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Al Hilal face Al Shabab this weekend in a game that could see the home side move top of the Saudi Pro League with a win. After an impressive start to the season, Al Hilal come into this one on the back of a couple of stuttering performances across three separate competitions. Al Shabab, meanwhile, are on a three-match winning streak after a slow start to the season which sets us up for a thrilling encounter in Saudi Arabia.
Al Hilal v Al Shabab predicted lineups and news
Before a ball was kicked this season, Al Hilal were fancied by many to win the Saudi Pro League. They finished 3rd last season and have added a host of world stars in the summer including Neymar and Ruben Neves. Al Shabab don’t have the luxury of world stars but they are a well-organised outfit. The match will kick off at 19:00 UK time and take place at the King Fahd International Stadium.
Team news: Al Hilal
It’s been a turbulent week for Al Hilal with speculation growing that manager Jorge Jesus could be in line for the sack after reportedly falling out with Neymar. Despite that, Jesus remains in the hot seat for this one and has a number of selection dilemmas to consider.
The biggest dilemma revolves around the club’s star player, Neymar. The Brazilian superstar has had to publicly deny that he has tried to get Jesus the sack and branded the rumours as “lies” and “fake news”. Despite that, he sat out their Kings Cup clash on Monday which has fueled speculation that there is some tension in the air.
Neymar breaks the silence on the rumours of him not being happy at Al Hilal & not liking Jorge Jesus:
“Lie… you guys have to stop believing these things, pages like this .. with millions of followers can’t be posting fake news!
With all the respect in the world, I ask you to… pic.twitter.com/oY73tVtHpZ
— Neymoleque | Fan 🇧🇷 (@Neymoleque) September 25, 2023
It would be incredible if Jesus left Neymar out again and there is no indication at this stage that this is even a possibility. It’s expected that the ex-PSG and Barcelona man will start the game alongside Aleksandar Mitrovic up front. Mitrovic has settled into Saudi life really well and has scored five goals in five league appearances since signing from Fulham in the summer.
Al Hilal predicted lineup
Bono, Al Shahrani, Al Bulayhi, Jahfali, Abdulhamid, Neves, Al Dawsari, Malcom, Michael, Neymar, Mitrovic
Team news: Al Shabab
Although Al Shabab didn’t receive funding from PIF over the summer, they did manage to get a couple of big-name signings over the line. The two biggest names to sign for the club were Yannick Carrasco and Ever Banega and both men will line up for Al Shabab on Friday night. Carrasco, in particular, will be keen to get back on the pitch after scoring a brace in the King’s Cup earlier this week.
At the other end of the pitch, the Al Shabab defence will be well aware of the job they have on their hands against Neymar and Mitrovic. Thankfully for them, Iago Santos returned to the starting eleven last week following a spell on the sidelines and he should play again at the back against Al Hilal.
🇸🇦⚽️⚽️ Yannick Carrasco scored twice (33′ & 118′) for Al-Shabab to beat Al-Batin and advanced to the round of 16 in the Saudi King’s Cup. ✅ pic.twitter.com/aB2BOYcKO2
— Absolute Belgian Fans 🇧🇪 (@BelgianFans) September 25, 2023
Al Shabab predicted lineup
Kim; Al Harbi, Saiss, Santos, Al Saqour; Cuellar, Banega, Al Qahtan, Bahbri, Diallo Carrasco
Will Neymar play?
The big news out of the Saudi Pro League this week has revolved around Neymar, which won’t come as a surprise considering controversy has seemingly followed the Brazilian throughout his career. He is rumoured to have fallen out with Jorge Jesus but that shouldn’t stop him from starting the game against Al Shabab as he is Al Hilal’s marquee summer signing.
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