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Saudi Pro League | Gameweek 26
Apr 3, 2024 at 8pm UK
Al Fateh Club Stadium

Al Fateh
1 - 0
Al Ettifaq

Zelarayan (80')
Baattia (63'), Zelarayan (83')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Preview: Al Fateh vs. Al Ettifaq - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Al Fateh vs. Al Ettifaq - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Saudi Pro League clash between Al Fateh and Al Ettifaq, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

The final curtain of gameweek 26 in the Saudi Pro League will see Al Fateh taking on Al Ettifaq at the Al Fateh Club Stadium in Al-Hasa on Wednesday night.

This is a crucial match in the race to keep up with the chasing pack in the league, with the hosts currently trailing the top five by nine points while the visitors are only two points better off.

Match preview

Al Fateh would likely have come into this season hoping to improve on their sixth-placed finish from last term, but with nine games left to play, they seem increasingly unlikely to accomplish that goal unless they can put together a run of positive results.

Unfortunately, maintaining consistency has been a major difficulty for Al-Namothaji this season as they have only managed to go a maximum of four consecutive matches without defeat on one occasion, which was between the end of September and October last year.

This year began particularly poorly for Slaven Bilic's side, as they had failed to win any of their first five games since the AFC Asian Cup (W0 D2 L0), but they finally ended that streak with a much-needed 3-2 win over Al Wehda on the road over the weekend.

Cristian Tello scored twice in the match before Saad Al Sharfa got the winner 15 minutes from time. However, while the three points would have been welcomed by Bilic, the Al Fateh boss would likely have been concerned to see another poor defensive display by his side after letting in four against Al Ittihad and two against Al Khaleej in their last two matches.

With a short turnaround between games, it will be interesting to see how the hosts approach this match against a different sort of opponent, though they will be able to draw confidence from their excellent recent record against them.

Al Ettifaq lost the reverse fixture 2-1 at Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium last October and have now gone five league matches without a win against Al Fateh (W0 D1 L4), dating back to February 2021.

The Knight of Ad-Dahna were tipped to challenge the PIF-owned giants for the top spots this season, but like their opponents here, they have failed to put together a significant run of results, which sees them enter gameweek 26 with just 36 points to their names, 23 fewer than Al Nassr and just one point more than half of Al-Hilal's 72-point haul.

However, Steven Gerrard's side enters this contest with greater momentum than Fateh, having taken a point off Al Ahli over the weekend, which extended their current unbeaten league run to four matches (W2 D2 L0), while their only defeat in their last eight was against the unbeaten Blue Waves.

The Commandos are also unbeaten in their last three away games in the top flight, including back-to-back wins with clean sheets against Al Khaleej and Damak and a 1-1 draw against Al Tai in their last outing.

Al Fateh Saudi Pro League form:

Al Ettifaq Saudi Pro League form:

Team News

Former Manchester City defender Jason Denayer was withdrawn just 20 minutes into last weekend's win over Al Wehda due to injury and is expected to remain sidelined for this one.

Denayer will be joined on the sidelines by Noah Al-Mousa, who will start his three-match ban here, following the straight red he was shown in stoppage time of the same match.

Al Ettifaq suffered a major blow in their last match, with Seko Fofana forced off the pitch due to an injury at halftime after pulling his side level at 1-1 seconds before the interval.

That will leave Gerrard with a gaping hole to fill in attack, with Demarai Gray ineligible for selection, having seen red against Al Tai in their previous match. Ali Hazazi is the most likely slot into the midfield trio.

Al Fateh possible starting lineup:
Rinne; Baattia, Alawjami, Al-Zubaidi, Al-Najdi; Bendebka, Saadane, Batna, Tello, Zelarayan; Djaniny

Al Ettifaq possible starting lineup:
Victor; Ataibi, Hendry, Al-Khateeb, Al Shamrani; Wijnaldum, Medran, Hazazi; Ekambi, Dembele, Al Obod

We say: Al Fateh 1-1 Al Ettifaq

While Al Ettifaq showed excellent fighting spirit against Al Ahli last time out, that performance would have taken a lot out of them, and the short turnaround time to this match is far from ideal. In addition, they are missing a couple of key attacking players in Gray and Fofana, the latter of whom has been instrumental in recent weeks.

The hosts got a morale-boosting win over the weekend and we feel they will take something from this match as well.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Preview: Al Fateh vs. Al Ittihad - prediction, team news, lineups
Premier League Table
4Al Ittihad27145851351647
6Al Ettifaq2710983328539
7Al Fateh27107104440437
9Al Fayha2798103643-735
10Al Khaleej2797113138-734
11Al ShababAl Shabab2788113135-432
12Al WahdaAl Wahda2794144147-631
13Al RaedAl Raed2786133540-530
14Al Riyadh2767142348-2525
16Al Okhdood2773172245-2324
17Al Tai2765162755-2823
18Al Hazem27210152565-4016
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