Archive for September, 2011

Xanthi 3-4 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Europa League, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2011 by alexaek

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.

 

 

AEK 1 Ergotelis 0…….

Posted in AEK on September 19, 2011 by aekman74

Aek got this seasons campaign underway,even if a week late,with all 3 points at a crowd less OAKA on Sunday night.A beautiful goal from Grigoris Makos on 31 min,after a great through ball by Belleck,was the only difference after 90 min.
Ergotelis started the stronger and really could have led by 3 goals after 20 min if it wasn’t for an MVP performance by Arambatzis.Shocking defending early on between Manolas and Cala was to blame as time after time the Ergotelis striker woulld easily get between the two of them into great goal scoring positions,an example being an easy headed back pass by Manolas to his goalkeeper landed at his oppenents feet who somehow chipped over the bar when any other kind of finnish would have resulted in a goal.It really was schoolboy errors from both of them and we once again i can’t underplay Arambatzis hand in keeping the score 1 nil at half time.
The 2nd half was much better as we started to play with the ball on the ground instead of the long balls in the 1st half which must have given Gudjonsen a sore neck as he couldn’t get into the game.Karabelas and Gergeas improved on their Thursday night performance,more assured in attack and defense.Makos in the holding role was excellent,ran,tackled everything and was only behind our Goal keeper for man of the match homours.Gentzoglou had a decent game next to him but he has to learn to relax on the ball,still giving it away too easily on occasions.Leonardo started on the left and continued his impressive start to the season.Cutting in,he had a blistering shot which cannoned off the post but it’s his pace and work ethic which i’ve noticed have both increased,playing really well at the moment,our best overall so far.Carlos started on the right but was ineffective today,Ran all day,tried hard,but his touches let him down although he’s still our most creative midfielder with Eidur.Belleck was also huge today.As the lone man up front.he took a beating from their defenders but still managed to hold onto the ball and bring the midfielders into play often and it was his assist which led to the goal.Still young and very raw but I think he has a big future,hopefully it’s with us for a few more years yet.
Liberopoulos came on with 20 min to go and had a calming effect on the team.Burns,whom 3 weeks ago we thought had no future with us,replaced Carlos and looked dangerous,his speed down the flank is an asset Jimenez knows is hard to find.Vargas also came on late and even though he got an elbow to the face,still managed to settle the midfield.
So,all in all,not our best performace,by a long way.However,after that heavy defeat to Anderlecht in mid week,it was all about the 3 points and getting off to a good start.Mission accomplished!

Anderlecht 4-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Europa League, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2011 by alexaek

Yep. Not looking good for us.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much at all from this match. However, after seeing our players give it their all for much of the first half, I almost felt like we had a chance for the three points. But sadly fatigue, and terrible goaltending (if it can even be called that?) meant that any hard work we may have put in during the first half was soon forgotten.

Quite a few points can be taken from the match, the first of our Europa League Group Stage campaign:

1. Our supporters are simply the best. In a stadium of that size, during a financial crisis like the one they’re experiencing right now back in Greece, they still managed to get enough out to Brussells to easily outsing the home fans.

2. Konstantopoulos MUST NOT play for AEK. Ever. Again. I never had a problem with him, seems like a great guy, and might be a decent keeper for a second division side. But he’s terrible. And he easily could have kept us in this game today had he been bothered to try and make some saves.

I really hope this is the last we see of him for a while. There is no reason Arabatzis should be on the bench. I am confident the score would have been even going into half time had he been between the posts.

3. We can’t keep up with teams like these. The pressure we applied during the first half was great, but when you have players like Dellas, Libe, and Eidur all on the same starting XI, there is no way they can last the entire 90 minutes. Beleck should have started in Eidur’s place today with Jose Carlos starting in Libe’s place. As much as I respect both players (Libe more so than Eidur), they do not have what it takes any longer to keep up.

4. We desperately need Makos and Kafes back. Gentz was not good enough today, and failed to gain any control in the midfield. Thankfully Leo and Vargas were able to handle the ball distribution, but Lagos and Gentz could not compete with Anderlect’s midfield. And that was where we ended up losing most of the game.

5. WHAT A GOAL BY LEO! I’ll be forgetting about this game quickly, but our only goal today, scored by Leonardo, was a beauty. One of the best Ive seen all week (and that’s saying something considering the Benfica-Man U game yesterday itself had two beauties scored).

So. Poor start. Terrible start, rather. But what really hurts with this loss is that, with better goalkeeping, the match could have gone in a completely different direction. It was obvious, however, that we’re lacking in quality, simple as that. We’ll see what the other games bring us. Sure, its early. And things could get better… but I dont see it happening.

And to make things worse,  Manolas (our best player today along with Leonardo) picked up a silly and unnecessary red card today. Yep, we’ll be without him and Makos for the next match. Lovely.

And a slightly off topic note, but I was very pleased to finally hear an English speaking commentator on my stream who A) actually knew AEK and B) could actually pronounce the names correctly. Definitely the first time Ive ever heard an English commentator pronounce “Georgeas” correctly.

Hard times

Posted in AEK, Europa League, Greek Football, Greek Soccer on September 13, 2011 by kgbaek

So we play in Brussels against Anderlecht on thursday, our first game in the group stage of the Europa League. A very important game ofcourse, and a chance for retribution after last years Euro League games against the Belgians. But things don’t look very good for us. We didn’t get to play one game in the Superleague, so we lack playing rythm.

Maybe even more important, the AEK-players haven’t been paid for the last six months, due to financial problems. Chairman Adamidis promised tot take care of the payments within ten days. A brave promise, considering that everyone in Europe is waiting for an unavoidable Greek bankruptcy. Big question is what will happen next. To Greece and the Greek and on quite another level: what will happen to AEK and Greek football in general.

Bad news all around. Let’s hope there’ll be some good news too on thursday, a decent win would be nice. I’ll be at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium to see for myself.