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Mid Year Analysis 2019-2020

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Back by popular demand, well actually just @pash but I'll take what I can get, we have the mid year analysis for season 2019-2020.

Note that I haven't watched many games this year instead using highlights, forums, articles to form my opinions.


Domestically good, in Europe bad.

Getting Ajax in the draw was the gods laughing at us but we played admirably.  Being eliminated to Slovan Bratislava was unacceptable.

Domestically, importantly, we are in the title race. The team started off unusually conceding goals game after game.  It appears to be due to the loss of form of Paschalakis and Varela who are both well below their form of last year and with Zivkovic and Ingason becoming starters the defense seems to be performing at a much better level, especially in the last run of games.

Of note we haven't won any derbies (all draws) and have conceded in all of them.  This needs to change in the second round and obviously in the play-offs where every game will be a derby.  The only game we were outplayed was against Olympiakos in Athens and even that it was in the second half.  Fair enough they are a good team.  All the other games were there for the taking.

Manager : Abel Ferreira

Overall I am happy with his performance.  He seems to have the club room and that is half the battle of management.  Tactically his line ups and substitutions seem sensible.  It's not easy to take after someone like Lucescu had created history but overall Ferreira seems to have acclimatised well to our league.

He is helping with the development of Giannoulis and Limnios who are getting lots of game time and have improved considerably this year.  Other players have dropped off.  Paschalakis, Varela, and less so Biseswar but how much this is due to Ferreira and how much is due to the players I don't know.

I said of Lucescu after he was at PAOK for 6 months "I dare say he could be the first manager we keep for more than 12 months in the Savvidis era" and the same applies to Ferreira.  It feels odd to have two competent managers in a row.  Definitely a first for us PAOK fans.  I don't see any reason other than him getting a big offer from another league or the team having a melt down for him being replaced.

Goal Keepers

Paschalakis : Disappointing.  Huge drop in form.  Almost each game at the beginning of the season we were expecting him to make a mistake.  I love his craziness though (his reaction when he saved the penalty against CSKA Moscow is priceless).  It's fair to say we all expected him to be the first team keeper this season but now it's hard to say when, or if, he'll get another opportunity.

Zivkovic: Solid.  Has stepped up when we needed him.  He was signed to be the backup keeper and the truth is no one knows how a player will play until the time comes.  Zivkovic has handled the pressure well and if his form continues, there is no reason why he won't remain the first team keeper.

I think we are all right for keepers but at the same time if Zivkovic gets injured I don't feel too confident in Paschalakis stepping up.  I have serious doubts as to whether he can play at the same level as last season.  Maybe it was just a freak season for him.  In addition, I have no idea what our third choice keeper is like.  In the event of a long term injury to Zivkovic I don't know if we'd try and buy another keeper or recall Rey or Melissas.  This would be a tricky scenario.


Matos : Solid.  I don't think he's quite at the heights of last season where he was saving us with his headers but overall he's having a good season.

Giannoulis: Very good.  Surprise packet #1.  I expected once Vierinha recovered he would take over the LB position or we would buy another LB as I really didn't think Giannoulis was good enough to be anything other than a backup player. 5 assists so far is very good.  If he maintains his form he will be our LB for the rest of the season.

Varela: Disappointing.  BIg drop in form from last season.  I hope that watching Ingason from the bench fires him up.  The fact he gets paid double what the other defenders get paid and is expected to be a leader only his loss of form even worse.

Crespo: Solid.  He is Mr Reliable.  Seems to have stepped up a gear since partnering with Ingason.

Ingason: Very good.  Surprise packet #2.  I suppose we all thought he would be pretty good considering how much we paid for him (our record transfer at 4 million) but I've been surprised at the ease and with which he's done so.  Varela should be very worried, and motivated, by this.  Also it's very good to see he has a knack for getting into good offensive positions on set pieces and has a pretty tidy total of 4 goals which is crazy when you think he hasn't played in half the games.  Nothing makes me happier than getting a cheap goal off a set piece.  This is probably a psychological issue born of being on the receiving end of it for so many years.

Rodrigo: Can't really comment as he has had very little game time.  He doesn't appear to be at the level of Matos but it's really hard to say.  Maybe if he gets a run of games he will prove me wrong.

I think we are all right defensively especially if Varela can get some form.  At RB and LB I believe if either Matos or Giannoulis are injured Vierinha can cover those positions.  Not sure if Rodrigo is a long term replacement for Matos.  I am not sure if he is at the level we need.


Esiti: Disappointing.  Has not turned out to be the player I expected.  I pictured him as a Canas but much more physical.  He has lost his place in the team and I wonder if Ferreria doesn't want him in the team.  WIth Mauricio recovering from injury and the rise of Misic he is last in the pecking order, which is surprising as I pictured him partnering Mauricio this season as first choice in the midfield.

Augusto : Average.  Seems to play all right without being exceptional in any particular way.  On the plus side he is still very young at 22.  It's not like he's been terrible, but at the same time he's not taking games by the scruff of the neck the way Misic has.

Mauricio : Average.  Seems to be finally getting close to match fitness.  He is along with Misic is our best midfielder.  Hopefully he gets to the form of last season.

Misic : Excellent.  Surprise packet #3.  MVP so far this season.  From being 6th choice behind Wernbloom, Mauricio, Oliveira, Shakhov, Canas to 1st choice.  I commend him.  With a return of 5 goals and 6 assists that says it all.  Not only that but it's the way he's done it.  He often forces the game when we need a spark.  I expect him to lead the midfield with hopefully a full fit Mauricio in the second half of the season.

Pelkas : Average.  He hasn't been poor but he hasn't improved considerably either.  Maybe this is his ceiling.  I'm ok with that and I'm happy to have him as a rotation player but I'm not sure if he's happy to do that.  If he wants to take the number 10 position and make it his he needs to do more.  I just don't think he has it in him to do it week to week.

Biseswar :  Average.  First things first, I love this guy.  His lackadaisical style, his technique, he is a pleasure to watch.  I will miss him when he leaves us.  But he hasn't been playing at a consistent enough level.  I think rotation actually suits him and he's been getting too many starts this season.  I expect and am hoping we get more from him.

El Kaddouri : Average.  It's funny to think that Misic is a midfielder and has 5 goals and 6 assists and El Khaddouri is an "attacking" midfielder and has 0 goals and 0 assists.  As discussed in other threads he has quality but he's definitely not someone you can rely on week to week.  Still, having him on the bench and on rotation is a nice option.

I think we are all right for midfielders.  Much of this is due to luck as no one expected the rise of Misic.  We have enough quality to see us out for this season.


Stoch : Very disappointing.  He's had flashes of brilliance but overall he's been poor.  Considering the hype it's all been for nought.  It's a surprise considering how good a season he had at his previous team.  Voted most likely to leave the club during the winter break.

Lambrou : Very disappointing.  Harsh assessment considering he's gotten no playing time.  I just hope he sticks it out and bides his time until he gets his chance.  I just want to see if the kid has "got it" because it seems like he has something to offer.

Jaba : Disappointing.  Has not played anywhere near the same level as last season.

Vierinha : Average.  Hasn't been at his best but that's to be expected.  He's slowly getting match fitness.  Still, his presence alone on the pitch works wonders.  He is our talisman.

Limnios : Good.  Surprise packet #4.  Has improved considerably over last season.  He is scoring more often.  It's like something has "clicked".  Still has more to do and can sometimes have quiet games but overall I'm very happy with his progress.  Let's not forget he's only 21.

Swiderski : Very good.  His job is to score goals and he's delivered.  Very happy with his game overall.  He has that "Prijovic" like quality of being able to score easy goals unlike say Akpom who has to work like a mad man to score.  It's always good to have a striker like this in your team.

Akpom : Disappointing.  A harsh assessment I agree, but I really thought he'd be our main striker this season.  I think Ferreria has worked out he's not a "natural" striker.  He does so many other good things on and off the ball but he doesn't have the easy goal in him.  Still, he has his positives and in derbies where it's going to be tough with lots of running I'd play him over Swiderski every time.

I think we are all right for attackers.  We have enough quality to see us out for this season.


I have to agree with Ferreira.  I see no reason to bring in any transfers unless a player is sold.  There is no obvious position that needs to be filled and there is more than enough quality and depth to see out the season.

Edited by Bananas
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Regarding Matos - I think Ferreira's preferred formation has basically resulted in him being left farther back than he played under Lucescu, on purpose. Basically as a third CB who could function as a pivot. I would have thought that he and Giannoulis would rotate more as far as who plays farther up goes, but either Ferreira is very reliant on Matos' superior defending ability, or he just wants him to get less tired during games.


The thing about our midfield is that we have a few decent players and then a lot of averageness. We need an Oliveira-type in there. Esiti doesn't have any ability to pass or attack (can this be fixed? hopefully!), which limits his usefulness. Augusto is, as you say, just average. Misic is the only one who really kicks ass out there (and hoo boy does he kick ass).


Akpom and Swiderski are very different players from each other. I like them both. Hell, I'd like to see them both play together more often.


Pelkas and Biseswar, btw, are both being played out of position in this formation. Biseswar has to play farther back in order to cover our underperforming midfield (and can't physically get up front fast enough to attack)....while Pelkas *can* cover the midfield by running, but ends up being physically exhausted and mentally out of sorts when it happens as often as it does. I think if the midfield starts to really click, that he'll be much better. We really shouldn't be relying on our attacking midfielders to play both DM and ST...

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Είναι εύκολο να πας στην κορυφή, δύσκολο να διατηρηθείς. Η ομάδα έχει τους περισσότερους παίκτες σε λίγο ή πολύ χειρότερη κατάσταση από πέρυσι και παρόλο αυτά πάμε καλά. Το μεγάλο αγκάθι ήταν η Ευρώπη. Πλέον μόνο ο πρωταθλητής θα πηγαίνει στο Τσάμπιονς Λιγκ.

Είμαι πολύ ευχαριστημένος που παρότι κομβικοί παίκτες δεν αποδίδουν καλά, καταφέρνουμε και παίρνουμε τα αποτελέσματα που θέλουμε. Και έχω μία αίσθηση ότι οι κακές κινήσεις τύπου Χατσερίδη ή Μπερμπάτοφ θα σταματήσουν από τους Ιβάν και Γιωργάκη.

Είμαστε σε τροχιά ανόδου και ελπίζω και στις επόμενες μεταγραφικές περιόδους να καταφέρουμε να ρίξουμε τον μέσο όρο ηλικιακά και να βρούμε λαυράκια που θα μοσχοπουλήσουμε τα επόμενα χρόνια.

Το πιο σημαντικό που με κάνει χαρούμενο είναι το κλίμα. Βλέπω χαμόγελα, βλέπω παίκτες με διάθεση, βλέπω ακόμα και τους παγκίτες να μην εκνευρίζονται και κανένας να μην το παίζει υπεράνω. Μεγάλη επιτυχία του Φερέιρα που δεν πίστευα ότι θα τα καταφέρει.

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Good comments pash.  There is just something about Matos charging up the wing and into the box that I love.  Agree about our midfield and getting an "Oliveira" quality player.

Good comments Yiankos.  I totally agree about the love affairs with Katcheridi and Berbatov, what a waste of time and money.  I agree about dropping the median age of the team, especially in the back line where in the next 2 to 3 years Matos, Crespo, Varela and Vieirinha will all be gone.  Add to that Mauricio and Biseswar.  This is why I am not keen on selling players like Giannoulis but if a big offer comes in then fair enough.  Overall the squad is strong even if as you say the form of players is up and down.

Hopefully we will find players in the future that are at least as good as what we have.  Ideally we try and go the next level and get even better.  We have the resources, and I believe the players are out there.  The trouble as always is getting them to come to play in Greece.

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Money is the magic word, Banana mou. Why do you think everybody goes to Engeland where it is cold and it rains a lot??!! Even Spaniards go there. And as a Dutch chairman said about his club that plays on artificial turf: you might not like it but if we decide to play on concrete and I am offering 100K more than the other club the players will play for my club!!

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mexri twra den exoume apodeiksei ka8arhh anwterothta se sxesh me tis psarokaseles ki auto einai to zhtoumeno gia to upoloipo tou prwta8lhmatos

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