Archive for Aravidis

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.

Catching Up…

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Greek Cup, Greek Football with tags , , , on December 20, 2016 by alexaek

Its been a while since my last post (over a month at this point), mostly due to the final couple months of school taking up a lot of my time. Now that all of that is behind me, I figured it was time for a quick post going over what I’ve missed.

Disappointing League Results

Things have been less than ideal in the league over the past month and a half. We’ve had four league games since my last post and while they were all against what should in theory be weaker teams, only two out of those four games actually ended in wins. The first win was a 3-0 home victory over Platanias and we also got a comfortable 4-0 home win over Levadeiakos. Both those results were followed by draws against Kerkyra and, just yesterday, a home draw against PAS Giannena. Now I know nothing ever comes easy but had we won those two games we drew, we would have been sitting in 2nd with 24 points and a far smaller gap between us and Olympiakos. Instead, we find ourselves 5th with 20 points, behind Xanthi, PAO, and Panionios.

Yesterday’s result was one of those results that are that much harder to swallow. It was a strange game from the start really, with Aravidis being sent off on a straight red with a Zidane imitation headbutt. Surprisingly though we played pretty well considering we were a man down and then got gifted one of the easiest goals Pekhart will ever have to score. To top the whole game off though, we conceded an extra time goal which was clearly offside. Not the result we deserved, especially considering it sounded like the team looked really promising even when playing a man down, but I’ve come to expect this sort of thing from this league.

To make matters worse, Mantalos also missed a penalty yesterday…

 

Disappointing Cup Results As well..

After our 4-0 Cup win against Kerkyra, we ended up with some pretty disappointing results after drawing Karditsa 2-2 and Lamia 0-0. Safe to say we should have done better, especially against Karditsa when we were ahead 2-0 before letting them back into the game. Thankfully the results were still enough to get us through to the next round where we’ll face Levadeiakos, but I’ll definitely be hoping for some better results from this point on. Since it seems as though we’re already out of the title race, it would be nice if we can make a decent attempt for the Cup again this year.

 

 

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

AEK News (September 22nd)

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Basketball with tags , , , , , on September 22, 2016 by alexaek

I thought I’d post a few updates on the team since though its been a relatively calm week for us (and I can’t complain about that), there have been a few noteworthy events going on with the team.

The first topic I’d like to quickly brush on is what happened with Aravidis earlier in the week. Apparently at some point on Sunday Aravidis posted something on his facebook page along the lines of not appreciating the games being played behind his back (or something like that). To be honest, I’m not sure anyone knows what he was talking about. Maybe it was frustration due to the lack of playing time, or maybe something really was going on? Either way, he came out and issued an apology fairly quickly which seemed to calm the situation. Thankful that it didn’t lead to more, but I’m just hoping this doesn’t lead to other issues. While the league is as much of a mess as ever, the team is relatively stable and the last thing we’d need is for issues like this to shake up the balance we seem to have.

Other news regarding the football squad is the injury Mantalos suffered to his nose. From what I read, it seems as though he broke it after a collision with Galo during training. Its a tough blow for us to take since he has been playing quite well lately and with the Olympiakos match coming up in a little over a week, this could potentially be a pretty devastating injury. Having said that, we have decent depth and somewhat versatile players. As long as Ketsbaia can figure out how to fill in the gaps, I’m sure we’ll manage. Still not sure whether Almeida will be playing against Olympiakos. I believe he’ll be sitting out the Iraklis game coming up so that he can recover fully for the derby, which seems like the right call to me.

Now for some basketball news. The team is currently in Turkey for a friendly tournament featuring which started yesterday with a narrow 81-80 loss to Tofas. For those who are interested in watching the match, it can be watched in its entirety here. I haven’t seen it yet but it sounds like one of our recent signings, Michael Dixon, had quite the game. Hes definitely a promising prospect for this season… will we hold on to him though? If our recent record of letting go of some of our best players is anything to go by, I’m not entirely sure.

 

Anorthosis 1-3 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Friendlies with tags , , , , , on September 3, 2016 by alexaek

Seeing as the season has yet to start (who knows, maybe next weekend it will finally kick off?), AEK managed to schedule another friendly against a team Ketsbaia is all too familiar with. Anorthosis, the team Ketsbaia coached for almost five seasons, were our hosts today in Larnaca.

The game got off to a quick start with AEK scoring 2 minutes in thanks to an own goal from a defensive error. From then on we managed to control much of the game for a decent amount of time until Anorthosis managed to assert some control of their own, with a penalty being the reward for their efforts. Gonsalves managed to convert the penalty and in doing so evened the game up at 1-1.

We managed to get ourselves ahead once again in the 49th minute after a great run by Christodoulopoulos resulted in a pass to Aravidis who was waiting in the box, though it was Almeida who ultimately finished the play. The finish might not have been anything spectacular but it shows why we went for a player like Almeida. He knows how to position himself, and knows what to do to get the ball in the back of the net.

The game was put to rest in the 73rd minute when Christodoulopoulos did well to finish off on a great pass from Almeida. It was a beautiful finish that nicely capped an impressive AEK debut for our latest signing, a performance that will put him in contention for a place in the starting XI.

Overall it was a great game for AEK. A good performance, a great display from our supporters, and some promising signs for the season to come. Lescott even managed to get some playing time and though its clear he still needs time, the fact that he was considered for the game alone shows that he is coming along nicely. All things at the moment are pointing towards this being one of our best seasons in years: we have a solid defense, some great players in attack, stability on and off the pitch, and a team that looks like it will be able to compete with any other team in the league. Now, if only the league will actually start…

AEK 2-0 Korona Kielce

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players with tags , , , , , , on July 9, 2016 by alexaek

Second pre-season friendly and a second win for AEK. I managed to watch the game this time but to be honest, what I saw from the team was very mediocre. We weren’t bad by any means, but we certainly weren’t anything special either.

Anestis and Barkas both did well when they were forced to make any saves, though that wasn’t all that often to be honest. We were also pretty decent defensively and I was personally quite pleased with Chygrynskiy (someday I’ll remember how to spell his name without looking it up first…) since he seemed like the kind collected and no nonsense centre back we’ve desperately needed for a while now. Didac and Galo were both pretty good on the wings too but really, we didn’t have to defend all that much since Korona struggled to make it near our box more often than not.

Going forward we showed some great signs with a number of smart plays and some great passing but what really let us down most times we launched any sort of attack was our final balls in. On a number of occasions we found ourselves with a player making a good run forward only to see the final pass overshot. I know this mostly comes down to technique which will be polished over time but it was disappointing to see so many heavy touches.

Our two goals, both of which were scored in the second half, were scored by Mantalos and Aravidis after runs down the left flank and a low ball in. I’m happy to see both Mantalos and Aravidis scoring, but hopefully Bakasetas starts getting more action too. He hasn’t been bad by any means but he has struggled to get himself involved in games up till now. Its expected since its a new team and theres a lot of pressure on his shoulders so I’m sure within the next game or two we’ll start to see him get far more involved.

 

I’d just like to point out our supporters from the game today, who you can see in the highlights above. Though we only had a small handful in the stands today who were probably outnumbered ten to one, the AEK fans there did an amazing job of being the only ones heard on TV the entire time. Makes me smile every time.

In some other news, we’v made our fourth signing of the season by singing Juan Manuel Diaz. He may not be the biggest name we could have signed but he has some decent experience from South America so hopefully he can provide us with some decent options.

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Photo from AEK365.com

 

 

 

AEK 1-0 Atromitos… And a Whole Lot More.

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Atromitos, Dellas, football, Greek Cup with tags , , , , , , , on April 20, 2016 by alexaek

Its been a while since I last posted, partly due to stuff piling up during these last two weeks of school, but also because I picked up a flu/food poisoning last week. Anyways, I’ve finally found some time to get together a post and really, its well overdue. Considering I expected this past week to be a rather uneventful one as everyone settled in before the playoffs, it instead turned out to be one of the more dramatic weeks we’ve seen all season. I was going to start with the most recent event, our 1-0 cup win against Atromitos, but its an awkward place to start without first mentioning some other stories from earlier on. So instead, I’ll make my way up to today, starting from about this point last week.

-It was announced that the Cup would be starting again around this time last week. No surprises really, since I think most people expected Kontonis to revert on his decision because lets face it, push comes to shove, he’d never stand up to FIFA/UEFA, just like Tsipras ultimately backed down to the IMF/EU despite trying to show the same defiant spirit. The news of the Cup restarting caused a bit of a scramble since it meant that AEK all of a sudden had another target for the season aside from the playoffs, again. Of course, Kontonis refused fans for the semi-final games (which was why our game today was played behind closed doors), and if I understood correctly, the Cup Final will be played with only students in the stands. If I remember correctly, some of the Basket Cup Finals between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos were played in a similar way. Fair enough I suppose, but it really is a drag watching a game in an empty stadium. The whole thing feels like a practice between the two sides, and I’m sure the players can’t enjoy too much either.

-We lost against Levadeiakos in our last league game of the season, and by a score of 3-0. This game took place when I spent all day on the couch and couldn’t even move because I felt so terrible, so I didn’t end up watching it and I’m probably better off this way. Unfortunately, it didn’t sound like we were playing too badly really. We were controlling most of the ball and from what I was reading, we were creating chances. Unfortunately, as has been the case for AEK far too often this season, we struggled to score. Unsurprisingly, we suffered due to our inability to score in a painful and embarrassing way, letting in two own goals minutes apart from each other. Levadeiakos finished things off after some sloppy defending and poor decision making by Baroja in the second half, scoring their third and final goal in a game that both fans and players alike will want to forget as soon as possible. It was an unfortunate result, especially since there is little a team can do to regroup after having two quick own goals conceded. To make matters worse, PAO won their game 6-1, with Berg scoring five goals himself. If this is any indication of their form going into the playoffs, we could be in trouble. I’m hoping it was just a fluke…

 

-A couple days after the fiasco in Livadia, AEK’s management had a meeting with Poyet’s management, in an attempt to work out a deal that would see Poyet stay on as manager. Apparently, things didn’t go to well and from what I heard, Poyet’s management was asking for four million euros a season. He was a good coach, I appreciated a lot of what I did and I appreciated the fact that he seemed to enjoy the big wins as much as what we did. But four million a season is ridiculous, considering that kind of money could be spent on some very good players. Now, that number might not even be true, but what it is clearly true is that both sides failed to come to an agreement. I wasn’t expecting an agreement this early, especially not with so many important games coming up, but apparently Poyet was.

I felt like Poyet was a very professional man and coach, I expected him to do his job until after the season and then let things get worked out. Instead, not long after the meetings took place, he came out and released an announcement on his own, saying he wouldn’t be staying with AEK past the end of the season… I understand that he might not have been too happy, maybe he was expecting more. But I really see no excuse for coming out, a day before a semi-final game, and making an announcement like that on your own.

Clearly, the team wasn’t too happy about the announcement either. Within hours, the press was saying that Poyet had been fired and it wasn’t long after when AEK officially confirmed this. I’m disappointed since I was hoping for better, but I personally felt that it was clear from a while ago that Poyet wanted to leave Greece, particularly to try his luck in England again. I don’t blame him since after-all, the Superleague is a joke, and the Premier League is pretty exciting at the moment, but I was really expecting to see him leave on better terms. Oh well, so much for that…

 

-Finally we end up to where we are now, that is after beating Atromitos 1-0 in the first of two semi-final matches against the team led by Dellas. Manolas was our coach today for the second time this season, and I must say I was kind of amused seeing both teams run by former AEK centre backs.

We started off well, applying the pressure, forcing Atromitos to defend, and creating some chances. At one point the possesion stat was saying something around 80 percent for AEK, and it sure seemed that way. We gave Atromitos no chances of getting into the game which I was glad to see. Our passing was controlled and Mantalos and Johansson were linking up well. Galo and Vargas were also providing some options down the wings which we took advantage of a few times. Unfortunately for us, Aravidis wasn’t providing many options up front and the times he did get the ball anywhere near him, he never really looked like scoring.

As the first half continued on, our pace dropped and it never really picked up too much in the second half. We still managed to create a couple chances, and we still never gave Atromitos too much space, but the game made it clear again that we need better players up front. Our break finally came around the 74th minute, when Aravidis sent in a gorgeous ball that was perfectly placed for Mantalos, requiring just some contact with his head to get the ball on target. It was a break we needed, since any goal we can get going into a second match with Atromitos is an important one.

I didn’t feel like we played too badly, and we can definitely get past Atromitos in the next leg also. But really need to start looking more dangerous in front of goal. I don’t know if we would have been better off starting Pekhart today, but I know Djebbour certainly isn’t an option. He came on as a sub today and provided nothing, as usual. Even when he comes up with chances that the Djebbour of five years ago would have no problem putting away, he struggles to even get a shot off anywhere near target. I don’t know what has happened to him, but he certainly is not the answer we need.