Archive for Arabatzis

Xanthi 3-4 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Europa League, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2011 by alexaek

Yep, 2 for 2 in the championship already. Who would have thought? Certainly not me (if I read correctly, we had 2 points by this time last season). And really, THESE are the games we must be winning. Take the 07-08 season for example, where easily avoidable home losses to teams like Iraklis and Panionios cost us the championship. Sure, derbies can go either way, but its beating the weaker opponents that counts most to ensuring success in the championship. And we’ve certainly done that so far, against two teams (Ergotelis and Xanthi) who have been known to give us a hard time when they wanted to.

Just by reading the score, two things are obvious. Our offense? Excellent! Our defense? Not so much.

We were brilliant going forward from midfield up. Vargas had a stand out game and is really making a tremendous impression on all of us. He’s technical, knows the game, and, as was evident from the game, can certainly finish.

Guerreiro, who we haven’t seen play in a while, also had a phenomenal game, with two assists. Sure, he is still a slow player, but his vision is excellent, and so were his set pieces (though the wind did help on some occasions). Lets face it, were stuck with him, and are still paying him, we might as well get some game time from him. Im not getting my hopes too high just yet though, this wouldn’t be the first time he impressed only to have a poor performance in the next game. But if he keeps this up, he can definitely be a useful player this season.

Belleck? Impressive once again. Fast, plays well with the team, had a great chance to score, and also got an assist (to add to his other from the Ergotelis game). Fantastic singing for us (Im gonna say he’s the best signing of the season along with Vargas).

Libe, Eidur, overall we were brilliantly going forward. 4 goals away to Xanthi is never easy but they managed it (its always great to see AEK score 4, especially in an away game). Afterall, this is the same Xanthi team that only barely lost to Olympiakos in Karaiskaki the week before. And that was only after they received a red card and had 5 minutes of extra time added to the game (of course Oly went on to score the winning goal in the 4th minute of extra time… convenient isn’t it?). So well done to our attackers.

Unfortunately, our defending was scary at times. It seems there is little communication going on these days, especially with the back four. Manolas had a poor game, and overall we were not effective at defending at all. Let too much slip by, sloppy and poor judgement from our defenders. I’m not sure what its gonna take, but they really must tighten up. The goals we conceeded could have been avoided, and when you’re up by two with so little time left, you really shouldn’t be letting goals in like that. Its worrisome that they managed to let Xanthi back in the game so many times.

Thankfully, Arabatzis played between the posts. Slightly at fault for the first goal, but he saved us a few times, notably on a one on one in the second half. Unfortunately, he had a tough game with the wind up north (Ive never seen wind like that at a football match). On more than one occasion after taking a goal kick, the ball would simply hover in the air and then slowly drift back toward the goal it came from.

SO. 2 for 2. Well done to Manolo for lining us up well finally and making the right subs at the right time. Defending needs work though, and urgently. Still, we’re in a great position so far, and confidence should be high. We’ll need it afterall, as we face PAOK in Toumba this weekend. A win here and things will be looking very good for us.

Oh, and of course, the goals from the match (Vargas’ goal was phenomenal):

 

 

And one final note. Once again, well done to our supporters. Amazing away support yet again (not long after the fantastic support they offered our team in Belgium). Nobody beats AEK supporters.

 

 

Anderlecht 4-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Europa League, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2011 by alexaek

Yep. Not looking good for us.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much at all from this match. However, after seeing our players give it their all for much of the first half, I almost felt like we had a chance for the three points. But sadly fatigue, and terrible goaltending (if it can even be called that?) meant that any hard work we may have put in during the first half was soon forgotten.

Quite a few points can be taken from the match, the first of our Europa League Group Stage campaign:

1. Our supporters are simply the best. In a stadium of that size, during a financial crisis like the one they’re experiencing right now back in Greece, they still managed to get enough out to Brussells to easily outsing the home fans.

2. Konstantopoulos MUST NOT play for AEK. Ever. Again. I never had a problem with him, seems like a great guy, and might be a decent keeper for a second division side. But he’s terrible. And he easily could have kept us in this game today had he been bothered to try and make some saves.

I really hope this is the last we see of him for a while. There is no reason Arabatzis should be on the bench. I am confident the score would have been even going into half time had he been between the posts.

3. We can’t keep up with teams like these. The pressure we applied during the first half was great, but when you have players like Dellas, Libe, and Eidur all on the same starting XI, there is no way they can last the entire 90 minutes. Beleck should have started in Eidur’s place today with Jose Carlos starting in Libe’s place. As much as I respect both players (Libe more so than Eidur), they do not have what it takes any longer to keep up.

4. We desperately need Makos and Kafes back. Gentz was not good enough today, and failed to gain any control in the midfield. Thankfully Leo and Vargas were able to handle the ball distribution, but Lagos and Gentz could not compete with Anderlect’s midfield. And that was where we ended up losing most of the game.

5. WHAT A GOAL BY LEO! I’ll be forgetting about this game quickly, but our only goal today, scored by Leonardo, was a beauty. One of the best Ive seen all week (and that’s saying something considering the Benfica-Man U game yesterday itself had two beauties scored).

So. Poor start. Terrible start, rather. But what really hurts with this loss is that, with better goalkeeping, the match could have gone in a completely different direction. It was obvious, however, that we’re lacking in quality, simple as that. We’ll see what the other games bring us. Sure, its early. And things could get better… but I dont see it happening.

And to make things worse,  Manolas (our best player today along with Leonardo) picked up a silly and unnecessary red card today. Yep, we’ll be without him and Makos for the next match. Lovely.

And a slightly off topic note, but I was very pleased to finally hear an English speaking commentator on my stream who A) actually knew AEK and B) could actually pronounce the names correctly. Definitely the first time Ive ever heard an English commentator pronounce “Georgeas” correctly.

PAOK-AEK Live Updates

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Non-AEK Football/Soccer, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2011 by alexaek

I’ll try to keep some live updates of the match here for those without a way to watch it. From what I know, the three links below will show a stream of the match:

http://aektv.weebly.com/

http://aektv.weebly.com/aektv2.html

http://aektv.weebly.com/aektv1.html

I’ll add more streams if I come across any.

PAO is currently beating Oly Volou 2-0 with about twenty minutes to go. I was hoping PAO would lose this one or it would end up in a draw but our fate is still entirely in our hands (the match has now ended with a 3-0 victory for PAO). Either way, tonight will be a huge game.

Our starting XI for the match includes Saja, Georgeas, Manolas, Dellas, Karabellas, Makos, Michel, Diop, Lagos, Scocco, and Blanco. Arabatzis, Nasuti, Mateos, Roger, Leonardo, Dadomo, and Baha are the substitutes.

Game has started. PAOK came close off a free kick about three minutes in.

PAOK seem to have much more control of the game than they did over the weekend so far (only six minutes in).

Great chance for AEK after a defensive error by PAOK but Scocco couldn’t get a good delivery into the box.

GOOOAL! Scocco! 13th minute!! Long rage free kick, tricky bounce in front of Chalkias.

Saja playing risky at the back so far. I hope he tightens up.

Huge chance for PAOK with a critical save by Saja. And another huge chance for AEK in the 22nd. Blanco is in the mood for scoring it seems, hopefully he’ll keep up his good record in Toumba.

Freekick for PAOK in a very dangerous location. 1-1, 28th minute after Garcia’s freekick finds it way under our wall and into the bottom corner of the net.

Flares on the pitch at the 31st minute so the ref has temporarily paused the match. It seems it will continue again.

Good header from Dellas off of a corner in the 33rd, save from Chalkias.

Penalty for PAOK, and goal. 2-1.

Very close chance for AEK off a Blanco header in the 38th minute, ball wasn’t directed well enough.

We are very shaky at the back so far.

Half time, 2-1 for PAOK. Not nearly good enough from us, far too many mistakes. We’ve still managed to create chances, but we must tighten up for the second half.

Nice shot from Michel after being set up by Blanco, just out.

Close for PAOK after a Vierinha shot rebounded off of Georgeas’ foot.

First substitution of the match, Baha on for Lagos. And now Leonardo on for Blanco. And I must say, the diving by the paok players is really getting quite ridiculous.

Red card for Makos.

Third change, Roger on for Scocco. Can’t say Im too happy about this choice.

Red card for Garcia. Disgusting behaviour from him as usual, but this is the worst Ive seen yet from that animal.

2-1, fulltime.

Up… and then back down again.

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2011 by alexaek

The roller coaster ride that has been AEK this season continues yet again, this time as a result of a 2-1 home loss to Aris (only the 3rd time Aris has beaten us at home).

It wasn’t all bad for me personally as I felt there were some positives to take from the game including some nice football we were playing, particularly in the first half. However, the defence, as well as Jimenez’s decisions, will probably take most of the blame for the loss.

We started with Arabatzis in nets today. I’m not sure if Saja was being given a break but I feel his absence was noticed. However, I dont feel that goalkeeping was the biggest issue considering the defense should have handled both goal scoring situations for Aris better. From individual viewpoints, I felt both Manolas and Mateos did well but our defense overall was far too unorganized and vulnerable at times. Argyriou and Dadomo (though I did feel Dadomo had a few good moments) were both simply not good enough and if you ask me I personally would still like to see Georgeas get more game time

Offensively we weren’t too bad. The ball was being moved around and off the ball movement was smooth and co-ordinated. Both Roger and Mateo impressed me at times however who stood out most on our wings was Burns. His speed was put to good use today and he was looking very strong on the ball… unfortunately, I still can’t say the same for Scocco and it seems I havent been able to say that of him ever since he signed his contract extension.

Blanco looked good when he was up front today as his goal shows however we still lack severely up front without Libe’s presence. In fact, I thing its safe to say that AEK was not the same today without Dellas and Libe on the pitch… they bring character and leadership to the when she plays, something that many of the most talented players can’t even bring to a team.

Papa Bouba, Baja, and Gentz were our substitutes today though I must say that Baja impressed me most. He looked very dangerous and I think if he gets enough game time he become quite a threat.

We managed to take control for much of the match in the first period and we were coming close on a number of occasions such as a missed header by Mateos and a good opportunity for Burns however, something gave me the feeling that if we werent to score quickly Aris would take advantage and that is exactly what they did in the 29th minute.

Blanco managed to get the score even at the 51st minute mark with a nice finish though it was not enough for us and once again, our failing to score saw us punished by Aris who scored in the 75th to put them up 2-1.

You know, the more I watch the video the more I think Arabatzis really could have done better on both goals unfortunately…

Christos Kostis was honored at the match today.

Panionios 1-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2010 by alexaek

You gotta love AEK. The minute a golden opportunity comes around to put us within two points of first place, what do we do? We waste it!

Panionios hasn’t been our luckiest team to play against recently, and today proved to be no different. However, very little, not even luck, could have assisted us today with the way our players played (as was evident considering the fact that Saja saved a penalty). There was no will evident in the majority of the players, no team chemistry, a stupid red which could have easily been avoided by Dadomo… just a poor performance all around.

To be honest, I would have loved to see us beat Panionios, but I had a feeling this would happen. Regardless, the team has proven they can play nice football against tougher opponents, and I’m sure they can bounce back, but there was no excuse for today’s performance.

To make matters worse, both Dellas and Diop picked up injuries.

Our starting lineup had Saja in net (who had a good game, including saving a penalty who’s rebound could have ended up in the net), but a defense which really wasn’t good enough. Argyriou has shown some good things but his performances have been far from flawless (it was his clumsy tackle which led to the penalty). I can’t go into much more detail since the ANT1 quality in Canada was just terrible and I missed part of the second half, but they will need to improve greatly for our game with Anderlecht, one which I still feel they can win if they show up and play football.

Djebbour had a brilliant chance to put AEK up by one after getting onto the receiving end of a Leonardo freekick but his finish wasn’t good enough.

Makos received verbal abuse throughout the match which led to our players being attacked by the Panionios fans as they were boarding the bus. Panionios fans,  living up to their name the Paninios kittens (sorry, is that supposed to be Panthers?) How pathetic can you get, to the point where you would attack unexpected and unprotected players? Police were nowhere to be found and the players were forced to defend themselves. Additional support came from Lagos, Arabatzis and Manolas who went to the aid of Libe, Dellas, and Djebbour. Pathetic… more reason to see Paninios and their kittens sink down to second division.

Kittens… always running.

 

 

Hopefully we can put these events and this match behind us. We have a good team, an experienced and passionate coach, a new training ground ready soon, this is a prime opportunity for us to win some silverware, even if its only a cup. Hopefully the players regroup and focus on the task at hand.

 

AEK 2-0 Panserraikos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football, Greek Soccer, Greek Super League, Soccer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2010 by alexaek

For teams like AEK, games against opponents such as Panserraikos, Kerkyra, Thrasivoulos, etc, should be MUST WINS. Three points are crucial and while we will unfortunately drop them at times in the derbies, there is no excuse to not take advantage of weaker opposition. Fortunately for us this weekend, we did manage to get all three points, and while it is still early, these three points could prove to be vital.

The starting lineup was somewhat different compared to what I was anticipating. Arabatzis started in net, Jahic covered right back, Manolas and Dellas were centre, Lagos on the left. Midfield was Kafes, Makos, and Scocco while Djebbour, Libe, and Burns (!) took care of things up front (yes, seven Greeks in the starting eleven). The lineup seemed questionable at first, and while it took a good five minutes for us to gain control of the game (I was at first worried that Panserraikos might have proven to be a tougher opponent than anticipated), things started to settle together well as time progressed. Our attack was alive! Djebbour, Libe, and Burns were all eager and there were some good plays linking up between the three. Libe was often seen feeding some deadly through passes for both Burns and Djebbour to latch onto in front of the net. It still took a while before we managed to go one up but we eventually did after Djebbour controlled a beautiful chip pass from Libe and notched it down low before the keeper could get to it (that makes it two goals in two games for him).

Eventually, fairly late in the second, Kafes scored to make it 2-0 for AEK. However, it took chance, after chance, after chance, to get the ball in the net for us. We did look very good up front, but we wont always be playing against teams like Panserraikos. We have to make sure we can finish our chances when we make them.

The biggest (and most pleasing) surprise of the first half was Burns. He has constantly showed (ever since the tournament in Sydney) that he deserves to play a bigger role in this team and today he showed why. Great runs, superb control, he was always there on the wing when we needed him but he was just as dangerous in the box. If he gets some good playing time he can become a key player for AEK.

Scocco, on the other hand, was a huge disappointment. Sure, he did come close on a couple of free kicks, and he did manage to hit the post off a corner, but the eagerness we saw in Djebbour and Libe was n0ne-existent in his passionless play. Unfortunately it looks like we’ll be seeing more of what we saw from him last season.

Lagos gave a solid performance. He was very smooth bringing the ball up to attack and his speed and ball control was far from disappointing.

The stadium was almost full (it seemed there were some unoccupied seats in the vip section) and the atmosphere from my computer screen seemed nice and intimidating, just how we like it. I personally would be all for us playing some more games here (aside from the derbies). If there were a fourth stand added Rizoupoli could prove to be a very suitable temporary solution for us (Im not suggesting AEK adds another stand but simply stating scenarios from an ideal world).

Some tension was expected between the fans regarding Bajevic. The situation was not made any better when Dusan was sent off by the referee. To be honest, I still have no idea why the referee ordered him to leave but hopefully Ill find out soon enough.

AEK-Panserraikos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, football, Greek Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2010 by alexaek

AEK face Panserraikos tomorrow in Rizoupoli. The game is sold out (not surprisingly considering season tickets are almost as many as the stadium’s capacity) which should make for a great atmosphere in a football friendly stadium… assuming we get the result we desperately need!  Both Olympiakos (2-0 against Kerkyra in a closed doors Karaiskaki) and PAO (1-0 away to Aris) won this weekend meaning we have a tough hurdle to overcome if we want to stay near the top (if we lose that is). A nice three points will keep us in a good position, despite it being early in the season.

Patsatsoglou will most likely start, along with Nasuti. Arabatzis is likely to be keeper, while the rest of the lineup is said to remain similar to what we’ve seen so far this season (Manolas, Lagos, Kafes, Leonardo, Scocco, Libe, and Djebbour).