One To Watch – Mohammad Al-Sahlawi (Saudi Arabia)

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Mohammed Al-Sahlawi celebrating his 3rd goal against Timor Leste

Overview of Player

Mohammed Al-Sahlawi is a 31 year old footballer who plies his trade as striker for 7 time Saudi Premier League winners Al-Nassr FC. Since his transfer to Al-Nassr from Al-Qadsiah FC back in 2009 worth 32 million Saudi Riyal (6.3 million pounds), Al-Sahlawi can boast an incredible 102 goals in just 174 matches.

In his first season with Al-Nassr, Al-Sahlawi scored 21 goals in 36 matches and received the Young Player of the Year award from STC.

In 2015, he was selected as one of the world’s best top goalscorers by the IFFHS.
On the 29th of March 2018, it was announced that he would spend three weeks training with Manchester United in order to sharpen up his game ahead of the World Cup in Russia.

Al-Sahlawi has been called up 40 times for the senior Saudi Arabian team.

Overview of Nation

Saudi Arabia have struggled for success in recent years, but they have achieved some incredible feats in the past. Saudi are three times winners of the AFC Asian cup, titles coming in 1984, 1988 and 1996 but their biggest achievement in history would have to be the their effort at the 1992 Intercontinental Champions Cup hosted in their own back yard. Saudi Arabia lost out in the final 3-1 against a very strong Argentinian side featuring current Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, the scorer of their third goal.

Since then, Saudi Arabia have struggled to succeed, with a only a couple of Arabian Gulf Cup wins in the early 2000s to show for their efforts, currently finding themselves ranked 67 in the FIFA rankings, and 5th in the AFC rankings.

They qualified for the World Cup by finishing 2nd in their qualifying group, just 1 point behind Japan. They managed to pick up 6 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses from their group with Al-Sahlawi scoring 2 goals.

Performance of player in qualification

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Al-Sahlawi was the worlds top goalscorer in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying campaign, scoring 16 goals in just 18 matches for the Green Falcons of Saudi Arabia leading them to a first place finish in their qualifying group.
Look for him to attempt to emulate his scoring success as his Saudi side are set to take on Russia, Egypt and Uruguay and their quest to qualify for the round of 16 stage!

Why he’s one to watch

Al-Sahlawi’s goalscoring record on the international stage speaks for itself, although eight of his goals come from 10-0 and 7-0 thrashings of Timor-Leste, and he has also recorded braces against Palestine, Jordan, North Korea, Cambodia and United Arab Emirates. Not exactly the greatest footballing nations in the world.

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However, he’s scored against teams like Spain and Australia before too, so he’s capable of competing on the big stage against good opposition. His domestic form this season is also strong. Against minnows, he is indeed a very capable striker, but who knows whether we will see him on the World Cup scoresheet.

Video of player/compilation

(Mohammed Al-Sahlawi scores goals 1,4,5,6, and 8 in a 10-0 victory over Timor Leste in World Cup qualifying)

Football Manager Screenshot

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As you can see above, Al-Sahlawi has incredible penalties and a maximum 20/20 for determination. He is a very well-rounded player with consistently green stats in most categories. As you can see in the two videos above, he is very good at penalties and is Saudi Arabia’s primary penalty taker.

This isn’t the only ‘One to Watch’, we are releasing a one to watch article for every nation in the World Cup. An hour before each team kick off their first World Cup Group Stage game, we will release that nations one to watch. These can be viewed here – One to Watch for all Nations in World Cup 2018

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