HOUGANG UNITED v COURTS YOUNG LIONS
(Tomorrow, 7.30pm, Hougang Stadium)
The theme of lost forwards continues in this fixture, as Hougang's 31-goal Brazilian strikeforce Geison Moura and Diego Gama are now replaced by former Real Madrid striker Francisco Salvador Ela and Japanese Takahashi Manato.
Courts Young Lions are also missing Sahil Suhaimi who has travelled with the LionsXII, but they will remember they did the treble over the Cheetahs (7-1 on aggregate), including a 2-1 win in August that potentially cost Hougang their first-ever top-six finish.
S.League CEO Lim Chin talked about a super club when he announced the merger of Hougang and Woodlands. A home win will be the perfect way for them to announce their arrival.
Take Hougang to win.
ALBIREX NIIGATA v TAMPINES ROVERS
(Tomorrow, 7.30pm, Jurong East Stadium)
For me, these two teams will be the front-runners this season.
Albirex have already shown their title credentials by beating defending champions Warriors (2-1) and another perennial title challenger Home United (3-2) in pre-season.
The White Swans are known for their quick passing football, and if they can add a dash of ruthlessness to their game, they will become a deadly side.
On the other hand, Tampines have the wily V Sundramoorthy, who is widely regarded as one of the best local coaches, in charge.
As we have seen with the LionsXII, the Malaysian Super League-winning coach is not afraid to play for an away point when he needs to.
Take draw and under 2.5 goals.
GEYLANG INTERNATIONAL v HOME UNITED
(Tuesday, 7.30pm, Bedok Stadium)
While I had tipped Albirex and Tampines as my title favourites, I do think Geylang and Home United have done better in their pre-season recruitment.
The Eagles have plumped for four former Albirex players who have experience in the S.League, and re-signed fan favourite Jozef Kaplan (left).
Meanwhile, Home United have gone for a trio of Frenchman and pulled off a minor coup by signing 28-year-old former Bundesliga striker Ken Ilso.
The Protectors usually start a season slowly - they last won their opening game in 2010. Geylang last did that in 2009, so I'm going for another draw in this potentially blockbuster clash.
Take draw and over 2.5 goals.
This article was first published on Mar 1, 2015.
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