AEK 2-1 Xanthi

A good Saturday for AEK with wins for both our football and basketball teams (Arkadikos 74-78 AEK).

We played well today, especially offensively. We managed to get most of our attacking players quite involved with Barbosa, Cordero, Mantalos, and Aravidis all constantly playing some sort of a role in our attacks. Its been especially nice to see Cordero back as a starter since he has for two games in a row now been one of our better players. He plays a similar role to Johansson when we’re attacking in the sense that he can hold on to the ball well and pick out the right pass rather than just getting rid of it first chance he gets.

With a little more concentration and organization up front, possibly another striker playing alongside Aravidis from the start, we would have quite possibly ended the game with a much higher score for us. We made chance after chance but we just failed to create the right options inside the box. Personally for today, I would have gone with Aravidis and Djebbour as strikers from the start, and would have kept Vargas on the bench. I know Vargas scored last game (in our 0-1 win against Levadeiakos for the cup), and he did provide the assist for our second goal today, but I just felt like he dissapeared for far too long at a time. There were stretches of time when I would forget he was even playing until I heard the commentator mention his name. Especially considering we had Simoes, Cordero, Barbosa and Mantalos all providing attacking options, I think we would have been alright holding Vargas off until possibly the end as a sub. All I know is that I really feel we could have benefited from having another attacker playing alongside Aravidis.

Defensively today we weren’t too great. Galo and Didac both provided a lot of options down the wings when we were attacking, but our entire back four seemed to be caught off guard on a number of Xanthi’s attacks. Personally, I’m really not too happy with Arzo. He seems slow, especially when facing a quick counter attack, and just generally does not provide the kind of energy we need to be seeing from him. Thankfully, despite our defense not being on their best form, Anestis had a great game in goal. He made one poor clearance which could have resulted in a chance for Xanthi, but otherwise he was pretty solid. He positioned himself well, made good saves both from set plays and live play, and on top of all that he saved a penalty which ultimately allowed us to hold on to the win. He got the MVP award of the game and personally I feel that he deserves it. I know he has constantly made mistake after mistake, but a couple games like this will do wonders as far as helping boost his confidence and giving him the chance to keep the mistakes to a minimum. He’s a good keeper and when he’s not making stupid mistakes, he can be very reliable. He just needs the chance to get a few good games under his belt to prove to himself and the fans that he can be relied on when he needs to be.

Highlights for the game can be seen either here or on youtube for poorer quality. Our second goal by Barbosa was absolutely beautiful.

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