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Crucial battles at both ends of Premier League table headline weekend programme

Valletta and Birkirkara face must-win matches this weekend. Photo: Dominic Borg

The BOV Premier League returns this weekend, and football fans are set for an absorbing programme of matches that includes some crucial duels at both ends of the table as the 2023-24 campaign enters a decisive stage.

Ħamrun Spartans and Floriana will resume their duel at the top, while Sliema Wanderers and Marsaxlokk face off in a crucial match in the battle for third spot that will earn a place in next summer’s UEFA Conference League qualifiers.

Birkirkara and Hibernians will be looking to put themselves back in contention for a European spot with victory in their direct clash today.

The battle for relegation is turning out to be a real nailbiter with five teams embroiled in a fight to avoid finishing in the bottom four places in the standings and all facing decisive clashes this weekend.

Mosta and Valletta will open this weekend’s programme when they face off at the Tony Bezzina Stadium.

Both teams are desperate for the three points, given their poor run of form of late that has left them hovering in the drop zone.

In fact, Mosta are currently fourth from bottom on 17 points, just one adrift of the same Valletta and Gżira United.

Mosta have failed to fire this season and have only managed just one win in their last four league matches as Joe Grech’s team continue to struggle to score goals, with just one goal netted in their last four games.

Valletta too are far from being in rude health as Enzo Potenza’s men failed to maintain their momentum after their back-to-back victories over Sirens and Gudja United as they only have two points to show from their last three matches.

This week the Citizens have brought in club stalwart Jesmond Zerafa as their Technical Director in a bid to add more experience to the first-team set-up in what is turning out to be a very tough season.

Valletta are hopeful of having their star striker Federico Falcone back in the fray for this must-win match.
Santa Lucia, buoyed by last week’s win over Balzan, will be looking to maintain their momentum when they face Naxxar Lions.

The Saints, currently third from bottom and three points from safety are desperate for a win to remain in touch with their relegation rivals.

On the other hand, this is a delicate match for Naxxar Lions who could find themselves slipping back into the relegation battle should they fail to pick up points from today’s match.

At the National Stadium, the stage will be set for two direct clashes in the battle for European football as Birkirkara face Hibernians in the opening match.

The Stripes, buoyed by last week’s dramatic win over Valletta, are tied on 24 points with the Paolites, two adrift of Marsaxlokk and seven behind Sliema Wanderers.

No doubt, the team that is now led by Jose Borg, will be desperate to win this direct clash to put themselves back in the reckoning for a top-three finish.

On the other hand, Hibernians will be determined to bounce back from their disappointing defeat against Floriana last week but will surely have to be more clinical in front of goal if they are to take anything from this match.

Ħamrun Spartans and Floriana will be in action tomorrow.

The Malta champions will start as clear favourites to take all points against second-from-bottom Sirens.

The Reds have been in great form, winning their last six Premier League matches, and should prove too strong for the St Paul’s Bay side.

Floriana face a Balzan side who are continuing to struggle for performances and are in dire need of points to keep themselves out of the relegation battle.

But the Greens will fancy their chances of maintaining their positive run of late as they look to keep up the pressure on the Spartans.

Standings provided by Sofascore

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