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First 10 weeks of professional football in Iran

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Most Impressive teams (not listed in any specific order):

Persepolis(Tehran): Persepolis has done well up to this point. Reza Jabbari, Sohrab Entezari, Amir Aslanian, Pejman Jamshidi and Behnam abolghasempour are all relatively new faces (only jabbari and aslanian were in the squad last year and even they didn't play a big role). These players are doing well up front in the offense. The midfielders (halali, estili, kavianpour, khanmohamadi, tar tar, asadi, barzegar) are not the youngest or fastest but they do play well together as they have experience. Hamed Kavianpour is really a great presence in the middle. There defense has been very solid, they have proven that if one player is not present in their defense, they can still hold. With 4 solid defenders: rahbarifar, ansarian, peyrovani and bahonar. Against Zobahan (week 10) they played well without ansarian and have done well without peyrovani, and rahbarifar in past games too. Their goalie is one of the best of the league and has proven that you don't need to be too tall to be a good goalie.

Zobahan (Esfehan): they have proven to be a very good team, showing how shahrestanis can also be on top (they were on top for a few weeks), with talent such as azizizadeh, vaziri, taghipour, they have shown their skills. Their defense is very tall so that makes their team vulnerable to ground play and most of their goals have been conceded in that way.

Esteghlal(Tehran): Although they have the greatest players of the league, (most talented), i believe their teamwork has not been great this year, although individual talent is very high in this team (khaziravi, nikbakht, momenzadeh, fatemi, navazi) but they do not play well together, with good teamwork they will definitely have a great chance at repeating being first place. Their defense has improved with the acquisition of sohrab bakhtiarzadeh. They have a solid right back in mehdi hashemi nassab and Khoramgah has gotten much better since pourhaydari has gave him the shot at being their starting sweeper. Their goalie situation is uncertain at this point. Tabatabaei has performed well for most of the season, but recently Parviz Boroumand has been brought into the line-up as his suspension is over. Both are great goalies, and it will be interesting to see who Pourhaydari decides to go with in future competitions, especially the Asian club games coming up soon.

Sepahan(Esfehan): Sepahan has been very solid too. Some great players in this team are: Abdollah Veissi, Majid Basirat, and Edmond Bezik. The defense for this team is very solid and has been the main strength of the team throughout the year. Majid Basirat has become a consistent and experienced sweeper. Abdollah Veisi is a good right back who plays a style very similar to that of Younes Bahonar (persepolis). Ardalan Sartipi is also a good defender who has greatly improved this year as he was not even a fix player last year, it will not be able to replace him now as he has already gotten offers from some tehrani teams. The sepahan midfield is their weakpoint, although the presence of javad mohagheghian and Afshin Hajipoor helps, 2 individuals cannot runa teams offense. Hajipoor is a good playmaker and scorer, and Mohagheghian is a good passer too, but sepahan has to do some thinking about their wings. Sepahan's major acquisition was Edmond Bezik form perspepolis, he has been a good presence in the starting 11.

Peykan(Tehran-Karaj): They have proven to be great from the begining. Although they have slowed down, the team has great talent in all 3 lines. Saeed lotfi in defense, Shirdel, Modir-Roosta and Fallahi in midfield, and Ostovari and Mohammad Reza Tahmasebi in forward... these are good players, and they played very well together in first 3 weeks. then they started to fall apart, the main problem is goalkeeping and defense. Lotfi is a talented, young defender but one man is not enough. They need to acquire somebody like pashazadeh (he sits on eses bench) to play for them.

Pas(Tehran): This team has the most talented defense of the league. with Reza Torabian, Sebou Shahbazian and Janmaleki, this is a team who can easily defend their goal, and now that Nakisa is back it looks like they can defend their goal much better in the future. Their midfield line is promising, with Azizi back there giving good passes and Aghai and Nekounam playing central midfield, their wings are the weakest part of the team, Hedayati is a good player on the right side, but there left wing (sometimes Yoosefi, some times Bayatinia) is not that impressive. Their forwards, however are very good, with Esmaili on the right side and Khatibi on the left, Azizi has talented forwards to feed, this team can easily win games on counter-attacks, because all the players in the attack are speedy, (Esmaili, Hedayati, Azizi, Khatibi).

Aboo-Moslem(Mashad): i think they have greatly improved this year, their attack is especially good, the 2 strikers Reza Enayati and Dariush Mikaili have been great goalscorers this year, Aboo-Moslem's midfield line is inexperienced and not that talented but they can be worked on and improved, the defense is not bad either, Sahebjami is a exceptional defender, playing both on the right and as sweeper sometimes. Aboo-Moslem should be good through this year and has already proven that they will not be one of those teams that will be fighting regulation. If they keep up with what they are doing they could be dangerous as a contending team.

Upsets: A team that has really let fans down this year (so far), has been Fajr Sepasi Shiraz, which such good talent, they should be doing better than they are, i have a feeling they will pull closer to top teams towards the end of the season but this has not been a good start.

Surprises: The biggest surprise has been Malavan, they are doing great for a team who came from 2nd division. The game vs. Persepolis showed that Malavan could easily compete with the top teams of the league. They have a young team that can get hot sometimes and play extraodinary football.

Teams battling to not get regulated into 2nd division: Teraktorsazi, Bargh Shiraz, Saipa, EsEs Rasht. These teams are doping terrible, despite having big name coaches, it is a shame that Some of these coaches have the guts to criticize Team Melli (National Team) when they cannot even keep their club team in 2nd division, they need to worry about their own team instead of complaining about foreign coaches.


Arman M.


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