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Bananas

Mid Year Analysis

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So we are at the half way point of the season.  It is time to grade the team, manager and players.

Team

Overall I would say the season has been disappointing but I remain optimistic.  The reason for the disappointment is the terrible and shocking elimination in the EL and the loss of many points away from home.  The encouraging aspects so far are our home form and the "feel" of the team which is that it has generally been improving and it feels like the team is beginning to click.  With a SL record of 9 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses we are in a position to challenge for the title.  Even though it is not normally enough points to challenge, this is a strange year where teams are dropping points they normally would not have.  In the second half of the season we have 8 home games (vs 7 for both Olympiakos and AEK) so we are definitely a chance.

Manager : Lucescu

Started off disastrously with the EL elimination.  Some of his team selections have appeared odd but it looks like he is beginning to gel with the squad.  All things considered I'm more than happy to stick with Lucescu as the team seem like it is "on the up".  The only serious criticism I have is his stubborn selection of El Khaddouri game after game.  I can only assume Lucescu hoped for El Khaddouri to come good through match time.  I dare say he could be the first manager we keep for more than 12 months in the Savvidis era.

GK

Rey : Solid.  Overall I'm pleased with this signing, at least compared to GK's we have signed in the past (Brkic, Olsen).  I wouldn't say he's better than Glykos but certainly doesn't seem worse.  On the plus side he's a good age.  I'm a little unsure why he's been dropped in favor of Paschalakis in recent games as I don't think he's played badly.

Paschalakis : Solid.  Surprise packet #1.  It's still early too judge him but he seems to be quite decent.

l think we are all right for GK's.  Once Glykos comes back it will be interesting to see how it all plays out as I consider all 3 GK's to be of a similar standard.

Defense

Matos : Solid.  Doing what he does.  Could be the best signing of the Savvidis era.  He is something else.

Zambrano : Solid.  I think he's part of the reason why we have such a good defensive record.  It's disappointing he's leaving.  His wages are very high and it appears this is the reason the club is letting him go.

Varela : Solid.  Can't really complain.

Crespo : Solid.  But seemed to have regressed a little (I thought he was our best CB last season).  Seems to have picked up his form a little with more game time now that Zambrano and Leovac are not playing.

Leovac : Average.  Some good games and some mediocre ones.  I won't be disappointed if he leaves.

Leveque : Fail.  Not his fault but we should not have signed an injury prone player.

Malezas : Solid.  Has played well recently when he has been selected.  Can't ask for more than that.

We obviously need to sign a CB and a LB to replace Zambrano and Leovac.  At a minimum I would hope the CB is at a similar level to Crespo/Varela.  For the LB obviously I would like a clone of Matos but we will see what the winter transfer period brings.

Midfield

Mauricio : Average.  I know he has had some good matches and when he is playing well he is a level above the other midfielders (Canas, Cimirot) but given his wages I was expecting even more.  To be fair he started off slow so I'm looking for more in the second half of the season.

Canas : Average.  At one stage I thought he would not play for us again.  He is a limited player but if you play him as a straight 6 that is where he does best.  With some matches recently seems to be finding some form finally.

Cimirot : Solid.  What can I say he is a very consistent player.

Kace : Disappointing.  Has not managed to get any meaningful game time and I don't think he will get any more in the second half of the season.  It really is time the team let this kid go.

Pelkas : Solid.  Surprise packet #2.  His recent form has been very good since El Khaddouri got injured and he got his opportunity.  I hope he goes from strength to strength.

Biseswar : Disappointing.  After his form towards the end of last season I really thought he would take that number 10 role and make it his.  Not to be.  I hope he can get some more game time as I think he has the biggest "x" factor of all our midfielders and on his day can destroy the opposition.

Shakhov : Disappointing.  I don't see him being anything more than a rotation player unfortunately.

El Khaddouri : Disappointing.  Is still struggling to impose himself on the game.

Vierinha : Average.  Given his wages he should be the best player on the team.  Don't get me wrong.  He is solid but I'm not seeing him dictate the game the way I was hoping.  Signed for obvious talismanic reason.  On the plus side, he can play multiple roles.

I don't think we need to sign any midfielders.  There is plenty of depth and they are all solid players ... in theory.  The only problem is the fluctuating form of the players.  Lucescu needs to find a way to get the best out of them.

Forwards

Mak : Disappointing.  Very disappointing.  I thought he was going to tear up the SL.

Limnios : Solid.  Surprise packet #3.  Given this kid is only 19 I have high hopes for him.  Hopefully he continues to get game time.

Djalma : Solid.  Similar to Cimirot you know what you are (and are not) going to get.

Koulouris : Average.  Really confused as to what he is doing in our squad to be honest.

Prijovic : Solid.  Is key to our season even if he has been disappointing away from home.  I was hoping for even more goals but maybe I am being greedy or unrealistic.

I think we need to sign a striker to rotate with and complement Prijovic.

Edited by Bananas

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