Archive for Johansson

AEK Start Season With a Win

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Greek Football, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , on August 20, 2017 by alexaek

A 2-0 win today means that we get off to a good start this season, although the game wasn’t exactly pretty for much of the time.

We got off to a pretty good start after Traustason was brought down in the box which resulted in a penalty being awarded to AEK. Marcos Paulo was lucky to get only a yellow when he really should have been sent off, but Panaitolikos weren’t so fortunate as Almedia comfortably converted the penalty shot to put us ahead fourteen minutes in.

The game never really picked up from then on for either side though Panaitolikos did come close on a couple occasions. The next real turning point came when Almeida was sent off with a straight red for elbowing Chantakia in the face. At first I thought that it was a harsh decision but the more I look at the replays, the more it seems like the right call. Either way it really wasn’t a smart move by Almeida as the red gave Panaitolikos some new found energy which they quickly converted into more chances. Some poor finishing on Panaitolikos’ part along with some good saves by Anestis were pretty much all that kept us in the game for the remainder of the first half.

The second half saw another red, this time for Panaitolikos after Marcos Paulo received a second yellow. It was at this point where the balance started to tip in AEK’s favour again, ultimately resulting in a second goal for AEK. Johansson was the scorer after Mantalos sent a pass across to the Swede across an empty goal. The goal was originally called back supposedly for offside, leaving myself and the commentators rather confused. Thankfully the decision was overturned and the goal ultimately awarded to AEK after replays showed that there was no offside and no foul on the play. It was nice to see that instant replays, which are being piloted in the Greek and Russian leagues at the moment, might actually work in Greece.

The game ultimately ended 2-0 and while it wasn’t always pretty, its a great three points to start the season off with. The game was played in an empty OAKA as a punishment for the incidents that took place in last season’s Cup Final so to come away with a win without home support and playing a man down for much of the first half was a relief.

Overall I’d have to say that Anestis actually looked pretty good, and our defense wasn’t terrible. It was our offense that really let us down again, just as in the games against CSKA. We struggled to really create many worthwhile chances and there was an obvious lack of creativity going forward. Even the set plays were a disappointment as they more often than not ended up being intercepted by a defender. We might be lucky to get the three points today but without a noticeable improvement to our offense I can see us struggling to score goals against a lot of teams in the league this season. Araujo would be a great addition to the club right about now…

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Larissa 1-2 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball with tags , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2016 by alexaek

We’re Still In It

Three points that couldn’t have come at a better time. With today’s win we manage to keep ourselves within two points of 1st, so its safe to say that another loss would have really put a dent in any progress we may have made before the Karaiskaki game.

Its an important win for other reasons too. We have to remember after-all that Olympiakos lost in this same stadium a few weeks ago and that an away game against Larissa is almost never an easy task. Today proved exactly that as, even though we got off to a great start scoring first in the 4th minute, it was still never a particularly comfortable outing for the team.

I unfortunately didn’t manage to watch the game since I was at work, but it sounds like although we managed to do well offensively, we struggled to exert any control over the middle of the pitch. I can’t say I’m entirely surprised since not having Simoes helping us out leaves a huge gap that most players just can’t fill. There is only so much Johansson can do on his own and why management didn’t think to look for another player in the off-season who could help hold up the ball a bit in the midfield is beyond me. Sure with Simoes fit we have a much better chance of doing something but with him gone the task becomes that much harder. And what happens when Johansson gets injured too? I can’t imagine how weak we’d be in the middle of the pitch if we ever lose both Simoes and Johansson for a game.

The scorer for both of our goals was, surprisingly, Platellas. I don’t mean to say “surprisingly”in a negative way because there is no doubt that he is a talented player. Its just that he somewhat lets me down when we really need him to perform but today he did everything we could have asked for. Aside from Platellas, it seems like the rest of the team was good enough to downright disappointing. Its unfortunate since I would have hoped that the two week break would have allowed us to gel a little more but on the other hand its promising that we still managed to hold on to the three points.

What is less promising though is the fact that not only did Galo get a red for a second offense during the game, but Lazaros also received a red after time was called for an altercation involving either the ref or another player (I still haven’t read for sure what happened. This means that we’ll be missing three important players for the next match after Patito was also banned for three games following an incident he was involved with at Karaiskaki.

Highlights as usual can be found on Novasport’s site: http://aek365.novasports.gr

 

Basketball Team Also Has a Good Weekend

It was not only our football club that managed to get a good result as our basketball club also got a convincing 96-56 win against Lavrio. The game started with a celebration retiring the jersey of AEK basketball great Georgios Trontzos and the performance of the team was a great way of honouring one of the greatest players to wear our shirt. Trontzos won five championships with AEK and was a key part of the team that won the Cup Winner’s Cup in 1968 and as such the retiring of his number 6 jersey was well deserved.

The game, for anyone interested, is available in its entirety on youtube.

 

PAS Giannina 0-2 AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Basketball, Dellas, Derby, Greek Football, Greek Super League, Keepers, PAOK, Superleague with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2016 by alexaek

Our fantastic start to 2016 got even better after we got an important three points away against in cold and wet Northern Greece. Conditions for the match were less than ideal as the rain that had fallen the previous couple of days meant the pitch was in terrible shape, but our players handled the situation very well. In fact, with how well they were moving the ball around at times I often forgot that there was even anything wrong with the pitch.

It was a good game from most of the team though there were certainly a few players who never really managed to get into the game. From what I could see, Djebbour especially stood out. From the moment he came on in the second half, I rarely saw him make any effort. I hardly even saw him run as he spent most of his time taking jogging slowly and idly around the pitch, almost as if he wasn’t even really aware of what was going on around him. He  can play, we all know it, but the effort he gives, especially beside someone who never stops like Aravidis, is disappointing. I know he’s always been like this, but it seems to be getting worse, to the point where its really not worth playing him. I’d much rather we call up someone from our academy or make a cheap singing of another striker from the Superleague rather than play Djebbour when he’s being a spectator the way he is.

Another player who disappointed me yet again was Vargas. Sure he scored the goal, but I hardly see him contribute aside from scoring. When he has players like Simoes and Johansson around him, players who are constantly getting involved, he really has to carry his weight some more. Otherwise, it just ends up holding Simoes and Johansson back and ends up giving them one less option, options we desperately need when we play against a team that defends like PAS.

Defensively I thought we were mediocre today, not terrible but we certainly still allowed PAS far too much time near our goal. PAS do have a good team for sure, but we need to be able to hold back teams a lot better than we do. We need to be able to apply more pressure but without leaving ourselves too vulnerable, something we can’t quite do yet with the centre backs we have. It too often seems to be one or the other; either we apply some pressure and end up leaving ourselves vulnerable and open at the back, or we hold back but then end up giving our opposition too much time on the ball and too much time to form an attack. Hopefully we sign a more experienced centre back soon to help us a bit, its been far too long since we had players like Dellas or Kyrgiakos back there.

Players who stood for me were Johansson (is anybody surprised?), Simoes, and Barbosa, all players who seem to have settled very well into the positions Poyet is playing them in. However, most of my credit and praise has to go to Anestis. For the second game in a row he saved a penalty, a penalty which could have tied the game for PAS. He also managed to keep a clean sheet again (in fact, in the five games we’ve played in 2016, hes only conceeded once) and just generally had a solid game. I saw one corner where he seemed a bit shaky but otherwise, he did everything he had to which is all we can ask of him at this point. Without a doubt his confidence is skyrocketting and I can only hope he continues to keep it up. Of course, his real test will be next weekend against PAOK, a game we absolutely must win.

All in all it was a good performance. By no means was it perfect, but we did what we had to, getting the three points away at a difficult team. The three points meant even more after PAO dropped points at home to Panionios, drawing 0-0. That draw now means we are four points ahead with 36 points while PAO have 32. PAOK also have 32 (though they’ve also played a game less), so a win for us in the derby next weekend will mean we keep our distance between us and PAOK as well.

Highlights, as usual, can be found on the NovaSports site here: http://aek365.novasports.gr

 

Unfortunately, our basketball team had a far more disappointing weekend. We played PAOK away, a game I was worried about. We’ve already beaten them this season, and I feel we have a slightly better team, but an away game against PAOK will never be easy.

The game started off well, almost too well. I woke up about a quarter of the way through the game to find that we were not only winning, but we were winning by 20 points. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I quickly got out of bed and set myself up with a stream in time to catch the third and fourth quarter. Unfortunately, it was then that things took a very quick turn for the worse. Just like that, PAOK had managed to close the gap. All of a sudden they were outplaying us, and we could hardly handle them. Too make things worse, our shooting (which was pretty good for the first two quarters) became terrible, with three pointer after three pointer missing the target. It was painful to watch, seeing us miss all these three pointers rather than just trying to go for the safer two pointers. I could quite tell if the team was told to go for three, or they just couldn’t break PAOK’s defense enough to be able to get close enough for any safe two pointers. Either way, it was not nice to watch. Sure enough, with just a couple minutes to go, PAOK managed to claw their way back into the lead for good, winning the game 79-75. We’re still in third place but with Aris’ loss and a win over PAOK, we would have been able to put some good distance between us fourth place. It was a terrible game to watch, but I’m hoping the team can learn something from it.

AEK 2-0 Levadeiakos

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players, Atromitos, Draw, Greek Cup, Greek Soccer with tags , , , , on January 13, 2016 by alexaek

Big win for us today, possibly even the biggest of the season so far. We are now officially through to the round of 8 for the cup, not bad really for our first season back. I’m really anxious to see who we face in the next round though since from here on it will not be easy. So far Iraklis, Atromitos, Tripolis, and Olympiakos have made it through and its likely PAO will make it through as well since they go into their game tomorrow with a 2-1 win from their first away game of the round. I wouldn’t mind facing Iraklis since we’ve already beat them comfortably this season, and Atromitos might not be too bad since we tend to do well against them in the cup. I’d be afraid of Tripolis since they have a decent team this season and could definitely give us a hard time, especially since we’ve already lost to them at home this season.

So, how did our game today go? Well, I didn’t get to watch it since I was at work, but it didn’t sound like our best performance of the season. Well done to the team for getting the result, but for most of the first half and much of the second half, we did very little. It got so bad at one point that simply getting a shot off, regardless of how good the shot actually was, was enough to get the commentators on AEK365 excited.

I don’t know why we have such a hard time in high pressure games this season. We’ve seen time and time again that when the pressure is off, the team can loosen up and play some wonderful football. The potential is there, we all know what the team is capable of, but the lack of consistency is really hurting us.

Oh well, we advanced, and we did it with some nice goals too. Buonanotte sealed the deal with his free kick towards the end which made it 2-0, but it was Johansson who opened the scoring late in the first half when we needed it most.

Johansson… I can’t praise him enough. He is a rock in the midfield, he scores when we need it most, and he is probably our most consistent player. I know there have been some teams interested in him, but I really hope we don’t let him go unless the offer is too good to resist (even then I’d rather keep him, but football is a bussiness after-all).

I’ll leave you all with the highlights of the game. Not our best goals, but definitely worth watching. Buonanotte’s free kick reminded me of what I used to see so often from Pirlo and that finish from Johansson… never expected that kind of acrobatic skill from him.

PAO 0-0 AEK

Posted in AEK, Derby, football, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2015 by alexaek

A point from the first derby for our new coach is not a bad result at all, even if we could have come away from this game with all three points. Considering he has only had two practice sessions to get familiar with the players, he did a fairly decent job in my opinion, even if I personally would have liked to have seen a couple different changes. We were set up pretty well defensively but it was our midfield set up which allowed us to keep the game from getting out of our control. The pressure we applied throughout prevented PAO from ever getting really comfortable in the middle of the pitch both when attacking and defending, forcing them to attack from the wings quite often (something which they weren’t too good at today). When they did manage to get an attack to end up in the center of the pitch, they were only ever able to get an effort on goal via long shots, shots which very rarely threatened us except for one shot from Berg which hit the cross bar.

Offensively, we were able to get the ball to transition quite quickly, with Johansson, Simoes, Barbosa, and Galo doing well to move the ball around and control the centre and the wings. Unfortunately though, we were clearly lacking in the final third of the pitch, with Chrisantus not providing the attacking options that he should have and Vargas not being dangerous enough aside from a couple chances.

I’ll have a go at some of my own player ratings for today’s game. For once in as long as I can remember, I had a stream which did not skip or cut out once for the entire match so I was able to get a good sense of how we were playing.

Baroja: He was solid, positioning himself perfectly and making the saves he had to. Could not ask for any more from him really, did the job he had to and did it with confidence. Definitely something we were missing last year with Anestis.

Galo: Provided a lot of energy to the match, did well offensively and defensively. He did make some mistakes, but his pace meant he was often able to make up for them. He also came close on a free kick.

Lambropoulos and Kolovetsios: They were both pretty solid in the back, stopping PAO from getting too close to our net whenever they had the chance. They were decent on the set plays and generally managed to handle whatever PAO had to offer. Had this been a stronger PAO team, perhaps things would have different, though that would be impossible to tell. Either way, a solid centre back pair that Poyet should definitely consider sticking with.

Didac: Also did a pretty good job defensively and offensively. He didn’t have as much to work with defensively as PAO had fewer attacks come down our left wing, and he also did not provide the kind of runs that Galo would, but he still ventured forward and offered support whenever needed. He did make a few mistakes though.

Johansson: WIthout him, this may have been a very different game. I know I’ve said this before, but he is without a doubt one of the best singings we’ve made in the past three years. Always such a calm and assuring presence in the middle of the pitch, he is able to win balls well and hold on to them until the right pass can be made. He doesn’t stand out the way a player like Barbosa or Simoes does, but I would say his contribution to our performances is possibly more important than any other player on the pitch.

Simoes: He had a good game, though I’m not sure I would give him the 9 out of 10 that AEK365 gave him. He linked up well with the rest of our midfield and provided options and runs when needed.

Vargas: Had a phenomenal chance early on, but he seemed to be quiet for large periods of the game. In fact, I often saw Chrisantus coming back to link up with our central midfielders often when Vargas was nowhere to be found.

Mantalos: Had some very good runs and was key to any attack we had down the left, but unfortunately his crosses and set play deliveries were very poor today. What makes Mantalos such a critical player is the way he can get balls into dangerous places so well, and when he isn’t doing that as was the case today, the whole team suffers. I know he can do better, and I’m confident he will in our next game, assuming the injury he picked up today does not turn out to be too serious.

Barbosa: Probably the best attacking player for us today, showing a lot of ambition going forward. His effort was unfortunately more often than not wasted as we had no attacking presence in front of the PAO goal, but he was involved whenever he could have been and with a solid striker or two, he can end up being one of our most important players. Unfortunately, he was not linking up well with Chrisantus today.

Chrisantus: I’ve heard a lot of negativity towards Chrisantus, though I still have to say that I disagree. Is he my first choice for striker? Of course not, but with the way we played today, it hardly mattered what strikers we had up front. With so few good balls being played into the box, there was only so much he could do. It got to the point where he was playing deeper and deeper into midfield as the game progressed, looking to help create something up front. His presence in the box on set plays was not the best, but neither were the balls being played in so again I don’t feel like he is to blame. He will definitely need to calm down when he was possession though. Far too often he looks uncomfortable and nervous when he has the ball, and it was definitely a reason he was making so many poor passes. I truly believe that if he learns to calm down a bit when he’s playing, he can be a very effective player upfront.

Overall, neither team looked very dangerous. Overall PAO created the better chances, but there were spells when they were non-existent such as when they lost Lagos to injury early on. We had our chances to, but as with PAO none of the chances we created were very convincing. In fact, if it were not for PAO’s cross bar, I would say that both teams were equally dull offensively. As far as midfield is concerned, we were able to take control with far more confidence than PAO, but I would have to say that PAO overall played a better defensive game than we did, but only slightly.

It was an unfortunate result since a stronger AEK would have taken this game with ease. But the reverse could also be said about PAO. If they had the teams they had in the past, I would have to say that they would have walked all over us. Its unfortunate that both teams are so weak compared to what they used to be because if that were not the case, Olympiakos’ lead at the top of the table would have been far smaller at this point.

In terms of coaching, as I mentioned above I felt that Poyet had us set up quite well. Possibly the only thing I would have done differently (and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way) would have been to put Buonanotte in far earlier. I possibly also would have taken Mantalos out earlier and put Platellas on to replace him. Poyet’s decision to put Cordero one however was a very good one since it was a move that allowed us to keep our control of the midfield at a time when it was starting to slip away from us.

Surprisingly, I felt the ref had a pretty good game. It was a pretty high contact game but he made the right choices for the most part as far as calling fouls, and he stayed away from the cards when he was able to. It was quite refreshing actually to see a derby played where the ref wasn’t a key factor. The same can’t be said for Olympiakos’ game with Veria yesterday, but what else is new…

At the moment, the only highlights I can find are on NovaSport’s site here: http://aek365.novasports.gr

PAOK 2-1 AEK

Posted in AEK, Derby, PAOK, Superleague with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2015 by alexaek

I want to start off this post on a positive. Sure the loss in a derby never sits well with me, and I definitely expected more from the team, but this result is a badly needed wake up call for our team. Do we have some talented players? Absolutely? Do we have a good team? I think so. Is our team ready to be a top three team in this league? I’m afraid not. Yesterday’s loss exposed a lot to the fans, the players, and Dellas and while its unfortunate that it happened against PAOK, I’d rather it happen early in the season against PAOK, rather than later in the season against a team like PAO or Olympiakos.

I didn’t get to watch the game again, but I managed to follow it and the commentary the entire time just kept getting worse and worse. I really can’t say what was to blame the most. Was it the pressure of playing a derby in Toumba, was it a little too much confidence going into the game, was it Dellas’ formation and player choices? Who knows. I personally am not going to place much blame on Dellas. From what I was reading on the commentary, our players were capable of pretty much nothing on the pitch compared to PAOK. We barely won any 50/50 balls, we were sloppy defensively, we couldn’t hold on to possesion, and when we did manage to get the ball we weren’t able to do anything with it going forward.

What scares me a lot is all this sounds a lot like how we were in our 0-0 draw to Xanthi earlier in the season. I certainly hope not. This is not the 2nd or 3rd division anymore. Every sloppy game we play, we will get punished for it.

What I’m struggling to understand from our performance yesterday is how the entire team, aside from Baroja (I shudder when I think about what the final score would have been had we had a different keeper in nets), could all simultaneously have such a bad day. Even Johansson, who is normally such a rock for us in central mid, was doing nothing at all. When the entire team is off there game, I can’t help but feel like there is some overall psychological factor at play here. Sure it was our first real derby, but I can’t really see how that is any excuse. Many of these players here played during our 1-1 against Olympiakos in Karaiskaki, and those who hadn’t would have played derbies in other leagues at some point in their careers.

I can’t imagine over confidence being a factor either since to be honest, the team really has no reason to be overly confident in themeselves. Sure they’ve had a few decent performances against the smaller teams of the league, but they’ve yet to really prove that they have what it takes to be in the top three of the league, let alone the best.

I don’t know, I’m lost for words really. But, like I said above, its a good wakeup call for the team, and I’m sure we’ll rebound from it. I know we have a defense capable of being organized and stopping any attack in this league, I know we have a midfield that can break up plays and start them, and I know we have the attack required to score a few goals. I’m not worried, I’m really not. If we have a few more games like this, maybe I will start to worry a bit. But we’re still a new team, a team that’s still trying to figure things out.

Unfortunately the highlight video on nova’s website doesn’t seem to be working, so I’ll post a video of the goals here from youtube in the meantime: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXj9WDgeRLs

A couple things worth noting from the video: 1), as the commentator mentioned, before our goal we had only three chances, all of which came from set plays. Shows just how lackluster how offense was. 2), we wore our alternate kits today, and I gotta say they look pretty gorgeous in my opinion. Nike is definitely a keeper as far as I’m concerned. I’d rather they keep things simple but with good colours, the way they seem to be doing so far, compared to the overly complicated and ultimately unconvincing designs Puma gave us a couple seasons.

Something else to note from the game is that Simoes seems to have picked up an injury. Not sure how serious it is yet, though I do know that he missed today’s training session. I’m really hoping its not too bad, losing him would be a pretty big blow to the team.

AEK 3-0 Platanias

Posted in AEK, Greek Super League with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2015 by alexaek

Now that I finally have a chance to sit down at my PC, albeit in a hotel room in North Pennsylvania, I’ll get together a quick post on our game yesterday.

First off, check out some of the highlights from the game. Galo’s goal was fantastic, giving me even more reason to be excited about this player. Also worth noting is that gorgeous pass to set up Vargas for the first goal. Johansson is without a doubt proving to be one of our best signings of the past few years.

http://www.sport-fm.gr/videos/24082128

Just from watching the highlights, its obvious that there’s something good going here. The attacking mindset is definitely there, passing is great, and we’re making chances (how many chances do Platellas and Djebbour need to miss though??).

I definitely really like what I’ve seen so far from the first game, but there’s still a couple things to keep in mind. First of all, we desperately need a quality striker, someone up front who we can get the ball to and who has the experience and composure to take the shot that’s needed. They don’t even need to be able to score the stunners, goals like those Scocco used to score, since we have the players who can score those goals when the opportunity arises (Simoes, Vargas, Galo). What we need is someone we can really on to get the job done up front, a player like Blanco during his first season with us.

All that aside, we definitely have a solid team otherwise, but we still need to see how they fare against a strong team. We may have played well on Saturday, but with our upcoming games against Xanthi, PAS, and PAOK, we’ll definitely have the chance to see just how ready our team is within the next few weeks.

If anyone happened to catch the whole game, I would love to hear your opinions on how we played! I’m hoping to be able to watch our next game, but I’m not too sure how likely that is to happen.