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163 goals reveal the “truth of defenders” in front of “international stars”

“The goal is the height of pleasure in football.” This is how the Uruguayan novelist Eduardo Galeano, in his famous book “Football Between Sun and Shadow,” describes the goals in football matches, and Galeano goes on to describe the goals when they are scored: Delirium takes over the crowds and forgets “the stadium.” “It is made of cement, so it separates from the ground and floats in the air.

In 54 matches played in the Saudi Professional League so far, 163 goals were scored, with a goal average of 3.2 per match, and many big results were attended in a phenomenon that may seem unusual in the Saudi League, which is witnessing a historic qualitative shift in the project of attracting players.

The big results started from the third round, in which Al-Ittihad won against Al-Riyadh by four, and with the same result, Al-Hilal recorded its victory over Al-Raed on the night of the presence of Serbian Alexander Mitrovic, while Al-Nasr defeated Al-Fateh by five, the results continued and Al-Nasr won against Al-Shabab by a clean four in the fourth round.

Mitrovic quickly made his mark in the Saudi League (Photography: Abdulaziz Al-Noman)

In the fifth round, the Al-Ittihad and Al-Hilal Clasico fulfilled all their promises and witnessed seven goals for both teams. Al-Hilal won the match by four to three goals, which is the same round in which Al-Fateh won against Al-Ahly by five to one, and Al-Nasr achieved the same result against Al-Hazm, while Al-Taawoun won against Al-Wahda by four to one.

Al-Hilal recorded the highest score in the league until the sixth round after sweeping Riyadh with six goals to one goal, while Al-Wahda recorded its victory over Damak by four to two goals.

Regarding the presence of big results in the Saudi League, does this indicate strength or weakness, and is it considered development or delay? Majed Al-Shaibani, a performance analyst and licensed coach from the Asian Football Confederation, explains: I think more precisely, it is clearly evidence of quality differences between clubs.

Al-Shaibani added in his speech: In all cases, a strong league that is in good technical condition is marked by the presence of three to four teams leading the race with the quality of their results, and their closeness is not point-wise due to their stumbles. So I see it as a natural phenomenon.

The current summer transfer market witnessed international stars flocking to participate in the Saudi League as part of a huge project aimed at transforming the league into the top ten global leagues.

Regarding the quality of players in the teams, does it now play a major role in increasing scoring? Al-Shaibani says: It is true and without a doubt, the league did not know a striker of the caliber of Karim Benzema, Alexandre Mitrovic and Firmino, nor even sharp wingers on goal like Sadio Mane, Malcolm and Riyad Mahrez, adding: Players with terrible scoring productivity; So this is a major reason in my opinion.

Some brilliant attacking names were late in joining clubs during the summer period and even with the start of the league, such as Serbian Alexander Mitrovic in Al Hilal, Brazilian star Neymar, as well as Habib Diallo and Yannick Carrasco in Al-Shabab, Musa Barrow in Al-Taawoun, Abdelhamid Sabiri in Al-Fayha, and Nigerian Ighalo in Al-Wahda. .

Majed Al-Shaibani expects the continued presence of great results in the upcoming rounds of the Saudi Professional League, explaining: There are many factors that make this likely, such as the harmony of the new stars with their teams and with the nature and atmosphere of the league, adding: Even the weather will improve and additional rounds will not be played in more difficult weather than the beginnings they passed; Therefore, the indications are that great results will be a feature of this season, concluding his speech in this aspect: The matter may be balanced with successive periods of player registration when the medium-sized clubs are supported with quality deals as well.

Benzema shined remarkably with Al-Ittihad during the past rounds (Asharq Al-Awsat)

After six rounds, which teams started out stronger offensively, and which team is expected to improve “offensively” in the coming rounds? Saudi performance analyst Majed Al-Shaibani explains: The strongest offensively are Al-Hilal and Al-Nasr. The two teams have multiple scoring solutions and a large number of scorers.

Regarding the team most likely to develop offensively in the coming period, Al-Shaibani points out: The team that I expect to improve offensively is Al-Shabab after the addition of Carrasco and the return of Carlos Junior. Al-Shabab as a team plays enjoyable possession football, but lacks scoring solutions, and with their presence now I expect the team to improve in this particular aspect if the level improves. Diallo as a striker; Because so far he has not given the necessary reassurances to build on him as a striker for a team that has an abundance of creating opportunities.

Al-Hilal tops the list of teams with the most goals with twenty goals, while traditional rivals Al-Nasr follow with eighteen goals, then Al-Ittihad with sixteen goals, then Al-Fateh with fourteen goals, and after it Al-Ahly with thirteen goals, and Al-Taawoun, Al-Ittifaq and Al-Wehda clubs share the same number with 11 goals for each team.

The Portuguese star, Cristiano Ronaldo, captain of the Al-Nasr team, is the only one at the top of the scorers list with seven goals, while the runner-up, Salem Al-Dosari, the Al-Hilal star, and the Senegalese Sadio Mane, who recently joined Al-Nasr, share the score with six goals each, and the list is crowded with a great similarity between the players in the scoring tally. Thirdly, Abdul Razzaq Hamdallah, the Al-Ittihad striker, the Serbian Mitrovic, the Al-Hilal striker, and his teammate Malcolm, and Murad Batna, the Al-Fateh striker, will attend.

Riyad Mahrez took the Al-Ahly attack to a different level this season (Photography: Adnan Mahdali)

Regarding the responsibility of coaches of teams that concede many goals, does the quality of players play a role in that? Al-Shaibani says: The matter is common, without a doubt, the quality of players as defenders and guards is lower when you compare it to the first-class stars in the world on the offensive lines. Therefore, the balance is tipped individually towards the attackers, adding: But the coaches cannot be cleared; Because defense comes first as a system. A coach like Slaven Bilic, when he chose to play an open match against Al-Nasr, was punished with five points, and when he changed the drawing to a defensive five-pointer against Al-Ahly, he won by five. Therefore, tactics are an important factor in reducing individual differences.

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