Archive for September, 2015

Veria 1-2 AEK

Posted in AEK, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2015 by alexaek

A very close call for the team today as we managed to sneak away with a 2-1 win at the very last minute. Not the most comfortable way I’d like to see us get the three points, but a win is a win and judging from what I read on AEK365, we played better than in our last game against PAOK.

We went down 1-0 in the first half thanks to Neto’s strike (the same Neto who used to play for Aris… I had no idea he was still playing in Greece), but we were able to tie things up with Buonannote’s rebound goal. Barbosa was the big hero of the match with his nicely placed free kick at the 90th minute.

Aside from the win, I’d have to say that the most important thing we can take away from this game is the fact that Mantalos was able to start and finish an entire game. Considering this was his first start after being out for so many months, it sounds like he played a decent game. Other noteworthy performances were by Barbosa, Buonnanote, and Didac Villa in his first official performance with the team.

We’re currently sitting in 4th place with 10 points, which is okay considering we’ve already had one of our toughest away derbies. Its too bad though that we’ve dropped points at both the PAOK and Xanthi game since theoretically could have been only behind first by one or two points. Instead, we’re currently five points behind Olympiakos.

It seems like Nova’s highlights are actually working for me today:



Posted in AEK, Derby, PAOK, Superleague with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2015 by alexaek

I want to start off this post on a positive. Sure the loss in a derby never sits well with me, and I definitely expected more from the team, but this result is a badly needed wake up call for our team. Do we have some talented players? Absolutely? Do we have a good team? I think so. Is our team ready to be a top three team in this league? I’m afraid not. Yesterday’s loss exposed a lot to the fans, the players, and Dellas and while its unfortunate that it happened against PAOK, I’d rather it happen early in the season against PAOK, rather than later in the season against a team like PAO or Olympiakos.

I didn’t get to watch the game again, but I managed to follow it and the commentary the entire time just kept getting worse and worse. I really can’t say what was to blame the most. Was it the pressure of playing a derby in Toumba, was it a little too much confidence going into the game, was it Dellas’ formation and player choices? Who knows. I personally am not going to place much blame on Dellas. From what I was reading on the commentary, our players were capable of pretty much nothing on the pitch compared to PAOK. We barely won any 50/50 balls, we were sloppy defensively, we couldn’t hold on to possesion, and when we did manage to get the ball we weren’t able to do anything with it going forward.

What scares me a lot is all this sounds a lot like how we were in our 0-0 draw to Xanthi earlier in the season. I certainly hope not. This is not the 2nd or 3rd division anymore. Every sloppy game we play, we will get punished for it.

What I’m struggling to understand from our performance yesterday is how the entire team, aside from Baroja (I shudder when I think about what the final score would have been had we had a different keeper in nets), could all simultaneously have such a bad day. Even Johansson, who is normally such a rock for us in central mid, was doing nothing at all. When the entire team is off there game, I can’t help but feel like there is some overall psychological factor at play here. Sure it was our first real derby, but I can’t really see how that is any excuse. Many of these players here played during our 1-1 against Olympiakos in Karaiskaki, and those who hadn’t would have played derbies in other leagues at some point in their careers.

I can’t imagine over confidence being a factor either since to be honest, the team really has no reason to be overly confident in themeselves. Sure they’ve had a few decent performances against the smaller teams of the league, but they’ve yet to really prove that they have what it takes to be in the top three of the league, let alone the best.

I don’t know, I’m lost for words really. But, like I said above, its a good wakeup call for the team, and I’m sure we’ll rebound from it. I know we have a defense capable of being organized and stopping any attack in this league, I know we have a midfield that can break up plays and start them, and I know we have the attack required to score a few goals. I’m not worried, I’m really not. If we have a few more games like this, maybe I will start to worry a bit. But we’re still a new team, a team that’s still trying to figure things out.

Unfortunately the highlight video on nova’s website doesn’t seem to be working, so I’ll post a video of the goals here from youtube in the meantime:

A couple things worth noting from the video: 1), as the commentator mentioned, before our goal we had only three chances, all of which came from set plays. Shows just how lackluster how offense was. 2), we wore our alternate kits today, and I gotta say they look pretty gorgeous in my opinion. Nike is definitely a keeper as far as I’m concerned. I’d rather they keep things simple but with good colours, the way they seem to be doing so far, compared to the overly complicated and ultimately unconvincing designs Puma gave us a couple seasons.

Something else to note from the game is that Simoes seems to have picked up an injury. Not sure how serious it is yet, though I do know that he missed today’s training session. I’m really hoping its not too bad, losing him would be a pretty big blow to the team.

Cup Group Stage Draw

Posted in AEK, Greek Cup with tags , , , , on September 18, 2015 by alexaek

The draw for the group stages of the Cup took place today and while I’m optimistic about our chances of going through, I have to admit it will be anything but easy. We’ll be playing in the 7th group along with Xanthi, Larissa, and Panelefsiniakos. Obviously our biggest threat here will be Xanthi, but I don’t think any of the games will be particularly easy.

The first game, which will be away against Xanthi, will take place between the 27th and 29th of October. Its a tough match to start, but a win here will do wonders to help guarantee our progression through to the next round.

AEK 3-1 PAS Giannena

Posted in AEK, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2015 by alexaek

Second win in three games for us, enough to sneak us into second place after PAO lost over the weekend. A bit of a rough start to the game as PAS went up 1-0 around the 20th due to a tricky shot that Baroja couldn’t get his hands on to. We managed to pick ourselves up quickly enough though due to some wonderful football from Buonnanote and by time half time came around, we found ourselves in front 2-1.

Aside from the standout performance from Buonannote, the highlight of the match was Mantalos’ return from injury. After almost half a year absence, the return of our “maestro” was a relief to see. We haven’t been really lacking in terms of attacking creativity without him around, but he added a calming element to our attack which we could benefit from, being able to slow things down a bit just until the right moment to create something.

Overall the performance from our team was pretty promising with noteworthy performances from Buonnanote, Simoes, Galo, and Barbosa. Chrisantus on the other hand was a huge letdown yet again. Chance after chance right in front of the net and he can’t finish. I don’t really know what it is, but we’re going to have start looking elsewhere for our attack if this is all we have. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt since he tends to do everything else right, but its always that last touch that he so painfully misses.

Attendance was pretty good, around 25,000. Hopefully a win against PAOK next week will lead to even larger attendance when we return to OAKA to play Atromitos in a few weeks time. Speaking of the PAOK match, I’m feeling quite confident if I may say so myself. As tough a stadium as Toumba is to play in, we never seem to have too hard a time there provided we’re in good form. To add to that, PAOK actually lost 3-1 to PAS Giannena just which is promising to say the least. Not sure if we’ll see Mantalos start the match, but I would personally love to see that.