Vassilis Samprakos writes about the derby, but also about other big matches in the 19th round.
The current league has shown us that competitive interest lies not only in derbies but also in other matches between the big boys and the title contenders. Such a match awaits us. In the matches of the 19th day of the tournament, we encounter matches that have the characteristics that make them very exciting. It is no easy task for AEK to visit Peristeri to face a team that has improved and become so effective that it has play-off ambitions in mind. It seems to be an easy task for PAOK in Volos, which is experiencing a series of negative results, but it is not an easy task for Panathinaikos when it hosts Asteras Tripoli, on the one hand because the Fatih Terim team is bearing fatigue and exhaustion. From the absences after the derby and extra time in the return match with Olympiacos and on the other hand because Asteras also maintains its ambitions to participate in the qualifiers. But the competition match is the one that will be held on Sunday evening at the “Kleanthis Fikilides” Stadium.
Vassilis Samprakos talks about Aris' qualification, AEK's attack and the impact of the match on Panathinaikos
I tend to be interested in betting odds, which I consider to be an easy way to estimate the odds of teams in matches. I often find a lot of meaning in the odds and the odds of winning derived from them for each team. However, the case of this particular match is one where I don't quite understand the logic of those setting the odds. According to the odds for this match, Olympiacos starts as a 54% favorite to win, while the “expected” chances of winning through the “ace’s” performance are about 20%.
If we look at the “form”, that is, the imprint of the teams' last 5 matches, we can see that Aris achieved better results. If he takes into account his image in the big matches, against PAOK and AEK, and his performance on the attacking side against Panaetokos, he comes to the conclusion that Aris is on the rise. Olympiacos creates a feeling of improvement, but the lack of results has created a state of anger for the coach, who has not completed two months in his new team. If you look at the motivation, you will find that there are equally strong motivating factors, considering that Mars’ motivation to reduce the distance to two degrees from the last place that is awarded the European ticket, fourth, is not small. Yes, Olympiacos clearly have the instincts of a team chasing the title, but Aris also needs to feel good about itself for the first time this season after qualifying against AEK in the quarter-finals of the cup.
Taking all of the above into account, one is left with the feeling that what we will see on Sunday is an unexpected derby, a “50-50” match. If there is a winner, it will be the team that gains the most benefits from the three points. For Olympiacos, it will be a boost to the coach's confidence at a time when he needs it most. For Aris, it will be a success that puts his coach in a position to believe he has changed the dynamics of his team this season after five months on the job.
No one can know whether Aris will be proven “emptied” after qualifying against AEK or whether Olympiacos will prove to be a team that failed to regroup after the disappointment of being eliminated against Panathinaikos. But before this game even starts, you have reason to expect a showdown between two teams desperate to win. This match looks like it could be a turning point in the path of both. A turning point for the winner, if there ever was one.
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