Yiannis Seritis writes about the 'shot' of the four 'Europeans', their transfer needs and a crucial January for all, with different risks for each.
January has arrived, and everyone is waiting for transfers. It seems they will be more active Olympic And Panathinaikos. Makes sense for the red and white team who failed in many moves in the summer, but at the same time managed to “burn” players like Solbakken who is definitely not one of… bloodsuckers. It also makes sense for Panathinaikos, who officiated five days before the cup tie with Olympiacos and nine days before the Opap Arena, not to use a central defender despite Magnusson being ruled out for four months (as you can see, it's not just Ivan who is late…) .
The Greens, who succeeded in landing Dimitris Limnios at the age of 25, not only need a starting goalkeeper (Schenkeveld is no longer at the level the team wants him to be) and a better eight-stopper than Velina Sirin, but it is still unknown what he will do. Unpredictable Terim. : He might start Aarau's goalkeeper and move to the defensive midfielder, who knows… Eek He's really just looking for a full-back after being eliminated from Europe as well as Panathinaikos after losing them 4/4 in their last matches: whatever he gets – if he gets it, it will be good for the federation and of course with a long-term perspective.
The big question mark is o PAOK The one thing that hasn't been written about in the last month is that it's a mixture of Manchester City and Real Madrid with a bit of Liverpool and some of the aura of Girona. In my opinion, PAOK should definitely get a goalkeeper, both at right-back and forward, but it is clear that he knows better. “They,” in groups, always know best. But the danger he faces is three-fold: a) That he doesn't improve at all because he's now “winning” players who didn't bid in the first half of the first round b) That he thinks he's become a champion Metal team like they were undefeated in 2019 because they shot 4-5 -6 Ares and caused the discontent of the world this year. c) Considering that Lucescu is not only the best coach of Greece, the Balkans and Europe but perhaps also of our galaxy and the universe.
The “necessity” that starts now for PAOK
The fourth factor that is no less important: PAOK has so far been the only one who did not have what he “should have” for the tournament. AEK started with a double header, so obvious hits were eliminated. Terim has certainly said the word 'heroism' more than 'Panathinaikos' since the day he arrived in Greece. Olympiacos was under unbearable pressure for the title even in 1988, when they finished eighth, even though they had been champions the previous season. But PAOK started differently. With a very low bar. He did a very good job! We saw where he reached thanks to the work of the technical staff and players, the management of the administrators and Savides, and the composure in the corners.
But now things have changed. It was changed by the team itself, and exaggerated by the media and fans. Now… great expectations! He's the first, and he's undoubtedly playing better than everyone else, but his first derby win was Sunday's match at Cleanthes Phiclidis. The first after their rise to the top, the first as “the team that plays the best football in Greece” as everyone says. January will be crucial for PAOK as well: mainly in terms of whether it will strengthen or not, and not for its results with Ari away from home and with the departure of Panathinaikos Toumba: even if it is negative (which I don't see…) it is not enough to knock him out. But as for whether he will make the same mistake as the Greens did last winter transfer window, who were desperate for a stylish eight and a winger who would score at least half of Aitor's goals/assists, but in the end they got Kleinheisler and Mancini…
“Eternal” is in great danger with the changes of coaches
However, January will be more decisive for Olympiacos and Panathinaikos! The atmosphere in these two teams, their results and their (late) transfers could permanently and irrevocably knock them out of the title race, irreparably distancing them from the Doubleheaders. Especially the very fragile Olympiacos who takes everything “very heavy”: inexplicably celebrates victories, sinking even more into defeats. But also Panathinaikos, which is a big question mark with Terim and it is very doubtful if it will withstand the shocks if it is knocked out of the cup by (this) Olympiacos and it has negative results in OPAP Arena and Toumba that will take it away. From the top.
If AEK find the spark to make it two back-to-back doubles, they will be favorites
As for AEK? In my opinion, the main problem that Almeida was asked to solve was the torch! So far, he doesn't have the same desire for the cup as he did last year in league matches, with the exception of the derby. The capsule translates to many things: focus, passion, seriousness, consistency, many things! In my opinion, AEK showed all of this in his European group matches. Whether I won or lost, those who played gave 100%! For each of them 100%, which, as it turned out, was not enough for this level. But all this was not enough due to bad luck in some matches, due to injuries in heavy metal training among adults over 30 years old, and clearly due to the lack of quality depth in their defensive line, especially in the most difficult group in the European League, in which the lottery sent them.
If the Union finds that flame, it will once again be the first favorite, given that it does not bear any European obligations. But it's not easy at all: 95% of its players lifted both cups last year. It made sense (also for Almeida), but it was also costly in the first half of the season to have more excitement in the matches with Ajax, Marseille and Brighton than in the matches with Panserikos, Ovi and Kifisia. But from now on their responsibility will be huge. And the players who have proven they 'have it' and the coach who has also proven they 'have it'. Especially in the derby, where the championship will also be decided – in the playoffs. If the union does not succeed, the responsibility will fall entirely on its shoulders.
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