Preview: Al Shabab vs. Al Ittihad – prediction, team news, lineups

Experience the excitement of the Saudi Pro League as Al Shabab and Al Ittihad clash at the King Fahd International Stadium on Friday evening. Both teams are in desperate need of a positive result in gameweek 12.

The hosts, Al Shabab, currently sit in 11th place with 12 points from 11 matches, while the visitors, Al Ittihad, are in sixth place with 21 points over the same period.

Match Preview

© Reuters

Al Shabab has seen a decline in their form compared to their impressive fourth-place finish last season. They currently find themselves closer to the relegation zone than the top five in the league. In their last league game, they suffered a 2-1 loss to Abha, marking their fifth defeat in 11 games. However, they bounced back with a 2-1 win over Al Fateh in the King’s Cup, showcasing their fighting spirit.

After a series of disappointing results, Al Shabab made a managerial change, appointing Igor Biscan as their new boss. Under his leadership, they secured two wins in their first three games. However, their poor away record remains a concern, with only one win in six matches on the road.

Al-Ittihad new signing Karim Benzema waves to fans as he holds the Ballon d'Or trophy during his presentation on June 7, 2023© Reuters

On the other hand, Al Ittihad started the season strongly with four consecutive wins and clean sheets. However, they have hit a roadblock recently, failing to win any of their last four league games. Despite this, they have been solid defensively, conceding only nine goals so far, which is the second-best record in the league.

The last time these teams met, Al-Sha’ab emerged victorious with a 2-1 win on their home turf, and they remain unbeaten against Al Ittihad in their last three encounters, outscoring them 5-2 in that time.

Al Shabab Saudi Pro League form:

Al Ittihad Saudi Pro League form:

Team News

Al Ittihad coach Nuno Espirito Santo on January 26, 2023© Reuters

Al Shabab will be without the services of defender Iago Santos, who received two yellow cards in their previous match. Nader Al-Sharari is expected to replace Santos in central defense. Abdullah Al-Jadani remains unavailable in goal, leaving Marcelo Grohe to continue as the goalkeeper for Al Ittihad.

Both teams have a few absentees due to injuries and ineligibility, but they still have strong lineups. Here are the predicted starting lineups:

Al Shabab possible starting lineup:
Kim; S. Al Yami, Al-Sharari, Saiss, F. Al-Yami; Alqahtani, Cuellar, Banega; Carlos, Diallo, Bahbri

Al Ittihad possible starting lineup:
Grohe; Hawsawi, Kadesh, Felipe; Al-Shanqeeti, Kante, Coronado, Al-Farhan, Bamsaud; Al Shammari, Benzema

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Our Prediction: Al Shabab 1-2 Al Ittihad

Al Shabab will be riding the wave of their recent victory, but Al Ittihad will be determined to avoid dropping more points. Expect a close match, but we predict that Al Ittihad will secure the win by the end of the game.

Top Tip

Our expert tipster partners at predict that there will be less than 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out their other predictions and for more football tips.Under 3.5:data

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