Slaven Bilic dodges discuss of final stand at Al Ittihad as Al Hilal await in newest SPL preview

Battle recommences within the Saudi Skilled League on Tuesday with a pair of intriguing matches.

Leaders Al Hilal will likely be with out suspended Brazilian talisman Carlos Eduardo, however might welcome Italy pocket rocket Sebastian Giovinco, for the go to of mid-table Al Qadsiah to King Saud College Stadium. Within the night time’s different matches, the Jorge Fossati-era begins at Al Ahli Jeddah after they welcome one other Riyadh powerhouse, Al Nassr.

Elsewhere on this spherical, fallen giants Al Ittihad’s clumsy makes an attempt to flee the relegation zone proceed on Friday at Al Raed.

Listed below are the key speaking factors:


It’s been an entertaining introduction to life at Hilal from coach Zoran Mamic.

The 48-year-old has repaid the choice to poach him from Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ain with a flood of objectives. Ex-France striker Bafetimbi Gomis’ injury-time comply with up at Al Batin earned a rollercoaster 3-2 win at Al Batin, extending a 100-per-cent file throughout three matches at a mixed rating of 12-4.

Mamic has loosened the leashes strapped on by the masterful Jorge Jesus, urging full-backs to bomb forwards and granting Hilal’s all-time high overseas purpose scorer, Eduardo, the liberty of the park.

However this sport plan will, reportedly, should be tweaked for the following three home fixtures after the 29-year-old’s inexplicable leaping stamp within the closing throes on Friday.

Hilal, nevertheless, are blessed with choices for the pivotal No10 function.

Winter addition Giovinco has begun coaching after he arrived injured from Main League Soccer. His low centre of gravity and indulgent abilities would supply a flamboyant various to the highly effective Eduardo, if match match.

Explode into life towards sinking opponents who’ve misplaced 5 of their final six matches and further strain will likely be exerted on Mamic forward of the choice to pick his 4 foreigners for the 2019 AFC Champions League.

Different choices embrace Salem Al Dawsari, who sporadically performed a central function for Saudi Arabia at Asian Cup 2019, to middling impact. He’s additionally again within the fold.


The capricious SPL churns by way of coaches like few different competitions throughout the globe.

Pablo Guede’s reward for successful four-successive top-flight matches at Ahli was a abstract firing after simply seven months in cost, with Gulf veteran Fossati being drafted in so shortly that there was barely time for a desk to be cleared.

To unpick this choice, you should begin from the again.

Ahli have conceded probably the most objectives within the high six (26). December’s 4-Three loss at Hilal and October’s shameful 6-2 give up at Ettifaq signpost their helter-skelter nature beneath Guede.

That is the place Fossati and his – just about – ever-present 3-4-2-1 formation comes into play.

When you can tighten up the defence with out impeding 13-goal marksmen Omar Al Somah and Djaniny, then a 10-point hole to the leaders might quickly shut.

Fossati has had lower than every week on the coaching pitch to instill his ideas. An early acid check awaits towards Nassr.


We’re greater than 5 months into Slaven Bilic’s reign at Al Ittihad – and nonetheless the eight-time champions are not any nearer to extracting themselves from the relegation zone.

Saturday’s stalemate at Al Taawoun noticed 5 winter additions function. Probabilities and factors, nevertheless remained at a premium.

Midfielder Abdullah Al Bishi shone on the Asian Cup, however was hooked on the hour mark. Fahad Al Muwallad and Aleksandar Prijovic shared innocent headers.

Bilic arrived in Saudi Arabia with a battered popularity after a blended few seasons at West Ham United. A seek for redemption has, so far, been forlorn.

Al Raed are in even worse kind, shedding their final 4 video games in all competitions.

Ittihad should make this 5 to avert the very actual hazard of sleepwalking into Prince Mohammad bin Salman League.

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