Archive for the Greek Super League Category

AEK 3-0 PAOK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, football, Greek Football, Greek Super League, Jimenez, PAOK with tags , , , , , , on March 12, 2017 by alexaek

Araujo OE OE OE

I’ve always had a “fascination” with Argentina. I’ve never been there, but its always been high on my list of places to visit. I have to be honest though and admit that part of the reason I’ve been interested in the country for so many years now though is simply the fact that we’ve some incredible football players from Argentina play for AEK. Thats not to say that every Argentinian we’ve had play for us has been phenomenal. But the thing is, when they’re good, they’re really good. First Scocco, and now Araujo, a player who’s precence on the pitch has elevated the team to a whole new level.

Its not just that he can score, but he also the fact that he makes some great plays and brings so much energy to our attacks. Hes the kind of player that most defenses simply can’t handle, just like Scocco was back in the day. Today was the perfect example of it; when someone like Araujo is in form, hes untouchable.

Now before I go on any further about Araujo, I do have credit to the rest of the team. We played a pretty good game and though PAOK did have a few chances, we were solid overall. Perhaps the only complaint I could have had really about our performance was the fact that we sometimes went large stretches of time without really dictating the pace, but I guess its natural to see some of that urgency ease off when you score so early (as we did today with Araujo opening the scoring just 49 seconds into the game).

Barkas was phenomenal, making a number of key saves to keep us ahead. The same could be said about Glykos as well, as he made some fantastic saves to keep PAOK in the game when the score was still 1-0. Its safe to say that had he not been so sharp today, the score could have been a lot higher, a lot earlier on.

Along with Araujo, our entire offense and midfield was excellent. Simoes and Johansson were constantly pressing and Johansson especially showed so much confidence in some of the balls he played. Mantalos also helped to control the pace of the game while both Ajdarevic and Vargas had some great chances to put us ahead even further.

Something worth noting from this game too was the fact that this was Aravidis’ first match in months. It didn’t take him long to make his presence felt again as he managed to sneak the 3rd goal in just before the end.

Today’s win, aside from resulting in a well earned derby victory, also brought us back into 5th place after our 1-1 draw against Panionios earlier in the week. Things are starting to get interesting too as there are now only 5 points separating 7th and 3rd place. We currently occupy 5th but with a win against PAO in two weeks time, we could see ourselves jumping up to 4th fairly soon.

As has been the case for a while now, we still remain undefeated under Jimenez, 12 games after he took over. Our current goals scored under Jimenez adds up to 29, while we’ve only conceeded 3… Is that even possible? Looking at our results, it seems to be the case, but I have a hard time believing that considering our form before Jimenez returned.

Goals can be watched below. Araujo’s second is stunning, the kind of shot that couldn’t be more perfect. All I can say is that I hope Melissanidis gives Araujo whatever he needs to make him stay, though its safe to say some other teams very well might show some interest.

Its also worth noting that before the game, Original21 organized a large march in Nea Filadelfeia to show some support for our eventual return home to where we belong. Sounded like it was a great time with singing, flares, and banners, but whether it will change anything remains to be seen. All I know is that this mayor is proving to be even more stubborn than I thought. I just hope he realizes that over 90 years of history in Nea Filadelfeia can’t erased with one term as mayor.

Lets hope for many marches like this and that maybe some day we’ll be marching to our stadium once again.

AEK 3-0 Larissa

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Greek Football, Greek Super League, Jimenez with tags , , , , , , on February 27, 2017 by alexaek

How long has it been since we’ve seen an AEK team playing with this much confidence and organization? I know, I might be getting carried away a bit, but its hard not too. We have an AEK team that is finally able to go into every game as favourites again, we have an AEK team that is finding ways to score and most importantly, for the first time in a while we have a team that is getting win after win.

Jimenez first and foremost deserves some credit for finding a way to turn this team around. Our last loss, the 3-2 loss to Panaitolikos, was the last game before Jimenez took control of the team. Since then, we’ve played nine games with three of those games ending as draws and six ending as wins for AEK. What is more impressive though is the fact that in the nine games that Jimenez has been in charge, we’ve scored twenty one goals and conceded only two. How that is even possible considering how poor our form was before Jimenez’s arrival is beyond me, but I’m not going to question what is clearly a working formula.

Yesterday’s game was yet another example of how things seem to finally be looking up for us. We opened the scoring with a header from Pekhart, something which I was especially happy to see since it had been a while since Pekhart scored and I was starting to wonder when he’d find his scoring ways again.

The scoring continued with yet another header, this time from Chygrynskiy. Despite being out for quite a while due to injury, the Ukrainian centre back returned in the best possible way with his goal. It wasn’t only Chygrynkskiy though who was returning to action and finding the net on their first appearance in a while. Almeida, the player who showed so much promise on the first game of the season only to see injuries affect his form drastically also returned to action and found the back of the net. As with the previous two goals scored during the game, Almeida’s was also scored with a header though this time following a beautiful ball in by Ajdarevic and a perfectly timed run by Almeida.

A couple things worth noting:

  • We still haven’t seen Vanjes and Chygrynskiy play together, but I can only imagine how solid our defense will be once their both playing alongside each other. All credit to Lambropoulos and Kolovetsios though for doing what has been needed of them
  • We managed to get yesterday’s result despite having a number of key players in the starting XI. In fact, almost our whole bench featured players who would normally be starters (Barkas, Araujo, Chygrynskiy, Ajdarevic, Simoes, and Almeida). This says a lot about the depth we all knew this team had. It seems as though we can finally really take advantage of it.

 

We’re clearly not in the title race at this stage of the game (though Panionios is causing quite the stir as they are starting to get awfully close to Olympiakos after a historic 1-0 win in Piraeus) but with the form we’ve managed to find lately, I’m at least feeling pretty good about our chances in the playoffs. With our recent wins we now find ourselves two points behind Panathinaikos and four behind PAOK and that can all change depending on how we fare when we play our remaining two derbies. Its never as much fun when you’re playing for 2nd rather than going for the title, but at least we now have a team that we can enjoy watching from now until the rest of the season. Who knows, maybe the playoffs might even be exciting to watch this year.

Highlights of the goals below:

And another behind the scenes video, this time from yesterday’s game against Larissa. I’ve really enjoyed the behind the scenes clips this season:

 

AEK 0-0 Panaitolikos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Greek Super League with tags , on January 4, 2017 by alexaek

Is one goal too much to ask for?

If one were to look at only the statistics today and ignore the score, they might have a rather different impression of the game. After all, you would expect a team with 71% possession and 19 goal attempts (with 11 on target), to manage to score a goal or two.

So what can be going so wrong for us now that we’re at the point where we can create 19 goal attempts but not even get one in the back of the net? To be fair, Panaitolikos played a very stubborn game defensively. They clearly came into this game planning on defending and hoping for a counter attack or two. Every man was behind the ball and their box was crowded, to the point where even getting a shot through all the traffic was nearly impossible.

It also didn’t help that Kyriakidis, Panaitolikos’ keeper, seemed especially determined to not let anything in. Any chance that was within reach was stopped by him and it became more and more evident as the game wore on that it would take something special to beat him.

Still, despite the resilient defending by Panaitolikos and Kyriakidis’ amazing performance in goal, a team like AEK, a team that might one day hope to challenge for the title, should be able to score when they manage to control so much of the game. Having said that, we are clearly not there yet and until we stop signing mediocre players, we’ll be stuck at our current for a while still. Watching today’s game, it was clear that no player was able to rise to the occasions and single handedly make the difference when it was needed. Now, I’m not saying we need to play more individually and less as a team, but we need someone who can make the difference when needed, someone who can spark some life into the game, someone like Scocco (or, at this point, even Rivaldo). Either that or we need a team that is able to play so well together that it gets to the point where they go into almost every match as clear favourites (I’m thinking of teams like our 2007 roster, with players like Sokratis, Dellas, Zikos, Kafes, and Liberopoulos all playing so well as a team).

At this point, we have a team that doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing. We managed to control possession well today and the ball was moving around nicely. There were a few things though which especially frustrated me today. Up front, we had no shape, no plan, nothing. Panaitolikos were fine with sitting men in the box and creating traffic which is understandable. We as a team need to be able to adjust to that but there were no adjustments being made at all. Our attackers were rarely venturing out of their zones and offering support, they rarely made any runs, and they lacked the creativity that was needed to break open the defense.

I was also frustrated by the lack of support after a pass was made. So many times a player would make a pass and then just stand there, as if they did not know where to go next. Obviously we were going to be easy to defend against when play so statically, not providing any moving parts for the Panaitolikos defense to keep track of. It also didn’t help that our plays were so predictable. Most of the time the ball ended up at Galo’s feet as he tried to carry it down the line before sending in a cross or, if the play wasn’t started by him, we would hopefully pass the ball around the edge of the box before letting a shot go which more often than not would be blocked by the wall of bodies created by Panaitolikos. It was frustrating to see the team struggle so desperately to find a way through.

Tough match this weekend

To make matters worse for us, we play away against Tripolis this weekend. If we play like we did today, I can’t see this being an easy game for us, especially since playing in Tripolis is never a walk in the park for any Superleague team. A win is desperately needed at this point because the teams beneath us are quickly catching up. I know its still early but at this point I’m starting to wonder whether we can even hold on to a playoff spot…

Poor Start for Morais

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Atromitos, Basketball, Derby, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , on October 22, 2016 by alexaek

AEK 0-0 Panionios

I guess all things considered, things could have gotten off to an even worse start for Morais… after all, we could have lost. But really, even though it was only his first game in charge the team really should have been able to find a way to score against Panionios.

How It All Unfolded

There were a few uncertain variables going into this game: how we would do without Galo and Patito, how Morais would line up the team, etc… Even so, I wasn’t terribly worried. We’ve been decent at home this season and the Larissa game not too long ago gave me hope that maybe the team has started to find ways of winning regardless of how they play. I hate to say it but really, if we want to have any hope of staying in the title race, results have to come first and then we can focus on playing attractive football.

Well, today, none of that seemed to be the case for the team. Sometimes after a result like today’s, I can at least say that the team played well and deserved more but that just wasn’t the case. The football I saw from the team was rather painful to watch at some points. To be fair to the defense, they did a decent job. Panionios didn’t venture up the pitch too often since they struggled to gain any meaningful possession but when they did, they rarely looked like they would threaten us.

Offensively however, we were lacking in every way. It took a good amount of time before we created any sort of a chance and when we did manage to get some chances, they were few and far between. Mantalos was maybe the only player actually contributing to our attack while Didac was also trying to provide some options down the wing. Aravidis, Platellas, Bakasetas and (I hate to say it) Almeida provided very little  to our attack though Almeida can only be blamed so much since he was hardly getting any balls into the box that he could work with.

So What Needs To Change?

Well, I’m hoping our play will smoothen out a bit as the team spends more time with Morais. They’ve only had four or five days to work with him and I imagine his system is quite different from what they were used to with Ketsbaia so I’m sure time will help a bit. To be honest though, there is only so much he can do. In fact, I have to give him some credit for fielding a decent lineup with the players he had available and though it didn’t exactly pay off, that was hardly his fault.

Who has to be blamed here is our players. There was no creativity going forward at all. Every ball that caused any danger to Panionios was a high ball in and while they could sometimes cause a scare, more than often they would end up comfortably in the keeper’s hands. The team could not come up with anything different, they could not string together any meaningful passes and they sorely lacked composure in front of the net.

From what I see, it seems as though the team needs to take a step back and approach the way they play with a clearer state of mind. Maybe they’re over thinking things, maybe they don’t trust themselves, but they should be able to be more precise offensively than they were today. Patito’s absence today was really felt, but surely we should be able to create something worthwhile without him on the pitch?

I know its still early and I know we didn’t lose the game so maybe it seems like I’m making a bigger deal of today’s result than I should be. But we absolutely need to be winning games like this, and the one against Iraklis where we also drew 0-0 at home. Especially when you take a look at our schedule for the next three games, you start to realize just how much the dropped points here will hurt us: we play PAOK away, followed by Atromitos at home, and Panathinaikos away. To be completely honest, aside from the Atromitos game I don’t see us picking up many points, if any at all, at the two away derbies. Before the season started I felt differently about these games but seeing how we’ve been playing lately, I’ll be very surprised if manage to even sneak a draw at those games.

At Least We Fared Better in Basketball

Earlier in the day our basketball club played an away game (which again felt like a home game due the wonderful presence of our supporters) against Kymis, a game which we never looked like losing from the first minute. It was a great game both defensively and offensively, and what excites me most of all is the fact that we finally seem to have a team that can score some three pointers. Too many times last season we would throw a game away by missing so many three pointers, but it seems like that might not be the case the season.

The win puts us at three for three in the league. For highlights of both the basketball and football game, check out Novasport’s page here: http://aek365.novasports.grl

Olympiakos 3-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Dellas, Greek Football, Greek Super League with tags , , , , on October 2, 2016 by alexaek

So, that was painful. Not really able to write out a longer post at the moment, but if you would like to see some of the painful highlights, you can see them at the link below  (scroll through the videos to see the different goals. I’ll try to post a full highlight video when I find one afterwards.

http://www.novasports.gr/match-center/match-center-agonas/match/1282/olumpiakos-aek/#.V_G1qjRrge0

Just a few brief points about the game:

-This game could have been won by us. Olympiakos deserved the win, but we simply didn’t show up to play. Had we came with a different mentality and game plan, we would have seen a completely different result.

-Ketsbaia lost this game for us from the first minute with his choice of playing Lambropoulos in Simoes’ place (again). I know its not Lambropoulos’ fault, midfield just really isn’t his position. Dellas tried it before and it failed terribly, and now Ketsbaia seems fixed on the idea as well. He simply doesn’t have what it takes at the moment to exert any sort of influence in the middle of the pitch, especially not in a match of this caliber.

-We were far too passive defensively and going forward. There was no attempt to get in Olympiakos’ way, no idea of how to stop them and break up their play, and no idea of how to get our own plays going.

-For once in quite a while, we can at least finally say that we alone lost a game, rather than any influence from the refs or other factors. Like our derby in Karaiskaki last year, its an eye opening match that shows we still are nowhere near the level we seem to think we are at. Olympiakos lost to Larissa last week, and APOEL (at home) earlier this week, why the team wouldn’t be able to give Olympiakos a run for their money today is beyond me.

 

Anyways, thats all from me for now. Going from potentially being alone in 1st last week to now being 5th behind Panionios and Platanias isn’t really where I expected us to be at this point this season, but its still early. I’m curious to see how we rebound from this next game in two week’s time. Won’t be easy as we’re playing Larissa away, but it will be a good test at least to see if we’ve managed to change some things from our performances against Iraklis and Olympiakos.

AEK 0-0 Iraklis

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Derby, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2016 by alexaek

A massive opportunity for AEK to make a statement was wasted earlier today when we failed to even sneak a win past Iraklis. Why was one game such an opportunity? Well if you haven’t seen the other results from the league yet, something pretty spectacular happened this weekend. It started when PAOK’s home game with Xanthi ending in a 0-0 draw before PAO saw a similar fate after their game against Panaitolikos also ended 0-0. Then, even more surprising than both those results, Olympiakos lost 1-0 in Larissa. Could the situation have become any better for us? We had the perfect chance to go alone in first place, all we had to do was beat Iraklis at home.

Ah but this is AEK we’re talking about, the team that has made a habit of making the easy tasks difficult. To be fair the absence of Mantalos and Almeida really hurt us, but to not even manage a goal when we needed one so badly really doesn’t sit well with me. Its still very early in the season and we’re still ahead of both PAOK and Olympiakos, but I really felt going into this season that we had a team that wouldn’t drop points in games like these. Don’t get me wrong, Iraklis is never a team that can be taken lightly, but we should be winning these games, especially when they matter so much. With the derby in Karaiskaki coming up this weekend, the three points from today would have helped us immensely. I know its asking a lot, but can you imagine if we won today and managed to sneak a win in Karaiskaki also, causing the reds to drop six points in two games? That would have felt pretty good if you ask me.

As for today’s game, I didn’t get to watch it since I was at work. It seemed to have followed a similar pattern to what I expected though: AEK controlling most of the game, creating some decent chances but not being able to put anything in the back of the net, with an Iraklis who was happy to sit back and take the occasional counter attack. It was an unfortunate result, but it gives Ketsbaia some food for thought. First of all, it sounds like Pekhart showed exactly why he isn’t considered a starter on the team. It also shows that somethings needs to be re-worked if we are to be more effective in front of goal. I know we really missed Mantalos and Almeida, but we should have some composure and creativity in and around the 18 yard box than we seemed to have today. The way Vargas and Bakasetas were linking up today at the front of our midfield just wasn’t working and its definitely a part of the pitch Ketsbaia will have to work out if Mantalos isn’t back in time for the derby this weekend.

An unfortunate result and a disappointing performance, but its still early. If anything this weekend showed that this seasons might at least be a little less predictable than usual. Olympiakos are clearly beatable with the right game plan (promising for us this weekend) and the other two still aren’t at their best yet either. Could it be close all the way to the end of the league? I certainly wouldn’t mind that for a change.

Highlights can be seen at Novasport’s site.

AEK 4-1 Xanthi

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Jerseys, Keepers with tags , , , , on September 11, 2016 by alexaek

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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