x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Mid-term report cards are out on the Pro League club football teams

Analysis of how the 12 top-flight sides in the UAE have fared in the first half of the season.

Asamoah Gyan, centre, has scored 10 goals for Al Ain this season.
Asamoah Gyan, centre, has scored 10 goals for Al Ain this season.

Al Ain

Star man Asamoah Gyan. The Ghana international has shown his ability with 10 goals. His absence at the African Cup of Nations is hurting Al Ain.

Underachiever Yasser Al Qahtani. Fans have yet to see much of the Saudi Arabian forward, who has been out of action for nearly two months due to injury.

Strength Teamwork has been Al Ain's biggest asset and they are strong in midfield with Helal Saeed playing a pivotal role.

Weakness Their two central defenders lack pace. The club also have a long injury list.

Best result A 3-1 victory at Al Jazira.

First-half grade A

Al Jazira

Star man Matias Delgado. The Argentine midfielder is the playmaker of the side. He is behind almost all their best attacking endeavours.

Underachiever Subait Khater. He was the key man at set pieces with his free kicks but that role now belongs to Delgado.

Strength The squad have been together a long time and it shows in their consistent play. Their attack, led by the speedy Ricardo Oliveira, who has impressed.

Weakness They have scored 31 goals, the highest by any team, but conceded a hefty 19 at the other end.

Best result The 4-2 derby win over Al Wahda.

First-half grade A

Al Nasr

Star man Mark Bresciano. Age has not dimmed the Australian's enthusiasm and the 31 year old has been bustling across the pitch match after match.

Underachiever Ali Abbas. Was expected to play a leading role but has failed to hold on to his place.

Strength In Bresciano, Leonardo Lima, Habib Fardan and Humaid Abbas, Nasr have one of the busiest midfields in the league.

Weakness Defence is a problem area. The goalkeeper, Abdulla Mousa, swings between brilliant and mediocre.

Best result A 4-0 victory over Dubai rivals Al Ahli.

First-half grade A

Al Shabab

Star man Ciel. The Brazilian has been indispensable since his arrival at the club more than a year ago.

Underachiever Julio Cesar. After his 13 goals last season, a lot was expected of the the Brazilian, but he has looked off colour this term.

Strength With the creative Carlos Villanueva and the sturdy Azizbek Haydarov manning their midfield, Shabab's strength lies in the centre.

Weakness They have conceded the fewest goals, after Al Ain, but the team cannot claim to have the safest pair of hands in goal.

Best result A 5-1 victory over Emirates in Ras Al Khaimah.

First-half grade B

Al Wahda

Star man Ismail Matar. His lack of goals overshadows the UAE international's overall contribution. He plays a key role behind Fernando Baiano, supplying the ammunition for club's top scorer.

Underachiever Adel Al Hosani. Lost his place as the first-choice goalkeeper in the Olympic team and has conceded six goals in two games since coming into the side.

Strength They boast some of the best Emirati players in their squad and enjoy a good balance in both attack and defence.

Weakness Injury problems have dictated they have rarely been at full strength.

Best result Their 2-1 home win over Al Wasl.

First-half grade B

Al Wasl

Star man Mariano Donda. The Argentine has been superb. When he plays well, so do the team.

Underachiever Edson Puch. Failed to live up to his promise and has been farmed out on loan to Deportes Iquique in Chile.

Strength Donda and the goalkeeper Majed Naser. If not for these two, Diego Maradona's team would be in the lower half of the table.

Weakness The defence has been a real problem. They have got Naser to thank for not conceding more than the 15 goals they have.

Best Result A 3-0 win over Sharjah in their Pro League opener.

First-half grade C

Al Ahli

Star man Ismail Al Hammadi. Fully fit after struggling with injuries over the past two seasons, the speedy winger has impressed.

Underachiever Luis Jimenez. The Chilean was expected to play a leading role, but he has been largely ineffective.

Strength With a proven goalscorer like Grafite leading their attack and Ahmed Khalil playing alongside, Ahli's forte is in their attack.

Weakness Jimenez and Yousuf Mohammed have underperformed, leaving the side short, and Jakson Coelho deserted the team.

Best result The 3-1 win at Baniyas in the 10th round.

First-half grade C


Star man Andre Senghor. Finds the net consistently for his team. The Senegalese is strong in the air and sharp inside the box.

Underachiever Tony. The Ivorian forward has spent most of his time on the bench and is used as a winger by Gabriel Calderon, the new coach, when he is on the field.

Strength With the midfield forming the backbone of the Olympic team, the team's strong suit is clearly their four-man combination.

Weakness They are struggling for goals and their attack is missing David Trezeguet, the 1998 World Cup winner for France, decided to quit after just two games.

Best result The 4-1 thrashing of the bottom team Emirates.

First-half grade C


Star man Ibrahima Toure. The Senegalese striker's goals have allowed Ajman to punch above their weight. He has gone to Monaco now, leaving some pretty big boots to fill.

Underachiever Olivier Tia. The Ivory Coast striker's failure to score in seven games means Ajman are looking to offload him.

Strength Karim Kerkar's experience and Toure's clinical and often spectacular finishing. Kerkar will have to shoulder a lot more responsibility in the second half of the season with Toure gone.

Weakness Their lack of squad depth could hurt them in the second half of the season.

Best result The 3-1 win at Sharjah.

First-half grade C


Star man Edinho: With seven goals in the league, the Brazilian sharpshooter has been one of few positives for his team this season.

Underachiever Igor Duric. The Serbian defender was pencilled into the squad at the last minute, but has lost his place to Vandinho, the Brazilian.

Strength In Edinho and Marcelo Oliveira, Sharjah have two proven scorers and a formidable attack.

Weakness Sharjah have one the leakiest defences in the league, having conceded 22 goals so far.

Best result The 1-0 win over Shabab.

First-half grade D


Star man Simon Feindouno: The French-Guinea midfielder has been an inspirational figure for his team.

Underachiever Ulugbek Bakayev. The Uzbek striker was expected to play a leading role in Dubai's season, but he could never settle as the language proved a barrier.

Strength Dubai are a young side bursting with enthusiasm and, apart from the defeat to Al Jazira, have rarely been outplayed.

Weakness Lack of stability at managerial level. Four coaches have worked with the team this season. It would be hoped that Ayman Al Ramadi can survive the rest of the season.

Best result The 2-1 win over Wasl.

First-half grade D


Star man Mohsine Moutaouali. With Alhassane Keita and Pejman Nouri injured, the Moroccan has been carrying the team's midfield.

Underachiever Keita. Injuries have restricted the forward's impact to four games thus far.

Strength When fully fit, Keita and Nouri have the class to get the better of any defence. The addition of Modibo Diarra adds more bite to their attack.

Weakness With 30 goals already conceded, the Emirates' defence has shown itself to be extremely porous.

Best result A 2-1 win over Dubai.

First-half grade D


””Follow The National Sport on @SprtNationalUAE & Amith Pasella on @AmithPassela