Archive for the Singings Category

Pre-Season Friendlies Have Begun

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Friendlies, Singings with tags , , , , , on July 9, 2017 by alexaek

Its that time of year again, where we start to get a first look at how the team might line up this season. Of course, theres only so much we can gather from these games as the experimental lineups and lower pace don’t provide an accurate representation of how we’ll play when the season properly starts, but it gives us a good look at some of our recent signings and what we can expect of them.

Our first friendly was yesterday, a game against Karpaty Lviv which ended in a 1-1 draw. Giakoumakis was the goal scorer for us in this game and from most accounts it sounds like he got off to a promising start. I’m expecting pretty good things from him this season seeing as he looked quite promising this past season. We’ve seen players in his situation before, arriving at the team with high expectations only to ultimately let us down, but the talent is definitely there with Giakoumakis.

 

Our second friendly which took place earlier today was against a familiar opponent: Korona Kielce. We played them in a friendly last summer as well, a game which AEK won by a score of 2-0. Our result was less impressive today with us winning 1-0, but again there was apparently some impressive play from a lot of our players. Klonaridis scored a wonderful goal and has definitely provided us with reason to be excited for this season. He also looked good this past season and I have a feeling we could see some good play up front with Mantalos, Giakoumakis, and Klonaridis linking up well. I’m not yet sure if Klonaridis and Giakoumakis will be playing similar roles but if theres a way to have them both playing, we could definitely be in good shape offensively.

 

There have also been some singings since my last post, the three most notable being Marko Livaja, Uros Cosic, and Arnor Traustason. Agonasport have a nice writeup on the three players here. Traustason definitely sounds extremely promising, but Cosic also has some solid experience for someone on the younger side.

 

 

Xanthi 0-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Football, Jimenez, Singings with tags , , , on January 29, 2017 by alexaek

Tough game against tough opposition..

Playing Xanthi, a team who currently sits third in the league, is never easy. It becomes even tougher when your team goes down a player just a few minutes in as was the case with AEK over the weekend. Only six minutes were played in the game when Galo was sent off for taking down a Xanthi player as he was in on goal. It was a tough blow to us, but the ref’s decision was the right one to make, in my opinion.

We never quite managed to recover from the setback, and it didn’t help that Jimenez had to make a change shortly after the sending off in order to get another defender on, but it sounds like the team did well to hold on to the draw after playing pretty much the entire match with ten players. Normally I would be disappointed with the draw since we’ve had so many this season, but at least it meant  we managed to keep Xanthi from drawing even further away from us.

Judging from the player ratings on AEK365’s site, it seems like we defended well, but it also helps that Barkas was having another great game. On more than one occasion did he make some huge saves to keep us in the game, thankfully so since Xanthi seemed to have the better chances.

 

Sergio Araujo signs for AEK

We managed to make an important signing this past week after adding Argentinian striker Sergio Araujo to the team. Its only until the end of the season, but there is an option for us to keep him for another season if I read correctly. He sounds like a pretty promising player and at 25 years old, I’d like to think his best years are yet to come.

 

 

 

End of August Signings and Friendlies

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Atromitos, football, Friendlies, Singings with tags , , , , , on August 28, 2016 by alexaek

Its been a few weeks since my last post and while the league has yet to start (who knows when it will), there has still been plenty going on with the team. I’ll start off with three friendlies we had not too long ago: 0-0 with Atromitos, 1-2 away win against Aris, and a surprised 1-3 home loss to Apollon.

Mantalos had a fantastic game against Aris, scoring both goals including a fantastic overhead shot:

 

Our 1-3 loss to Apollon came as quite a shock but I’d rather we have this kind of shock from a friendly rather during the league. I didn’t get to watch the game but it sounds like it was evident that we still have some big gaps, at least as far as second string players are concerned. Ketsbaia seemed to use this match to give some of the bench players a go and some of them didn’t quite in the performance we would have hoped for. If theres one good thing to take from the match though, its the fact that Patito has quite the shot (see one minute in for his beautiful goal):

We’ve also been busy off the pitch these past few days with some signings. The first was the signing of Greek national team midfielder Lazaros Christodoulopoulos. Not a big name signing by any means, but its a good move from the team as far as I’m concerned. He still has a few good years ahead of him, he’s shown himself to be a reliable and consistent player, and hes Greek. A very solid move to help boost our midfield and provide us with more options.

At the same time as our signing of Christodoulopoulos, we began to show interest in English centre back Joleon Lescott. He might be getting a bit old at 34 years, and he hasn’t had the best seasons of his career lately, but hes an experienced player and a left footed centre back, the type of player Ketsbaia has been wanting for a while now. Whether hes been in good form or not, a centre back with the EPL experience that Lescott has should have no problem handling most players in the Superleague and while I was hoping for someone a bit younger, I think he’ll definitely be a good option for us. We already have a fairly strong defense so far and with Lescott it can only get stronger.

He hasn’t officially signed yet, but as I’m writing this he should be in a plane on his way to Athens. He’ll still have to go through a medical exam but but it seems like things are very close to being finalised. Its worth noting that Italian side Pescara were also keen on signing Lescott, but AEK managed to boost their offer even further to persuade Lescott to chose us over newly promoted Pescara. Hopefully he becomes a signing we can look back on with satisfaction rather than becoming another one of the many “bams” we sign who ultimately do very little to help the team.

Patito Rodriguez Signs for AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Singings with tags , , on July 24, 2016 by alexaek

We made a sign earlier this week, scooping up talented Argentinian forward Patito Rodriguez. He’s 26 which is a pretty decent age plus he’s add some big team experience in South America, playing for teams such as Santos and Independiente. He may not be the biggest name, but neither were players like Scocco and Blanco before we signed them. He hasn’t really had much time yet with the team so I’m not sure if he’ll be ready for the games against Saint Etienne (same goes for Almeida) but I’m hoping he can find some form with us. If he does manage to find some form wearing AEK’s shirt, we could potentially have another Scocco-like player wreaking havoc among other Greek teams.

On the other hand, we could have another player like Buonanotte, someone who clearly has plenty of skill but struggles to find his place in the team. Hes another risky player but one who could certainly pay off.

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Picture from AEK365.com

AEK Sign Hugo Almeida

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Singings with tags , on July 18, 2016 by alexaek

AEK have made a pretty big statement (and taken a big risk) with their seemingly out of the blue signing of Hugo Almeida. We’ve shown interest in him in the past, but I woke up this morning to find that not only we’re we showing interest in the Portuguese forward, but that he was actually already in Athens.

He wasn’t exactly cheap for us. I believe something like 1 million euros for two years, which is a fair amount of money to be spending on a 32 year old player. Considering his age, and the fact that he hasn’t been in the greatest form lately, the move is definitely a risk but to be honest, I’m glad to at least see us taking a risk and going out on a limb. I know more often than not these types of signings do little more than attract a few more season tickets, but every now and then they make the kind of impact we all hope for.

Its far too early to tell what kind of impact he’ll have, but we definitely need more presence up front and someone who knows how to finish so if Almeida can find some form with us, the impact he could have on the team could potentially be huge. I was happy to see him get straight into training after signing today, especially if it means we get the chance to see him in action in our friendly this wednesday (against Aris Limassol).

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Maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll see him score a goal like this against Olympiakos:

Panionios 1-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Soccer, Manager, Playoffs, Pre-season, Signing, Singings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2016 by alexaek

A disappointing end to what has been a very disappointing bunch of playoff games for AEK. I knew going into it all that we’d be pretty tired and worn out, but I was hoping for better than 4th place but what can you do? Honestly I can’t complain, I’d rather see us win the Cup and finish 4th rather than finish 2nd but not win the Cup.

I didn’t get to watch the match but it didn’t sound like I missed all that much anyways. We did have a few chances, notably yet another post by Aravidis, but the commentary I was following gave me the impression that it was Panionios who were having more success going forward.

Despite the unfortunate result, it was nice to see Zuculini in the starting XI. I know he had mentioned a few times that he wanted to play for the team again and it was great to see him get a chance. Not sure if theres any chance he’ll be with us next season but I think its worth considering our options if we can keep him. We didn’t get to see all that much from him so I would like to see what he could after a whole pre-season with the team.

Aside from Zuculini, we also brought some other players with us who have yet to feature all that much for us this season including Vouras, Svarnas, Vasilantonopoulos, Vlahomitros, Galanopoulos, and Kyriazis. To be honest I don’t remember seeing all that much at all of any of these players aside from Svarnas and Vasilantonopoulos, but it was nice to see them included. Only Galanopoulos, Vasilantonopoulos and Vlahomitros ended up playing as subs and I’m not really sure how well they played or what contributions they made to the team.

 

Today’s match was the last time we’d see Nikos Pantazis on the bench with the team. Niko, who has been part of AEK’s physiotherapy team since 1972, has been arguably the most loyal member of the team through all these years. He grew up as an AEK fan and never once left the team. When I was back in Greece he was one of those people I always just associated with AEK. Players left, coaches left as often as management did, but Niko was always there. I just wanted to take a moment to thank him for his dedication to the club, even through all that the team has been through. It will be weird seeing shots of the team bench on TV without him on it.

Nikos celebrating the club (photo courtesy of http://www.gazzetta.gr)

 

Shortly after our game today, various news outlets started posting articles in which they said we were very close to singing a new manager. The manager they all mention is Philippe Montanier, most recently the manager of Rennes. He has also managed Real Sociedad and was assistant manager to the Ivory Coast. He’s not too old, but not too young that he lacks experience, and he seems like a fairly serious manager. I don’t all that much about him and while there were other managers out there I would have liked to see with the team, I’d be pretty satisfied if we ended up singing Montanier. Regardless of who do end up singing, I would just like to see it finalized as soon as possible so we can start building our squad right away.

Buonanotte Signs for AEK

Posted in AEK, Friendlies, Singings with tags , , , , on August 15, 2015 by alexaek

Diego Buonanotte has officially signed for AEK, after being greeted by about one or two hundred AEK supporters at the airport. He arrived in Athens at about 8:45 PM Athens time and signed his contract (two years until 2017) this morning.

To see video of the reception as seen from inside the car Diego was driving in, see the bottom of this link. He wanted to play in our friendly with Inter tomorrow but he was able to actually practise with the team today which was great to see. Its unfortunate that he wont be able to get any match experience with us before our first league game, but I’m not too worried. I think he’ll be able to fit in quite nicely with the rest of the team.

Our friendly tomorrow with Inter will be at 8:00 PM Greek time and I’m not yet sure if there will be a stream for it. I’m pretty sure there will be though, and I finish work tomorrow just when the game is about to start. If I find a stream when I get home, I’ll be sure to post it as soon as possible.