Iran will face the United Arab Emirates at Zabeel Stadium in Dubai in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying match on Thursday.
With two wins in as many games in the final round, the Melli team hope to continue their winning streak and reserve their place for next year’s final.
They are also one of only two teams in the group to have yet to concede, having shut out Syria and Iraq in 1-0 and 3-0 wins respectively.
The United Arab Emirates are in third place with two points after consecutive draws in their two games so far.
Lebanon held them to a goalless stalemate before Syria denied them victory with a late equalizer on Matchday 2.
They will desperately seek a victory here, but their record against Iran is extremely bad.
UAE vs Iran Head to Head
Iran has never lost to the UAE in its previous 14 clashes, winning 10.
Their last three meetings have also turned in the direction of the Melli team, including a 1-0 victory in the 2015 Asian Cup.
UAE Forms Guide (all competitions): WWWDD
Iran Form Guide (all competitions): WWWWW
UAE team news vs Iran
United Arab Emirates
Head coach Bert van Marwijk has named a 28-man squad for their upcoming qualifiers against Iran and Iraq.
Top scorer Ali Mabkhout, who has scored 77 goals in 94 games, will lead the line, while Walid Abbas, another experienced player, is their captain.
There are a few new faces in the camp, including full-backs Abdulaziz Haikal and Ahmed Rashid. Sharjah and Al Ain midfielders Majed Rashid and Mohammed Abbas are also in line to make their international debuts.
Brazilian striker Caio Canedo is sidelined with injury.
Injury: Caio Canedo
Team Melli head coach Dragan Sonic has named a 26-man squad for this month’s doubles program, made up mostly of foreign players.
Zenit Saint Petersburg forward Sardar Azmoun, Porto’s Mehdi Taremi, Brentford midfielder Saman Ghoddos and Feyenoord star Alireza Jahanbakhsh have all been called up.
Defender Siavash Yazdani and Sepahan midfielder Yasin Salmani could both make their international debuts.
United Arab Emirates vs Iran Predicts XI
WATER (4-3-3): Ali Khasif; Bandar Al-Ahbabi, Shahin Abdulrahman, Walid Abbas, Mahmoud Khamees; Abdelrahman Ali Hassan, Majed Hassan, Abdullah Ramadan; Fabio Lima, Ali Mabkhout, Sebastian Tagliabue.
Iran (4-4-2): Alireza Beiranvand; Sadegh Moharrami, Hossein Kanaanizadegan, Shojae Khalilzadeh, Omid Noorafkan; Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Saeed Ezatolahi, Ahmad Nourollahi, Vahid Amiri; Sardar Azmoun, Mehdi Taremi.
Prediction United Arab Emirates vs Iran
The UAE have never beaten Iran, but their current form holds them in good stead. Yet the Melli team is the strongest Asian team with real quality in their ranks.
It might be a tough game, but we expect Iran to win eventually.
Prediction: UAE 1-2 Iran