Saudi Pro League Gameweek 10 Preview

The Saudi Pro League resumes after a short international break. International breaks often provide teams with a valuable opportunity to regroup, refresh, and strategize. The competition is reaching an all-time high as Al-Hilal, Al-Taawon, and Al-Nassr make up the top three.

Friday 20 October

37/10 Al-Taawon | Draw 26/10 | Al-Ittihad 13/20 (17:00)

Al-Taawon kick-start the weekend off with a highly competitive match-up against defending champions Al-Ittihad. The Wolves have been proving they have what it takes to compete at the highest level and will fancy their chances to claim maximum points in their own backyard.

Al-Ittihad have had a dip in performances before the international break, and now hold fourth place with 19 points after nine games. Nuno Espírito Santo would have used this break to regroup and with all the quality they possess, this is a chance to get back to winning ways. Not much to separate these two teams but I see Al-Ittihad come away with a hard-fought victory in this one.

24/10 Al-Akhdoud | Draw 39/20 | Al-Fayha 11/10 (17:00)

Al-Akhdoud will be looking to bounce back after they lost 3-0 to Al-Hilal just before the international break. Home ground advantage with effective set piece routines, both defensively to prevent goals and offensively to create scoring opportunities will be the deciding factor in getting a positive result.

Al-Fayha currently unbeaten in three matches and will be determined to maintain that record with another important victory. Exploiting Al-Akhdoud’s weaknesses and controlling proceedings from the first whistle could be the key to success in this match-up for Al-Fayha. Al-Fayha to win.

5/10 Al-Fateh | Draw 3/1 | Abha 42/10 (20:00)

Al-Fateh have been impressive in these early stages and have managed to win four of their last five fixtures. Coach Slaven Bilic has instilled a “never say die” attitude within his squad and return to action on a three-match unbeaten streak. Bilic will expect nothing less than maximum points here.

Abha finds themselves in a rather difficult position at this stage of the season and with just one point after five outings confirms the rough patch they currently going through. Counter-attacking football will be the best approach to this game while being organized and disciplined defensively. Al-Fateh to win with over 2.5 goals.

1/12 Al-Hilal | Draw 8/1 | Al-Khaleej 19/1 (20:00)

There is so much excitement around this Al-Hilal side with regards to the quality players they have bolstered the squad with. It is no surprise to see the Riyadh-based super team occupy top spot and will be looking to collecting maximum points to make it four consecutive home victories.

Al-Khaleej do not only have defensive issues but also struggle to find consistency. Having won their previous two away fixtures will bring confidence to the squad but with the calibre of opponent they face, they will need to back that confidence up with a solid defensive display. Al-Hilal to win at home.

Saturday 21 October

1/7 Al-Nassr | Draw 6/1 | Damak 12/1 (17:00)

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr have been on fire every time they set foot onto the pitch. Their four-match unbeaten streak came to an end with a 2-2 draw with Abha just before the international break. Maximum points will be the order of the day to stay in touching distance will Al-Hilal who hold top spot.

Damak managed to find some rhythm before the international break and come into this tough meeting unbeaten in three fixtures. Cosmin Contra will hope his team can continue with the momentum they picked up and deliver a strong performance as they look to upset title hopefuls Al-Nassr. Exciting match-up but Al-Nassr will be too strong on the day, back the home win.

14/10 Al-Hazm | Draw 21/10 | Al-Raed 17/10 (17:00)

Al-Hazm are still rooted to the bottom of the table after nine games with three points and are the only team yet to register a victory. It’s clear to see that Al-Hazm are failing to meet the standards of the Pro League but having defeated Al-Raed 2-0 in their previous meeting will encourage “Hazem Al-Samood” to go all out and potentially pick up their first victory of the season.

Al-Raed are in 17th place with five points after nine games and two points above last place Al-Hazm. Mental resilience will play a huge role in fighting their way through this rough patch and will need a collective performance on the day to come out victorious. Battle of the two worst performing clubs thus far and I see the home victory in this one.

2/7 Al-Ahli | Draw 4/1 | Al-Wehda 15/2 (20:00)

Al-Ahli are living up to their expectations and defeating current champions Al-Ittihad 1-0 just before the international break shows their intent and ambitions for the season. The star-studded Jeddah-based side will be eager to collecting maximum points as they sit comfortably in fifth position.

Al-Wehda have somewhat fallen off the pace a bit and have dropped down to eighth place after picking up just four points in their last three outings. Facing a star-studded Al-Ahli outfit will take a huge amount of commitment and determination as they look to come away with a positive result. Al-Ahli for the win.

5/10 Al-Shabab | Draw 29/10 | Al-Tai 46/10 (20:00)

Al-Shabab have a lot of work to do in order to maintain their status as they sit just two points above the relegation zone. Having no coach can have a bad effect on the players and how they perform on the day, but unity and hard work will be key to their success in this home fixture for the White Lions.

Al-Tai come into this fixture on the back of three consecutive defeats. Defensive issues continue to hurt The Knights of The North as they have the third worst defensive record thus far. Picking the right moments when to attack while solidifying the defensive areas could help with coming away with a more favourable outcome. Comfortable home victory for Al-Shabab.

Sunday 22 October

44/10 Al-Riyadh | Draw 28/10 | Al-Ittifaq 11/20 (17:00)

Al-Riyadh have the potential to hurt teams with their explosive attacks but having the second worst defensive record does not help their cause. The Riyadh-based side face a tough challenge and will need a top performance to pick up their first home victory in four games.

Steven Gerrard and his team has seen a dip in performances before the international break. Having lost 2-1 in extra time to Al-Fateh in their previous fixture will not sit well with the England legend and will demand a performance worthy of maximum points upon their return to domestic football. Big three points for both teams, and I see Al-Ittifaq pinching maximum points away from home.

Written by Marc Strydom