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Everything posted by paokarag4

  1. Definitely on the whole, the run in Europe has been a success. It is just bitterly disappointing to lose in the manner which we did. No fight or passion shown, no real chances created over 180 minutes of football. The fact that Brugge came with so many starters out and still completely controlled the game speaks volume for how much better they were. Taison (at times), was the only player on the pitch who looked like he could cut it at that level. Again, you can lose to a better team. It's the way we lost which stings the most.
  2. Considering how we played, a 1-0 defeat is actually a good result and the tie is well and truly alive. These poor performances are becoming a bit of a habit, the only positive is we seem to bounce back well so hopefully we see an improved performance in Thessaloniki from the boys. Like after the 1st leg vs Dinamo, I don't think we will be that toothless in attack for a 2nd straight game, especially at home. Brugge completely controlled the tempo of the game, their goal was like a training drill, there was never any pressure on the ball during the whole passage of play. They forced us to play slow when we had the ball, and we were more than happy to oblige and play with no energy or movement. Only times we looked threatening was with Taison on a few occasions. Whenever they wanted to, it seemed they could create a chance. Again not dissimilar to the Dinamo 1st leg, Brugge are not a defensive juggernaut we simply made them look so. If we put pressure on their defense (which is now missing half of its starters through suspension) we are good for a goal at Toumba. The week off will do us good, it's been a long season.
  3. Yeah I dare say it will be Taison at LW. Murg out also solves another potential dilemma for Lucescu, it means Konstantelias will start at the 10 and will probably rotate with Taison throughout the game. I expect Zivkovic to start over Despodov on the right. Otherwise it will be business as usual with the starting 11. I would expect Schwab to partner Meite and Otto to start over Vieirinha at right back. Not sure if he'll go with Thomas or Samatta up top. Probably Thomas I imagine but wouldn't be surprised either way. From what I can see, Brugge have plenty of young players who play in their attacking line so expect plenty of pace and energy. Their Brazilian striker Igor Thiago has scored 16 goals in the Belgian league so far and another 4 in Europe. He is moving to the Premier League in the summer to join Brentford for 30 million Euros. One to keep an eye on.
  4. Tight game, AEK looked a little more dangerous when breaking forward. We had our moments too, got into some okay positions but we lacked the final ball. AEK noticeably sat back once they scored, affording us more space. Bad game for Taison to be sick, he would be handy right about now. I think we are good for a goal here, our performance has been improved compared to previous visits. Let's see how the 2nd half goes, I except to see Samatta sooner rather than later, to match it with AEK's physical CBs
  5. Big fan of Tifo they produce some great stuff! I remember when the Savvidis one came out I thought it would take something like this for us to graduate to this level of social media😅 As you point out though pash, it doesn't harp too much on the incident and is rather an informative piece on Ivan and his background, as well as highlighting just a few of the issues with Greek football.
  6. PAO isn't a threat IMO for the title. They shot themselves in the foot by sacking Jovanovic. AEK losing was the best result for us. We now go to the OPAP Arena where a point is good result, a win is an unbelievable result. The issue is, as Blackhawk points out is finding a way to beat AEK. We match-up poorly and their pressing causes us all sorts of problems, especially when we play away. Lucescu needs to come up with a way in which we can beat their press or give them the ball and press them back. Because us building up from the back is inviting pressure and AEK will feed off our errors.
  7. Great win! Keeps us in touch with AEK at the top and puts a small gap between us and the 2 chasing teams. Then again with so many tough games, these leads of 5-6 points can vanish real quick. Every game is essentially a 6 point swing. As for the game itself, while we did invite pressure in the 2nd half and it was nerve racking, I'd say for the most part we defended well and restricted their chances to opportunities outside the box, except for the one header that was nicely saved by Kotarski. We were disciplined and kept a good shape (until we went 3-1 up and then there we were quickly reminded of how much hard work can be done via a lapse in concentration). I feel for Samatta, it seems written in the stars that he won't score for us again this season😅 He deserved a goal today. Nevertheless, it's good to see he has overcome some of his mental demons and he is now contributing to the team. He definitely has a role to play heading into the final part of the season.
  8. The final was a random draw, it fell Georgia's way. Their stadium holds 55k, it will be packed and the atmosphere will be electric. Tough road trip for us for sure. As for today's game, so proud of the lads that was a great performance. Foot down from the start, showed they are a better team and kept going until the game was completely safe. The team has definitely developed more of a killer edge under Poyet. Credit to him and the players, I don't think there has been one game in his tenure that we lost where we were expected to win. We beat the teams we should, that is how we topped our group in the Nations League, that is how we stayed in touch with France and the Netherlands during qualifying and that is now why we are one win away from our first major tournament in 10 years.
  9. Still a few days to go but early media reports suggesting Poyet will start with this team --------------Vlachodimos Baldock---Mavropanos--Chatzidiakos---Tsimikas ------Siopis/Kourbelis---Mantalos Masouras--------Bakasetas--------Pelkas ----------------Ioannidis -Siopis and Kourbelis battling it out for a spot (I wouldn't be surprised to see them both start) -Pelkas is coming off around a 2-month layoff with injury. He played about 25 mins for his club on the weekend off the bench and managed to grab an assist. He may be deemed not fit enough to start. In that instance apparently one of Konstantelias or Tzolis would start. -Vlachodimos and Chatzidiakos have not played for their clubs since January. So hopefully they aren't too rusty out of the blocks. https://www.sport24.gr/football/ethniki-elladas-oi-protes-skepseis-toy-poget-gia-ti-megali-machi-me-to-kazakstan.10284917.html
  10. Yeah they have definitely improved and are a threat. I am sure the team and Poyet wouldn't take them lightly anyway, but us as fans need to expect a tough match. One legged ties can be really tense and cagey, especially with so much riding on it. Who can forget Italy being knocked out of World Cup qualifying 2 years ago when Skopje absorbed pressure for 90 minutes and struck in stoppage time.
  11. Ones to avoid are for sure are Aston Villa (4th in England) and Lille (4th in France) IMO. Fenerbahçe/Plzen/Club Brugge would all be close to 50-50s. Olympiakos I want to avoid until at least the semis, don't think Greece is ready for an all Greek European tie. I imagine plenty of chaos if we were to be drawn together and UEFA would probably get a proper look at our xalia. Fiorentina is having an average year in Italy (currently 8th) but you have to respect their name. I put them as close to the 50-50 category, probably 60-40 in their favour.
  12. Unbelievable come-back and result!!! Huge effort by the boys and hats off to Lucescu, he heard plenty after the last 2 weeks so I hope he gets to enjoy and really soak in the victory/qualification! He and the team can put their feet up and savour the result for a week or so and then get back to work during the international break for the game against PAO! Bravo PAOKARA!!!
  13. A goal within 15 minutes would be massive. It would do wonders for our confidence and get the fans right into the game. I think the game will be tight and cagey as the first leg was, hopefully the mistake comes from Dinamo this time and we can capitalize. For all the criticism he has copped (and of late it has been deserved) I do think Samatta is our best option to start up top in this one. He will at least physically compete with the packed defence and can link up with his teammates. Thomas is invisible against these types of teams, off the bench his energy can give us something, but not from the start. I am receptive to Tzimas starting over both of them, but I am conscious that he is 18 and it's going to be a tough physical slog for whoever our striker is. The boys just need to be competitive and create some chances, that would be a massive improvement on our last 2 games. If we do that I am confident we can grab a goal at some stage and put the heat on them.
  14. I honestly think he won't start either. Mavropanos/Chatzidiakos has been Poyet's preferred CB pairing while he's been at the helm. The only question mark is Chatzidiakos as he hasn't played for around 2 months. I dare say Retsos will start before either Kouilerakis/Tzavellas gets a run. I do agree though, the Tzavellas saga is strange. They are hell bent on carrying him to Euro 2024 but I thought he would go along as a part of the coaching staff.
  15. Kouilerakis and Konstantelias called up to the Ethniki for the do or die playoff v Kazakhstan and a potential playoff final vs Georgia or Luxembourg.
  16. Giannoulis out injured, only one left-back in the squad. Good to see Tzolis back in, deserved call-up. I don't really understand what is going on with Tzavellas. He apparently played his last game for the Ethniki in November, yet he continues to be a part of the call-ups. It was my understanding he would be a member of the coaching staff/a mentor of sorts. They clearly want to take him to the Euros if we qualify, but again if that is the case then why retire? Or if he is done as a player and is just a part of the coaching staff, then why does he need to be included in the playing squad? Not a big deal but it doesn't make any sense to me.
  17. One thing to lose, another thing to lose like that. Awful performance with barely a punch thrown from us. We've had a few awful performances this season sprinkled amongst the good performances and results. Obviously going to be tough next week, I do give us a chance (albeit a small one) of winning by 2 goals and forcing the game to extra time. I don't think our attack will be that toothless for a 2nd game in a row and while Dinamo defended well, we certainly helped by moving the ball so slowly and with our countless turnovers. If we put the screws to them and have players run at them and get in behind they will concede goals, they aren't a defensive juggernaut by any means. I do think they'll score though, so I think we are going to have score at least three to force extra time and based off today's performance you can't say we will be scoring 3 with any confidence.
  18. I believe I read it was Zivko Zivkovic the keeper, not Andrija with the fever. Clearly something going through the squad, at least A.Zivko and Kotarski have recovered from it and are fit for this game. Hopefully this flu doesn't take down any other key players.
  19. With the injuries to Ekong and Michalidis, it means Nasberg is going to get games at least until the international break in mid-March. Reading reports, it seems Kedizora will be rested for this one with Nasberg starting alongside Koulierakis. Less than ideal to be down to bare bones at CB, especially at this stage of the season. We are one injury away from it all going belly up. I'm sure I read when we signed Otto that he had played a handful of games for Wolves at centre back, but I think that was part of a back 5. Not sure any of our full-backs can cover at CB if needed, the kid from the B team Panagiotou will almost certainly get some minutes over the next month.
  20. Not sure if that's heartbreaking or comedy... To have 3 opportunities in the shootout to win the game and to miss all three penalties is unbelievable. Otherwise I think the team played the game almost perfectly, limited PAO to creating very little and deserved to qualify. Great to see a response from the squad and Lucescu, in terms of performance. Hopefully the boys aren't too rattled by the way which the elimination came about and can recover both physically and mentally to get 3 points on the weekend.
  21. Awful result. Opportunity to go clear on top and knock Olympiakos out of the running goes begging. Instead we are now neck deep in a 4 horse race. Clearly a concerning trend with regards to 3 home derbies in a week for 0 wins. Now the midweek 2nd leg of the cup tie becomes so important, mentally for the team to be winless in 4 derbies in the space of 10 days could be fatal. The team needs to stick together and bounce back strong, block out all the outside noise (and there will be plenty, I've already read knee-jerk reactions about our season being over) and get to work. Hit the game at Leoforo hard, and absolutely win our next 3 league games. Make no mistake we are still in the race, but we have shot ourselves in the foot over the last week. If we win our last 3 league games before the playoffs, this bump will be in the rear view mirror. If we don't then it will feel like the end of the world (footballing wise).
  22. With PAO dropping points overnight, it's a big opportunity for us to create a little lead at the top of the table over them. A win would also extinguish what little flame still flickers for Olympiakos title hopes. If they manage to beat us, the difference will only be 4 points. A win puts us 10 clear of them, so the 6 point swing is massive. Hopefully the lads are up for it from the start. With Taison suspended (and carrying a niggle anyway) I'm looking forward to seeing Konstantelias hopefully start. He may still come off the bench, woulnd't shock me to see Lucescu start Murg as the 10, and Zivkovic/Despodov on the wings.
  23. I believe every club can request one league game to be pushed back due to European Competition. We did it a couple of years ago in our Conference League quarter final run. For Olympiakos, a run in Europe is all they have left. Qualifying for the round of 16 is massive for them and keeps their season alive so it makes sense they do not want a game in between, especially a derby. For us, I guess we are willing to accept because of the 2nd leg against PAO midweek. I wonder if Lucescu and the club new about this pre kick-off though, and if it would have affected his choices for the starting 11.
  24. Didn't catch the game, but based on the highlights we deserved at least a goal. Pana could have had a 2nd with that Sporar shot from close range that Kotarski saved brillianty. As for Taison-Bakasetas incident, disappointing that we will be missing Taison from either the Olympiako game (if it goes ahead) or the 2nd leg. I am a fan of Bakasetas and what he has done with the Ethniki, but a player losses instant respect in my eyes when they wanna act tough, engage in the push and shove and then the switch flips and they hit the deck like a sack of sh1t. You wanna step to an opposition player fine do it, but stand your ground manga. I know he's not the first and he won't be the last to do it, but not a good look for any player. I am glad the Dutch ref didn't buy his awfully acted performance and he was sent off too. He would be feeling foolish right now.
  25. Had honestly never heard of this kid until a few weeks ago. 22 year old right-back, born and raised in Athens but he never played professional football in Greece. Instead he moved to Italy's regional leagues at 18 and has since worked his way up the divisions until he was playing Serie B for 2 seasons. His performances caught the eye of Ligue 1 strugglers Lorient, who forked out between 1.5-2.4 million (mixed reports) to snap him up in January. Since moving last month he has played in 3 games, scoring in his 2nd game (a 2-1 win) and assisting over the weekend (a 2-0 win). They are 2 wins and a draw in his three appearances, doubling their win tally in the space of 2 weeks and moving off the bottom of the table. It looks like he has been playing as a right-wing back since moving, as part of a back 5. This kids story is pretty incredible, he has risen from nowhere really doing it the hard way to now be playing in one of Europe's big 5 leagues. Not sure how far he can go and if he is Ethniki calibre atm, but either way his story is pretty cool. Good luck to him and Lorient in their fight for survival! https://www.transfermarkt.com/panos-katseris/leistungsdatendetails/spieler/816308/wettbewerb/FR1/saison/2023
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