January 2018: Egyptian Premier League Winners and Losers
Mohamed El-Shennawy has been Al Ahly’s most important player in January. He has kept five clean sheets out of the seven games he played with Al Ahly this month. Two of those clean sheets have come in the Cairo Derby against Zamalek and another against Al Masry as Al Ahly won their 10th Egypt Super Cup. Of goalkeepers who have played five or more games this season, El-Shennawy has kept the highest percentage of clean sheets with eight from 14 matches. His consistent performances have led Al Ahly coach Hossam El Badry to prefer him to Sherif Ekramy.
El-Shennawy’s biggest challenge going forward will be working with the defensive line in front of him. With Al Ahly facing heavy rotation in the back line due to injuries and transfers, El-Badry has been forced to make some less than ideal changes such as playing right back Mohamed Hany as a center back. As a result, there has been some misunderstanding between the defense and El-Shennawy. Solidifying the communication between himself and the defense will be vital to Al Ahly’s success this season.
Abdallah El-Said has been a silent warrior for Al Ahly in January. He has contributed to a goal in each of his league games in January, scoring one goal and assisting four others. El-Said has been criticised by Al Ahly and Egypt fans alike over his lack of pace on the field and that he tends to slow down his team, but his contribution to Al Ahly on and off the ball is too vital to be left out of the squad especially in big matches. He has proven time and time again his worth for Al Ahly.
In January, there were many rumors regarding a potential move away from the Red Devils, but he has since denied the reports. And even though Al Ahly may be looking for a replacement for the 32-year-old midfielder, El-Said will keep his starting spot based on his class performances. Soon, Al Ahly will be playing in three competitions once again when the CAF Champions League season starts and El-Said will be once again vital on their way to a potential ninth title.
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