A dose of reality has been administered to Al Ahli Jeddah and their coveted new coach, Vladan Milojevic.
In the wake of a winning debut versus Al Fayha, the task of facing Al Taawoun – 2020 AFC Champions League entrants, King’s Cup holders and 2018/19’s third-placed side – felt less exacting. There would be no reply, however, to Brazilian winger Nildo Petrolina’s 30-yard goal-of-the-season contender that inflicted a deflating 1-0 defeat and sent them down to fourth.
Milojevic marked his arrival this month at the dysfunctional giant with a vow to “lead the team to the forefront of all competitions in which it competes”. But how will he go about achieving this?
Here is the Serbian’s in-tray, with the help of Wyscout, at King Abdullah Sports City:
It is not difficult to identify Ahli’s biggest disappointment in 2019/20.
Cape Verde forward Djaniny was a revelation last term upon arrival from Mexico’s Santos Laguna. The €10.3 million fee was repaid with an exceptional 20 goals in 21 top-flight run-outs, a tally one greater than Syria superstar Omar Al Somah.
Fast forward to 2019/20 and Djaniny’s return has dwindled to eight goals in 22 SPL matches. An exemplary average of 75.8 minutes per SPL goal in his debut campaign has ballooned to 220 minutes.
With youthful centre-back Abdulbasit Hindi the club’s next leading marksman, outside this pair, on three SPL goals, a problem is apparent.
What is the solution?
Ahli’s tactics have undergone a notable alteration during Djaniny’s time by the Red Sea.
The 4-2-3-1 formation has been favoured in both seasons. Its usage has, however, risen to 49 per cent of fixtures in all competitions in 2019/20 from 2018/19’s 29 per cent.
This shape has also been utilised in both of Milojevic’s matches; a 1-0 victory versus Al