We got our second win today in Northern Greece as our good start to the season continued thanks to goals from Bakasetas and Vargas. To be honest the scoreline wasn’t as convincing as I was expecting it to be but at the end of the day the team were able to do what was needed to get the win.
My streams today were iffy at best, but I was able to get an idea of how we were playing for the most part and while there were some positives to take away from the match, I was still a bit worried at times with what I was seeing. We did well for long stretches of time to move the ball around and create very convincing opportunities but then we would sit back at other times and make no effort to take control of the match. From what I remember we did this especially after scoring our first goal and at the start of the second half, possibly the worst moments of the match to do so (especially if we were to do so against a stronger team). I’m not sure what it is that makes the team do that but I noticed something similar against Xanthi once we had a decent lead built up, as if the whole team collectively decides to relax a little too much.
Thankfully we were able to pick things up eventually and start creating some chances again though I was worried for a while that we weren’t going to score a second goal. Its not that we weren’t creating chances, because we were, but we struggled to get things to click right in front of the net. So many great opportunities were stopped by either the keeper or the post, but many others were let down by poor finishing (noteably some of the opportunities involving Bakasetas and Platellas). I’m really happy to see us creating these chances but if we struggle to put these many away, we’ll really be made to pay for that when the derbies come around.
Enough about the negatives though, lets talk about what worked well for us. Two players stood out for me: Patito and Bakasetas. Patito was a constant threat on the right side of the pitch, constantly working the ball further towards goal and sending in perfectly placed passes. Normally when I see a player with the ball near the box I’d rather they just got it in with a pass rather than try to dribble past some defenders but Patito doesn’t cause those same kind of worries with me. He, much like Scocco, has that tight ball control that enables him to seemingly effortlessly make his past one, two, or more defenders. Its beautiful and exciting stuff to watch and its only a matter of time until he scores a phenomenal goal himself (I’m thinking something along the lines of Scocco’s goal against Olympiakos back in that 4-4 cup final).
Bakasetas also had a great game which I was very happy to see. While the singings of Almeida, Lescott, and Patito were all great moves during the summer, it was Bakasetas’ singing that I was most excited about. Today proved why he was such a great catch by us and I can only hope that we’ll see more of him in games to come. He was a constant threat upfront, provided the assist for the second goal, and showed great awareness of what was going on around him on a few occasions. All too often a young Greek talent comes to one of the big teams and ultimately fails to make any significant impact but I genuinely feel that Bakasetas could be the exception to that.
Aside from those two players, the rest of the team did well too. Mantalos was dangerous, Almeida had some great chances before he had to be subbed off (hopefully his injury isn’t much worse this time around). We were sound defensively and while I feel Lescott still needs another game or two to really settle in, I feel like hes starting to get comfortable with what he has to do.
Ketsbaia did alright today, everyone seemed to know their roles well and though the starting lineup was predictable, it was the one that made the most sense to go with. One thing he did though which really confused me was taking off Patito and subbing on Platellas. Platellas ultimately did alright, but I really didn’t understand the logic behind the move. We were still looking for a goal, Patito didn’t show any sign of injury and was still contributing to the match. Why Ketsbaia decided to take him off for a player who plays a similar role I can’t quite figure out. But hey, we got the result in the end so I won’t question it too much yet. Whether his decisions will cost us in the derbies we’ll have to see.
As usual a round of applause is due for our supporters in Veria today. Though I was only able to watch from my computer a few thousand kilometres away from the stadium, it never once seemed like an away game. AEK supporters filled a curve at the end as well one of the main stands along the side of the pitch and if the reactions from some of the players and Ketsbaia is anything to go by, their support really made a difference throughout the match.
Highlights, though not in great quality, can be seen here:
And, if you have some extra time you can watch the whole match here: