Yep, 2 for 2 in the championship already. Who would have thought? Certainly not me (if I read correctly, we had 2 points by this time last season). And really, THESE are the games we must be winning. Take the 07-08 season for example, where easily avoidable home losses to teams like Iraklis and Panionios cost us the championship. Sure, derbies can go either way, but its beating the weaker opponents that counts most to ensuring success in the championship. And we’ve certainly done that so far, against two teams (Ergotelis and Xanthi) who have been known to give us a hard time when they wanted to.
Just by reading the score, two things are obvious. Our offense? Excellent! Our defense? Not so much.
We were brilliant going forward from midfield up. Vargas had a stand out game and is really making a tremendous impression on all of us. He’s technical, knows the game, and, as was evident from the game, can certainly finish.
Guerreiro, who we haven’t seen play in a while, also had a phenomenal game, with two assists. Sure, he is still a slow player, but his vision is excellent, and so were his set pieces (though the wind did help on some occasions). Lets face it, were stuck with him, and are still paying him, we might as well get some game time from him. Im not getting my hopes too high just yet though, this wouldn’t be the first time he impressed only to have a poor performance in the next game. But if he keeps this up, he can definitely be a useful player this season.
Belleck? Impressive once again. Fast, plays well with the team, had a great chance to score, and also got an assist (to add to his other from the Ergotelis game). Fantastic singing for us (Im gonna say he’s the best signing of the season along with Vargas).
Libe, Eidur, overall we were brilliantly going forward. 4 goals away to Xanthi is never easy but they managed it (its always great to see AEK score 4, especially in an away game). Afterall, this is the same Xanthi team that only barely lost to Olympiakos in Karaiskaki the week before. And that was only after they received a red card and had 5 minutes of extra time added to the game (of course Oly went on to score the winning goal in the 4th minute of extra time… convenient isn’t it?). So well done to our attackers.
Unfortunately, our defending was scary at times. It seems there is little communication going on these days, especially with the back four. Manolas had a poor game, and overall we were not effective at defending at all. Let too much slip by, sloppy and poor judgement from our defenders. I’m not sure what its gonna take, but they really must tighten up. The goals we conceeded could have been avoided, and when you’re up by two with so little time left, you really shouldn’t be letting goals in like that. Its worrisome that they managed to let Xanthi back in the game so many times.
Thankfully, Arabatzis played between the posts. Slightly at fault for the first goal, but he saved us a few times, notably on a one on one in the second half. Unfortunately, he had a tough game with the wind up north (Ive never seen wind like that at a football match). On more than one occasion after taking a goal kick, the ball would simply hover in the air and then slowly drift back toward the goal it came from.
SO. 2 for 2. Well done to Manolo for lining us up well finally and making the right subs at the right time. Defending needs work though, and urgently. Still, we’re in a great position so far, and confidence should be high. We’ll need it afterall, as we face PAOK in Toumba this weekend. A win here and things will be looking very good for us.
Oh, and of course, the goals from the match (Vargas’ goal was phenomenal):
And one final note. Once again, well done to our supporters. Amazing away support yet again (not long after the fantastic support they offered our team in Belgium). Nobody beats AEK supporters.