So, a lot has happened since my last post, and not much of it was good.
Before talking briefly about today’s match, Ill mention the other two we played this week, even though Id much rather not.
So, PAOK-AEK in Toumba. Of all the derbies we play each season, the PAOK one rarely gives as much trouble as others. Even Toumba, despite being filled with incredibly intimidating and passionate PAOK supporters, is a stadium AEK always seems to have a chance in. I cant seem to figure it out, but our record there these past few years has been quite good.
Things did change last weekend when we lost 3-0. Ill be honest with all of you, this was the first time I closed the computer early during an AEK match. Things weren’t looking good right from the start, our defence was terrible, we were lacking creativity, and as soon as PAOK went one up as a result of some terrible man marking (or lack of, rather), I gave up. I knew we had no chance of getting back in the game. We didn’t have Roger playing (the man responsible for assisting two of our four goals against Xanthi a few days before) and we were creating nothing, going nowehere. PAOK on the other hand, who have got off to a very good start this season and are playing some attractive football, clearly seemed the better team, and I couldn’t see them giving up their lead. And seeing as I had other stuff to do at home, I figured it wasn’t worth watching the rest, so I listened on the radio. As I expected, things only got worse.
Aside from our terrible defending, it was so clear in this game, as it was the next, and especially today’s match with Panionios, that we lack creativity. Despite his attitude and on-and-off performances, I would give anything to have someone like Scocco, and even Manduca, back in our squad. Roger can certainly create, but he isn’t enough, we need someone who can get the ball forward on his own, someone who can pull defenders out and then ease past them, and someone who can score after doing all this work. Scocco was someone who could do this, and even when he didn’t score, he was a nightmare for defenders.
Sure, Leonardo has played great this season, but he isn’t nearly the same level. Jose Carlos has the potential, but I havent seen too much from him yet. Sialmas wont get us anywhere. Belleck works hard and has some speed, but still cannot move with the ball the way Scocco could. Gudjonsen is way too old, and has done nothing in my opinion to warrant the money we pay him.
We have nobody going forward that can open up defenders, create plays and opportunities, someone who will get the ball up there, and will get it in the net. Its quite sad really to see how low AEK has fallen, considering even last year we had a player Like Scocco. Before then we had a Blanco who could score anything, and a young Libe, with Rivaldo pulling the strings. Go further back and we had players like Nikolaidis, Tsiartas, Mavros, Papaioannou. Sure, these players all play different positions, but the point Im trying to make is AEK has always been blessed with great attacking talent… these days, we simply dont have that. Yes, Leonardo is a fine player, Belleck has potential, but aside from these guys, we have nobody. Libe is too old, and can only be used a sub these days, Gudjonsen can’t really do too much.
No matter who we have as coach, until we have a team that can be dangerous up front, we wont be getting the results we want. Sure, Manolo is to blame for our poor results this season and last, more so maybe than our players. But I think it was especially obvious from our game today against Panionios, that this AEK team cannot go far. We have a good group of players with young talents like Leo and Manolas, experience in Dellas and Libe, but we need more. Desperately.
So, I’ve gotten a bit off topic by now. Maybe its because I dont quite feel like talking about our match against Sturm, but I guess I will.
First game of the season with fans in oaka. We didn’t get a good result against PAOK a few days earlier, but we were hoping for something here, and with Carlos’ goal early in the second half, we thought we’d clinched the three points. But, thanks to a pointless red card for Dellas, we let our lead slip away as well as all three points. I’m not going to talk too much about the game, but I would like to say that its incredibly disappointing to lose a game like this, in this way. We were the better team, we dominated throughout the first half. I would even go as far as saying that Sturm was the worst European team Ive seen AEK play in a while. They were nowhere, they could not create a chance, their defending was terrible. A stronger AEK team, such as our team of 07-08, would have taken this game with a 3-0 scoreline. And thats what disappoints me the most. AEK should not be losing these games, these games should be a fairly easy three points. Even the away match to Anderlecht. A previous AEK team with a better defense could have comfortably gotten at least a draw.
So, I wont say anymore about that match. We’re pretty much out of Europe already and its only the second day of October. Wonderful…
And finally, Ill mention our game today against Panionios. Poor match, terrible match rather, but the result was great. Panionios has given us a hard time lately, especially in Nea Smyrni. And to get a win like this, in the 92nd minute, feels just wonderful. We played terribly (Ive heard people mention it was the worst game from AEK they can recall seeing), only created one or two chances, but we got the three points away from home. And thanks to Oly beating PAOK today, we’re tied for first (though Oly have played a game less). I know its still early and I can’t see us staying first for much longer, but hey, at least its something.