A lucky win for us today considering we were outplayed by Panthrakikos for much of the match. A valuable three points away from home, but I’m really hoping we’ll start seeing more convincing performances from our team in the next few matches.
Overall we were lacking in every position today except for maybe goalkeeping. Baroja was solid aside from a few moments where he let the ball slip away from him. Other than that, he made some fine saves and was not at fault at all for the goal after it took a nasty last minute deflection.
Defensively we were okay, though at times we gave Panthrakikos far too much time on the ball in front of our net. It seemed like Poyet had told us to defend deep and soak up the pressure and for the most part it worked. Panthrakikos were forced to play the ball outside our box and could rarely make it in, but they weren’t afraid to take shots and it was only a matter of time before one went in. I don’t mind us playing a deep defensive line since we seemed to handle it decently, but I would like to have seen more pressure on the player with the ball. Rarely was any defensive pressure applied until a Panthrakikos player was in our box, but it would not have hurt to have pressured them a bit further out. If we had been playing a stronger team, giving that much space to their attackers would not have ended so well for us and I’m really hoping its not how we’ll be defending from now on.
Midfield was uninspiring today. I remember the last few games with Dellas before the Olympiakos derby, we had been playing such wonderful football in the middle of the pitch. Lots of one time passes, well placed balls, the players seemed to always know where their teammates were. Today, it seemed like all of that had disappeared. Instead, we looked lost and confused in the middle and were only able to make predictable plays down the wings, plays that Panthrakikos were able to defend with more and more ease as the game progressed. I know its still early but I have not been terribly impressed with how we’ve been playing under Poyet. Maybe he still needs time to work out how to use the players he has, and I have no problem giving him some time, but we really need to start playing better, and soon. I don’t say this for my sake alone so that I can enjoy how we play more, but for the fact we will have a really hard time scoring if we continue to play in such a dull and predictable way.
Offensively, I’m not quite sure what to say, partly because I was never quite sure who was playing offense today. Aravidis was hardly present at times and dropped back into the midfield while Buonnanotte would often be the one playing in the box. Other times, it would seem as though no one player wanted to venture too far forward. I can’t help but get the feeling that Poyet is still working on positions and that neither he nor the players really know what his plan is.
Highlights for the match can be found here: http://aek365.novasports.gr
Time for some basketball updates now. There have been two games since my last post regarding the basketball team, and both were fantastic wins for us. The first was our 78-82 away win against Krazny. The win was our fourth in a row for the Eurocup, putting us in second place in our group with 4 wins and 2 losses. We are now in a great position to challenge for first in the group, or at least secure our place in the next round, with a win against Galatasaray on Wednesday. Galatasaray currently have 5 wins and 1 loss so a win for us would even the record and almost guarantee we progress to the next stage.
To make this week even better for our basketball team, we won our seventh league game in a row on saturday, a very convincing 54-78 away win against Kifissia. This win means we continue our perfect record for this season and gives us a good chance of cementing our place in the top three if we win at home against Aris this weekend.
On top of the two great wins for us, the week got even better when we announced the singing of DJ Cooper. Cooper, along with Mavrokefalidis, has been one of the best players in the Eurocup this season and already has experience in Greece. He has had a phenomenal season and the fact that we’ll have both him and Mavrokefalidis on the team is huge. They are two of the best scorers in the Eurocup this season and his addition to the team will certainly help us against the bigger teams in the league.