen Bula as their Sporting Director, this could open the doors for players of significant stature to join the yellows in their quest for Europe.

MANCHESTER 62

Manchester 62, like Lions Gibraltar, have completely taken the transfer window by storm by signing some top players. From a side who never looked like troubling the scoresheet towards the end of the season, now they have a look about them which suggests goals could come in abundance. Lead by the enthusiastic David Ochello, the red devils will be looking to recapture the form which saw them finish runners up in 2013/14 only just missing out on Europa League football. With Glacis, Lynx, St Josephs and Angels all to come in the opening 4 games of the season, Manchester couldn’t have wished for a better set of fixtures to start the campaign, with a decent points haul looking like a real possibility.

ST JOSEPHS

The Saints appear to have lost the bulk of the players which catapulted them up the ladder last season, taking them to the cusp of Senior Cup success and European qualification. Doors have been opened to local players which should appease the local public, but question marks are still there as to whether the team has been strengthened enough to maintain their top half status from last season. The fixture list appears to have been kind to them, as similar to Manchester 62, they have all the possibilities for a good start to the season with Lions Gibraltar, Angels, Manchester 62 and Britannia all to come in the opening rounds.

Although it has not yet been confirmed, the weekend of the 18th could have been earmarked for the start of the league campaign. With the transfer window still open for another 2 weeks, there is still plenty of time for teams to strengthen their squads for what looks like being the most anticipated start to a Gibraltar Premier Division season in recent years.

 Enlace: http://gibfootballtalk.com/premier-division-fixtures-2015-16/