AEK 4-1 Xanthi

Our Superleague campaign got off to the best possible start today with a convincing 4-1 win over Xanthi. While there may have been a few scares provided by Xanthi and their determined offense, we also saw glimpses of what could be one of the best AEK teams of the past five to ten years.

The MVP of the match award deservedly went to Almeida after he scored two goals, one of which will without a doubt be the goal of the week. It was the perfect start to the season that Almeida would have been hoping for, helping to quiet all those within the press (not to mention the supporters of some of our rivals) who said he was unfit, old, and past his prime. He may not be the youngest striker out there but he showed today exactly why we signed him: a physical presence that allows him to be a threat in the box and to hold the ball up well, as well as being someone who possesses the technique to pull off some amazing goals when the moment presents itself.

While Almeida certainly deserves the credit for today’s performance, it has to be mentioned that we had some other players who also put in some fantastic performances. Patito was a noticeable one, providing excellent speed through the middle and down the flanks. He also played a crucial role in our first two goals, setting up both of them with perfect balls in that placed the goals on a platter for the two scorers (Almeida and Mantalos).

Chygrynskiy also did well, keeping up the good form he had during the pre-season. He was solid at the back but also did very well to carry the ball up the pitch on a couple occasions. He did so well going forward that he could have had a goal himself had his shot not been narrowly saved by Xanthi’s keeper Zivkovic. We were also lucky to have the fantastic keeping of Anestis who, despite once letting a ball slip underneath him, pulled off some fantastic saves to keep AEK in the game.

It has to be said that the rest of the team did well too. There were a couple weaknesses, such as with Lambropoulos covering in central midfield to cover for Simoes (who started on the bench so as not to aggravate a minor injury picked up in training). To be fair to Lambropoulos, its a position he is not too familiar with and he had a fair bit of pressure. All things considered, he didn’t do all too badly.

As fantastic as the performance was today, I can only imagine how much better the team will be once they’ve had a couple more games to gel together. We also have to keep in mind that both Lazaros was out due to injury and Simoes didn’t start the match. With both those players fit and in the starting XI, we’ll have the most well rounded team that we’ve had in as long as I can remember.

Overall its looking like we might be in for the best Superleague season of recent memory. Its still early but AEK, Panathinaikos, and PAOK are all looking strong and I think its safe to see that any of us can challenge Olympiakos for the title. If this keeps up, this championship could go down to the last couple of weeks. How great would it be if all four teams were still in it with a week to go in the championship? I can’t remember that happening for as long as I’ve been following the league.

Highlights, as usual, can be watched at NovaSports site.

I must say that the kits looked great during the match today:

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Our supporters were fantastic as usual:

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