Archive for March, 2010

AEK 1-1 Panionios

Posted in AEK with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2010 by alexaek

Well, obviously not a favorable result for us yesterday. Sure, we aren’t exactly desperate for points right now (though they would help since Aris is only three behind us) but it’s still painful to see us drop two points at home to this Panionios team.

To be honest, this wasn’t our worst performance yet. We were all over Panionios for the first ten minutes and we had numerous chances throughout the match to put the ball in the net.

Arabatzis started this one and he did a fairly good job. He can’t really be blamed for the first goal, few keepers would have done anything there.

Jahic played right back since Araujo was out and he did a decent job. He certainly wasn’t the weakest link in our defense yesterday, that honor would have to go to Majstorovic. The Swede was sloppy throughout. I don’t know what it was, perhaps he was feeling a little too comfortable since the team had finally seen some good form, but he was slacking off far too much. Fortunately, Manolas was considerably tighter and more secure (he got the MVP award once again) and for the third game in a row the rookie showed what he is capable of. Honestly, I think Majstorovic should start following Manolas’ example and not the other way around.

Karabelas played left back and did a fairly good job at it. He was clearly giving it 100% out there (the same could not be said about other players) and marked well at times, but he had some trouble defending 1-on-1’s.

Our defense overall was very weak when it came to defending the counter attacks. We were caught off guard plenty of times and were rarely organized enough to halt Panionios’ attack. Hopefully this will be addressed though to be honest this hadn’t been our problem in a while as far as I can tell.

Our midfield was weak. Aside from Gentsoglou (who started off weak but eventually managed to pick things up a bit) we weren’t doing anything. Leonardo had a poor game and he gave away far too many balls. Kafes tried as far as I can tell but didn’t too much. However, there is only so much he can do when the others around him aren’t doing what they should be doing.

Scocco…. he was USELESS. Totally useless. I want him sitting on the bench until the season is over. Manduca could easily take his place, at least he has been contributing to the team whenever he plays. Either way I’m getting very tired of Scocco’s four year old mentality. He sits around the entire match, gives a couple of useless passes, doesn’t even bother trying to get the target on his free kicks, and yet still wants to move to a bigger club. Sure, he scored our only goal for us late in the match, but we would have been better off without him in the first place.

Djebbour and Blanco deserve some credit. They both had some great chances and both were clearly trying out there. I’m not going to be too critical of Blanco. He could have scored, but didn’t, however other than that he didn’t do too much wrong out there.

Djebbour also came close to scoring but he holds on to the ball far too much. Instead of shooting when he gets the chance or passing when he has nowhere to go he simply tries to dribble around as many defenders as possible. Of course, this may work occasionally such as at the Iraklis game or with PAOK but it’s not the way he should be doing things. Blanco is finally having some good form lately. PASS IT TO HIM. Or take a shot! Very simple things, yet he still chooses to go about things the hard way.

Nemeth, Roger, and Hersi were our subs. I didn’t see Hersi contribute too much but he didn’t have too much time to make an impact. Roger had a nice shot which if I remember correctly rebounded out for a corner. Nonetheless, this was Roger’s first game in a couple of months if I’m correct (he had a serious blood infection, or something along those lines) but it was still good to see him back. He is a player capable of good things so hopefully we’ll see more of him now.

Nemeth was fighting out there. He was going for as many goals as possible and there was no doubting that. I really feel the Bajevic should introduce him at half time at our next match (though he may be trying to rest him for the playoffs) but he made a considerable difference when he came on.

Ok, time for some rumours. Obviously, Scocco wants to leave this summer. IF he can bring in five million euros or more I will be more than happy to see him go (yes, I appreciate all that he did for us these past two seasons but clearly is no longer for us unless he matures a bit). Now, assuming he brings in a large sum of money many papers both here and in the UK are reporting that we have been talking with Brazilian star Geovanni (currently playing for Hull). Hull are near relegation and have told their players that if they are relegated they will have to accept significant cuts in their paychecks. Assuming we get the money from Scocco’s transfer, I personally wouldn’t mind seeing Geovanni on our team. Sure, he’s almost 30 now, but he has huge talent and can easily be one of the best, if not THE BEST, players in our league. I say he’s easily got one or two more years left in him and he would be an ideal replacement for Scocco.

Now you wanna hear something funny? PAO are offering us 1.2 million plus Petropoulos (woo hoo!) in exchange for Scocco. Are these guys serious?!

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PAOK 0-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2010 by alexaek

So, our excellent form in the second half of the championship continued with only one loss since the December break. Shame we couldn’t have had this form from the start of the season but oh well, maybe next year.

Anyways, a great win away in a stadium which has only seen one loss (for the home side) before yesterday’s game this entire season. Blanco, who has scored in the past four AEK matches in Toumba, scored the only goal in the match.

By the way, before I go on to the match, I would like to point out that of the four teams currently in the playoffs (AEK, PAOK, Aris, and Olympiakos) AEK has won the most points between the four. After two wins against PAOK, a win and a draw against Aris, and a win against Olympiakos we got 13 points. Olympiakos, on the other hand, only have six points (after beating AEK and PAOK away but loosing at home to AEK and PAOK and loosing to Aris away) though they still play Aris at home. A favorable stat for us since the playoffs are just around the corner.

So, back to the game. But before that, some highlights:

So, to win in Toumba is always something big, especially with this year arguably being PAOK’s best season in recent memory. As I said before, only Oly managed to do that this season, and that was with some controversy from the referee.

I’ll give the lineup and in brackets my rating of the player. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section if you have a different opinion. Saja (9), Araujo (7), Manolas (8), Majstorovic (7), Georgeas (was subbed off early), Jahic (6), Kafes (8), Leonardo (7), Scocco (6), Djebbour (8), Blanco (8).

Our substitutes were Karabelas (8) who came on early for Georgeas who got injured, Gentzoglou (8) who came on for Jahic (who received a yellow and will now have to miss two of our final three games), Manduca (8) who came on for Leonardo.

Firstly, Sebastien Saja. The Argentinian, though he had some poor games earlier in the season, made some critical saves to keep us in the game. He was solid on the ball, clearly not the case with Chalkias, and confident, managing to collect most corners with ease.

Araujo held his ground well in my opinion. I don’t think many people will doubt it but this guy is a solid defender. Not much more to say for him.

Manolas played once again and once again did not fail to impress. His headers and clearances were exactly what we needed. He never fooled around, didn’t play any games, simply got the ball out and away from our box any way he could. He also defended well in the box and rarely let his men past him.

Majstorovic was always there when we needed him yesterday and defended well for the most part but I feel his marking was not as good as it should be. Often PAOK players were free to run into the box, runs which should have been halted by Majstorovic. I have a feeling the partnership between Manolas and Majstorovic may need a few more games to be completely solid. After-all, this was the first game they played together.

Georgeas came off early after leg or foot injury (I thought it was a cramp but whatever it was he couldn’t continue playing). He was replaced by Karabelas (the former Aris player was not warmly welcomed by the PAOK fans) who played a good game throughout, one of his best in a while in my opinion.

Our midfield in general was weak at first. Kafes was trying hard, and so was Jahic, but it was not until Gentzoglou and Manduca were introduced that we finally saw some control around the half line. However, when those two came on the difference was a noticeable one. Kafes was given some more freedom since Gentzoglou was covering his position well, so he was able to attack further up and gave some fantastic through balls for Blanco and Djebbour.

Scocco, aside from one left footed shot, contributed nothing to the match. He seemed absolutely uninterested in the match and rarely ran for the ball. I really believe Dusan should sit him out for a match or two until his attitude changes. I realise he wants to leave in the summer. Fine, bring in a good enough offer and your gone. Until then there his little he can do so he better start showing up 100% (even 50% would be better!) at our matches or he might as well not play at all. We would have been much better off starting with Manduca rather than Scocco.

Leonardo had a decent game. The kid is definately showing progress, hopefully he will continue this way.

Blanco and Djebbour really seemed to be into the match yesterday, unlike Scocco. They were both attacking whenever they could and clearly wanted nothing less than a win. Blanco had some great chances, and his finishing his looking better than earlier in the season.

Djebbour absolutely ripped open PAOK’s defense, the best in the league and one of the best in Europe, on a number of occasions. It was good to see him go all out in terms of effort. His attitude has really changed since last season, now all that’s left for him is to turn into a bit more of a team player. He gets the ball, makes space and room for himself, but always tries getting to the net the hard way rather than laying a simple pass to an open man in front of goal.

Our second half performance generally was far better than the first. For a few minutes at a time we had total control of the ball and were laying some nice one touch passes to each other. As was made evident at the Aris match (Aris 2-0 PAOK), PAOK’s defense is useless in these types of situations. I must say they were really nothing special in general. They played a simple game which was certainly effective at times, but their midfield lacked any creativity at all. Their finishing was also extremely poor as they had a number of chances early on to score. However, they were by no means an easy opponent and were probably one of the toughest teams we’ve played all season.

Yet Another Huge Win For AEK!!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players with tags , , , , , , on March 21, 2010 by alexaek

AEK makes it two for two with PAOK this season before we face them another two times in the playoffs. Blanco, who has scored in his last four games in Toumba, scored the only goal of the match after a fantastic display by AEK (especially in the second half).

It’s late here however, and I could use some sleep so I’ll post a proper match report after school tomorrow. Until then, let’s all enjoy this lovely win by our team that proved once again what they are capable of when they play as a team and focus on their goal.

Lucky goal, sure, but doesn’t matter, that’s what Blanco is there for. Let Scocco and Djebbour do the fancy work but Blanco is there to knock those balls in the net when it matters most!

We actually had some FANTASTIC chances to score in the second half but Chalkias made some incredible saves to keep the score low.

Adamidis is now president!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC with tags , , on March 16, 2010 by alexaek

It’s official as of yesterday, Adamidis is now president. And he’s made a bunch of promises and some of these promises include: he will make war with any of AEK’s enemies (right now there are many), he will do all that he can for a stadium in Nea Filadelfia, and others. Of course, these are all just promises, but no action has yet been taken. Sure, it’s still early, but Greece is a place where many promises are made but never fulfilled. If he acts on what he says this will certainly only be good news for the team. But whether anything will be done is something none of us can truly know.

Progress has been made on the training ground and the deal has been agreed upon. As of right now, the rent will be 600,000 euros a year for the two artificial turf fields (this is still considerably less than what we are paying for the terrible pitch at Thrakomakedones). Later on, once a third field is added with stands for fans the rent will be around 700,000 euros a year. After a certain number of years (I believe 17) the modern training center will belong only to AEK. Good news, at least they managed to agree to something. Now, the sooner we get training there the better.

AEK 3-0 Kavala!

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Champions League, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Non-AEK Football/Soccer, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2010 by alexaek

I really have no clue what to say. I mean, before this match, I wasn’t expecting us to come out with anything more than one point. Yet to get the full three points and to do it in such a fantastic way… I’m speechless.

Before I go on I would like to show the lineup for today’s match. In goal was Saja. In front of him was Araujo, MANOLAS, Jahic, Georgeas. Taking care of midfield was Genztoglou, Kafes, and Leonardo. Finally, up front was Blanco, Djebbour, and Scocco. Now, looking at that lineup (aside from goalkeeper and forwards) one may wonder a few things. Manolas had never played an official game for AEK yet he was starting against a team with a deadly counter attack. Gentzoglou was starting from the start, and Jahic was covering center back, a position he hasn’t played as often this year.

Personally, when I heard that lineup being proposed in the papers a few days before the match I was terrified. I knew what Kavala could do (they held Oly to draws twice this year, as well as beating PAO in OAKA), and I thought they were going to have a great time running circles around our defenders. Well, I couldn’t have been more WRONG!

Our defense was organized from the start and never gave Kavala a chance (the difference between this match and the Larissa one last week was huge). Jahic had a flawless game, Georgeas fought hard as always, and Araujo was tight (nothing unexpected there). However, the big surprise in our defense today was the young Kostas Manolas. The nephew of the great Stelios Manolas had big shoes to fill today yet he showed no signs of struggling to do just that. He controlled the ball with expertise while never panicking, he defended superbly, was not afraid to risk it all for the team, and even helped bring the ball up at times. The kid rightfully got the MVP award for his efforts today.

So, no Makos today you may have noticed. Who took his place? Gentzoglou. Was it the right choice? YES!! He brought total control to our midfield, something Makos rarely (actually, never) provides. He got the ball, made it his, controlled it, ran a bit if he had to, and released. No stress, only concentration and some good football. He helped out all over the pitch and the partnership between him and Kafes was great.

Our offense wasn’t “superb”, but they did the job. Sure, our excellent midfield today may have helped things out but we managed to create some fantastic chances (though it did take a while) though Scocco was relatively uninvolved aside from a few runs every now and then. Blanco had a great chance and also scored a good penalty (the way Djebbour should have done against Iraklis), Djebbour managed to get the ball into the box on a couple of occasions, but, at the end of the day the support from the midfield is what made the difference.

Well, it was a much more pleasing Saturday than last week. We now have 45 points and depending on what happens at the Aris-PAOK match tomorrow, our lead over Aris can still remain pretty considerable. Hopefully this happens in order to give us a little breathing space in case we dont come out with full points next week against PAOK.

Earlier today, Adamidis (who should be officially confirmed as president on Monday) went to the hotel to promise the players a bonus of one million euros if they qualify for Champions League. Perhaps this had an impact on them but either way, if we continue to play this style of football the remainder of the season we can expect nothing other than positive results.

Larissa 1-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2010 by alexaek

Well, Saturday came and I was all excited, waiting to watch my team continue it’s undefeated streak. Saturday evening came, I turned my television on and spent the next ninety minutes or so watching the most depressing performance from AEK in recent memory.

Our team looked dreadful. Honestly, the score could easily have been 3-0 or more for Larissa had our post, some luck, and a determined Saja not prevented that from happening. Larissa pressured from kickoff and looked set on getting nothing less than a win from early on. I had hoped things would change a little as the game progresses but that never happened. Larissa dominated throughout the entire match and they weren’t even happy sitting on their 1-0 lead.

Nobody on our team except perhaps Saja seemed interested in playing some decent football that night. Our defense did nothing against the likes of Metin and other attacking players for Larissa. Our midfield was just as useless on the pitch defensively as it was offensively. And our offense? Well, you would have thought they weren’t even there! Blanco was playing midfield/defense again, Scocco had a couple of shots but not one even forced a save from the Larissa keeper and Djebbour was with the ball in a good position on a number of occasions but always found a way to loose possession to the opposition.

Nemeth actually played this game! Came in as a sub (remember, Larissa at home was the last game he played for AEK before Saturday, and he also scored that day) but he really didn’t make a huge impact on the game. You could tell he wanted to score and he tried bringing some life to our forwards but he really didn’t have the ball enough to make any difference.

Saja was the one player who seemed willing to put in an effort after making some critical saves.

Aris drew the same day 1-1 against Kavala. A win on Saturday night would have meant our lead over them would have increased. Instead, it was reduced by one point. Sure, there is still some distance between us but our two next games coming up are Kavala at home and PAOK away. If we play the way we have been the past two games then I dont see us getting away with any more than a point in the next two weeks. Of course, we may be able to turn things around and pull off some decent results against Kavala (even our bext of this season will stand only a small chance against PAOK), but I’m not going to hold my breath.