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Irlandos

APOEL - Neftchi

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I saw APOEL's home game against Senica and the two games against Aalesund.

They still move the ball beautifully in midfielder, just like they did last year. Benachour is a lovely footballer to watch, reminds me a little of a poor-man's Luka Modric in his style. Great signing for APOEL. Aloneftis has also been a very good addition to the team, proving pace, movement and a real goal threat from the bench. However I have also seen some huge problems.

Ailton and Solari got injured and without them they've lacked a creative spark up front. Budimir is not fit yet and looks like he might need a while to get sharp. The biggest problem of all though is that new defence! They look woeful! A defence is a unit so perhaps they simply haven't had the time to gel, but so far they look like a shadow of last season's defensive back line.

Last season they had Poursaitidis at right back. Boaventura played at left back while Paulo Jorge partenered Marcelo Oliveira (and sometimes Kaka) in the cenre of defence. Together provided a formidable defence. Paulo Jorge has moved to Anorthosis this season along with Boaventura. The years had caught up with Poursaitidis who retired at 36, so a new right back was needed too.

There was talk of a number of Greek right backs signing as his replacement, like Galitsios and Skondra, but in the end they signed Mario Sergio from Metalurg Donetsk. He hasn't been too bad so far. I need to see more of him but at the moment he seems fairly comfortable on the ball, has a good shot and cross and isn't bad defensively. So that's fine. At centre back they've signed former PAOK & Atromito centre back, Francisco Zuela along with Artiz Border from Recreativo, while Marcelo Oliveira has dropped to the bench. They have also signed Michael Klukowski (Canadian international) from a Turkish team (Manisaspor) who has yet to feature, so know nothing about him. But at left back they are playing a left midfielder/winger (Nectarios Alexandrou, formerlly of Larissa).

As a unit, they have look abysmal! Alexandrou is too attack minded, Bordiz and Zuela leave gaping holes between them, and the latter gives the ball away in dangerous areas all the time. APOEL simply look dreadful defensively! They need to tighten up or they will eventually get exposed. I do expect them to come through this, but further down the line could become exposed.

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It's not just a bad week:

Anorthosis should have easily put away Dila Gori (or whatever they're called),

PAOK should have - one way or the other - gone through against an Austrian team

APOEL should have beaten Neftchi with goals to spare.

What on earth is going on??? :blink:

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