Champions Floriana take on Gzira United

Fresh from their UEFA Europa League triumph over Linfield FC in Belfast, champions Floriana begin their title defence with a difficult test against Gzira United in one of the four BOV Premier League matches in programme on Sunday.

Newly-promoted Lija Athletic face Senglea Athletic, Tarxien Rainbows face Balzan while Sliema Wanderers cross swords with Hibernians in the other three matches

Matches are being played behind closed doors. but fans will be able to watch games thanks to the new live-streaming service being offered by the Malta Football Association at apart from the usual two weekly matches which are broadcast on TVM 2 and/or TSN.

Lija Athletic FC vs Senglea Athletic FC, kick-off 17:00

At the Centenary Stadium, newly-promoted Lija Athletic face Senglea Athletic. Lija were promoted as they were lying in second place last season when the league was terminated. Coach Joseph Galea was confirmed and new signings included Neil Micallef, Beppe Antignolo, Ryan Darmanin, Juan Cruz Gill, Valdo Goncalves Alhinho, Miguel Antonio Perez Jimenez and Chevaughn McLaren.

Senglea, on the other hand, went through a number of changes. New coach Goran Nikic left the club after a few weeks and they are now led by Ryan Newell. New signings include Dejan Kukic, Nikola Terzin, Uros Tomovic, Roy Rudonja, Miodrag Milenkovic, Uros Parezanin, Igor Misan, Kevaughn Atkinson, Junior Dibola Diwoto, Ronny Paul Song Bahanag, Luca Brincat, Alan Abela, Clyde Borg, Andre Scicluna, Lee Galea, Daneel Abela and goalkeeper James Pisani.

Both teams aim at retaining their Premier League status despite the fact that for this season, four teams will be relegated to the Challenge League and the team placing fifth from bottom will take part in the Play-Off against the team finishing third in the Challenge League.

Tarxien Rainbows FC vs Balzan FC, kick-off 17:00

At the National Stadium, Tarxien Rainbows face Balzan. The Rainbows were reinstated in the BOV Premier League despite being mathematically relegated in March before the league was suspended and eventually terminated. Winston Muscat was appointed as the new coach and new signings include Jurgen Borg, Brandon Debono, Jurgen Debono, Kyle Gatt, Karl Pulo, Luke Sciberras, Vito Plut, Ricardo Pires, Anderson do Nascimento Carneiro and goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes.

Balzan, on the other hand, are now led by coach Mark Miller. This summer they signed Weverton Gomes Souza, Markos Ermis Moustakis, Moussa Kamara, Eric Lemond McWoods, Suleiman Jalu and goalkeeper Vukasin Vranes.

While the Rainbows aim at retaining their status, Balzan hope to make up for a disappointing season during which they never seemed to be able to challenge the top teams.

Sliema Wanderers FC vs Hibernians FC, kick-off 21:15

At the Centenary Stadium, a revamped Sliema Wanderers side take on Hibernians fresh from their UEFA Europa League commitments. The Blues, once again led by Andrea Pisanu, were one of the most active sides in the transfer market, signing Myles Beerman, Jake Engerer, Sebastian Grech, Arthur Cunha da Rocha, Denilson, Sylvano Comvalius, Ruslan Kisil, Danny Holla, Oscar Linton, Nuno Malheiro, Riki Kakinuma, Alessandro Milesi and Hugo Meira.

The Paolites, on the other hand, have already played two matches in Europe, defeating Vaduz 2-0 away from home and losing narrowly to Fehervar last Thursday. They signed Zachary Grech, Leandro Almeida, Edafe Uzeh, Shola Shodiya, Rundell Winchester and Jose Wilkson Teixeira.

Fighting for honours is the ultimate objective for both sides.

Floriana FC vs Gzira United FC, kick-off 21:15

At the National Stadium, Floriana should face a tough Gzira test although they definitely have the clash with Flora Tallinn in the third round of the UEFA Europa League this coming Thursday in mind. A match which could put them in the play-off stage of the competition where they would face Dinamo Zagreb of Croatia. The game against Gzira will be their third this season after losing 0-2 to Cluj and defeating Linfield last Thursday. With Vincenzo Potenza confirmed as coach, there were only slight changes in the squad thanks to the addition of Nicola Leone, Flavio Silva Cheveresan, Siraj Arab Eddin and the return of Daniel Agius.

Gzira have re-appointed Darren Abdilla as their new coach and the transfer campaign featured the signings of Steve Borg, Nevin Portelli, Omar Elouni, Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte, Gabriel Bohrer Mentz, Jackson Usuga Mendoza, Luis Riascos Torres and Camilo del Castillo Escobar while Jefferson Assis is back after a spell with Al Fujairah in the UAE.

This season, the Greens will be aiming at retaining the championship while Gzira aim at challenging for honours after a rather disappointing campaign last season.