Archive for December, 2015

Larissa 0-5 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Football League, Greek Cup, Greek Football, Greek Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2015 by alexaek

Three wins in three games, twelve goals scored and none conceeded, and just like that we finish the first round of the cup in first place in our group.

I did not expect the first round to be the easy, especially not after our first game ending with a rather unimpressive 1-0 score, but whether it came down to good playing from us, weak opposition, or a bit of both, we certainly took advantage of the easier games to show what we’re capable of. Something worth noting about this particular game is the fact that the last time we beat Larissa by an impressive score in their own home was a 0-4 win in the 2010 Cup. Of course, we went on to win the Cup that season so I’m hoping yesterday’s match is a good sign for us.

Its nice when we not only score so many goals, but when all the goals are very well taken. Mantalos’ chip and Djebbour’s shot with his back towards the net were both very well played, but the player who really showed his class was Buonnanotte. Its certainly nice to see goals like that again, bringing back memories of when we had Scocco doing similar thing to opposition defense’s. Whether we’re going to see more of this in the coming games I can’t say, but the signs are definitely there and I look forward to seeing what else he can do.

Poyet gave some bench players a run for this game and while they did not have too much to worry about from Larissa, its nice to see they handled the game pretty well. Tzanetopoulos, Anestis, Bakakis, and Soiledis all started the game and I think its safe to say that they’ve given Poyet a reason to give them another chance. I also appreciate Poyet giving our Greek players some solid playing time. I was worried at first that they wouldn’t be a part of his plans, but the fact that six out of the starting eleven were Greek is reassuring to see.

Highlights are well worth the watch, not only for the goals that we score, but those that we missed. Djebbour had a great chance but his well taken header was just saved. Vargas also missed an incredible opportunity, but he did well to score later in the game and make up for the miss.

Panionios 1-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Players, Greek Super League, Superleague with tags , on December 13, 2015 by alexaek

Not the result we needed if we wanted to secure our spot in second place for another week, especially not with PAO getting a 2-0 win against Tripolis.

I wasn’t able to watch the game unfortunately since I was stuck writing an exam, but from what I’ve read, it seems like we could have ended up with a different result than what we got. Of course I don’t like to blame our results on the referees, but the officiating at yesterday’s game was pretty terrible (surprised? I’m not). Among his two worst mistakes from what I could see watching the highlights were his decision not to call a penalty when Johansson was tripped in the box, and disallowing our goal towards the end. Now, the second call, regarding our disallowed goal, I could perhaps very slightly understand it. Watching the replay, I’m convinced there was no actual shoving on the Panionios player, but Lambropoulos did have his hands out as if he was pushing on the Panionios defender’s back. It seemed like a clear dive from what I’ve seen but I suppose its possible that the ref saw some contact there.

The first call though, not awarding a penalty to us when Johansson was clearly tripped in the box, is a joke. There are three instances from the one defender when the ref could have called a penalty, and he was about five meters from the play at any given time. I cannot understand how there was no contact seen from the ref on the play, it just doesn’t make sense. As our players and staff said, that play was pretty big. He awards the penalty, we score, its a different game.

I haven’t been able to see the play where Arzo got his first yellow card, I’ve read that it was also a poor call, but as I haven’t actually seen it myself, I can’t really comment. His tackle for his second yellow though was the right call to the ref’s credit though. I don’t know why Arzo, having already received a yellow, would go in and make a challenge like that. Not only was it reckless, but it could have easily been avoided. I was quite happy with Arzo’s performance last game (though we were playing a far weaker team), but he seemed terrible yesterday. Not only was his tackle for his red card reckless and uncalled for, but he also should have done much better on the play where Panionios scored. Clearly his choices lately have not been the best since he really should have stuck with the attacker and forced him away from the box rather than going in for a pointless challenge so early and letting the attacker get away from him so easily. I remember a few weeks ago, Arzo made some comment sort of suggesting that he was almost too good for the team, but he certainly not making a good impression with his performance from yesterday.

Something else worth pointing out was Djebbour’s reaction after he got subbed off. I’m not surprised he acted like that, its Djebbour afterall, but there is no excuse for that. None at all, and I hope management have a word with him (not that I expect it to accomplish much). That’s not the kind of attitude we need, especially not when the team is already under enough pressure.

Highlights: http://aek365.novasports.gr

As I mentioned above, PAO won today which means they are now second with 28 points, one more point than us. Both PAO and AEK have relatively easy games next week, the last games before the Christmas break, but its possible either team could drop some points. Panthrakikos, PAO’s opposition next week, have had some decent performances lately (narrow 3-4 loss to Oly, 0-0 draw away against Iraklis, and a 2-1 away win against Atromitos), so its definitely possible they could sneak away with a point from the game. Levadeiakos, our opponents next week, have also had some decent games with a 1-0 win against Xanthi and 1-0 away against PAS, so I don’t anticipate that being a particularly easy match either.

AEK 3-0 Kalloni

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball, Dellas, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2015 by alexaek

A great performance from the team and a convincing scoreline were more than enough to ensure that we have comfortably taken control of second place. Yesterday’s win, courtesy of goals by Djebbour and Aravidis, means we now have 26 points after 13 games. The three teams closest to us (Panionios, PAOK, and Panathinaikos) each have 22 points, a win for us against Panionios next week will really help take the pressure off, if only slightly.

There is only so much we can take away from our past three wins considering they have all been against teams in the bottom four, but our performances have really been showing a lot of promise lately. Its hard to pinpoint the reasons for our improvement, but I really do think a lot of it has to come down to the fact that Poyet seems to have got his tactics sorted out rather well. We lined up with a 4-3-3 over the weekend, and there were definitely some advantages to this. Firstly is the fact that our backs seem to be having a much better time making dangerous runs down the wings due to the fact they aren’t being so congested anymore by midfielders. Both Didac and Galo were constant threats down the wings and they were both able to consistently make good deliveries into the box.

The new tactics also seem to be benefiting our team as a whole as we were able to take control of the game very easily. With more players moving forward and fewer tying up the middle of the pitch, it meant that the players who were in the middle, specifically Simoes and Johansson, were able to find more space and time on the ball and were able to hold onto the ball until the right moment without feeling the need to constantly pass to the player nearest to them.

Also worth noting is Johansson and how he seems to be fitting into Poyet’s style. He was always a great midfielder when Dellas in charge, but he seems to be really shining with Poyet now. His defensive duties are just as important as always, but the way he has been moving the ball forward, often on his own, has been a really great sight to see. I always knew he was a solid defensive midfielder and had a good eye for the right pass, but we never really had the chance to see how he could make such good runs and position himself so well in attacking plays. His playing has really helped bring the team to a new level and its getting to the point now where he is contributing more offensively than players like Buonnanote.

Something else that has been talked about quite a bit lately is how the new formation seems to really be suiting Aravidis’ style of play. There was never any doubt that he was a great striker, but he was struggling to get it done all on his own up front. Now that he has been partnered with Djebbour however, we’re starting to really see what he has to offer. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but Djebbour and Aravidis both seem to be linking up together very well. They don’t seem to get in each other’s way, they’re good at supporting each other when needed, and they’re getting the job done. If Djebbour manages to stay healthy from now on (though I don’t expect that to happen), I think we can expect a lot of goals from both of them.

Poyet’s real big test comes next week when we play Panionios in Nea Smyrni. It won’t be an easy match considering Panionios are in form, but I’m probably more confident than I have been all season going into an important match. I really appreciated Dellas for all he did for the team, but I have to admit, I really like what Poyet is doing with the team. Sure, we’ve only played weaker teams lately, but the fact that we got by very comfortably against Kalloni and Panelefsiniakos shows that something is working, something is finally clicking with the team.

If only we could see the same for our basket team. They gave it a decent effort over the weekend against Olympiakos, but ultimately it wasn’t enough. The final score (79-71) was fairly respectable and I honestly believe that with a few chances, whether that be a new coach or one or two more players, we can take Olympiakos next round in front of our own supporters. We have a solid team this year for sure, but there seems to be some psychological factor thats been affecting us. The way we can go on such promising winning streaks and then slump to four losses in a row highlights the fact that something still isn’t right. I didn’t believe it at first, but I’m starting to think we’re in need of a new coach as many have been saying all season. Like Dellas, Sakota has done so much for the team which I’ll always appreciate, but maybe someone new in charge will be the change we need.

Highlights (football): http://aek365.novasports.gr

Highlights (basketball): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ztjxxao0Hng

AEK 6-0 Panelefsiniakos

Posted in AEK, AEK Players, Greek Cup, Greek Football, Greek Soccer with tags , , on December 2, 2015 by alexaek

Third game in a row with a goal scored by Johansson, second win in a row for Poyet, and qualification for the next round of the Cup… All in all a pretty decent day for the team. Sure, we didn’t have the toughest opposition today, but to come out and get the convincing win the way we did shows that there’s perhaps some glimpses of the AEK we want to see lurking around.

Poyet decided to use this game to try out some different players and ideas, and it seems to have paid off. The first noticeable change was that Anestis got the start in nets. Hard to say whether he did a particularly good job since he had very few shots on net by Elefsiniakos, but I feel that the fact that Poyet gave him the chance shows that he sees something in the keeper. To be honest, I’m glad to see this since I’ve always felt that he was actually a pretty good keeper when he wasn’t making the needless mistakes that he often made.

The most noticeable change from Poyet was probably formation since we actually saw three attackers up front today. Djebbour played centre forward with Aravidis and Platellas on his left, and it seemed to have helped our attack quite noticeably. I didn’t get the chance to watch the game since I was at work but just from watching the highlights its apparent that having the three attacking players helped give us a huge presence in Panelefsiniakos’ box, something that we’ve been missing lately. The real test for Poyet will be how this formation handles stronger opposition, but its definitely a move in the right direction if we want to start scoring consistently.