Τετάρτη, 22 Ιανουαρίου 2014 10:33

Abdisalam Ibrahim signs for Olympiacos

Late last night we confirmed the signing of Abdisalam Ibrahim from Manchester City.

Ibrahim is a young Norwegian (born Somalia) midfielder who has signed a contract for the next three and a half years.

He has been on loan at various clubs (most recently at Stromsgodset in Norway) and will now go on loan to Ergotelis until the end of the season.

Published in English Section
Τετάρτη, 23 Ιανουαρίου 2013 11:40

Torosidis moves to Roma

Vasillis Torosidis has left Olympiakos and joined Roma in a deal worth only half a million euros to our club. Torosidis had decided to leave the club recently and try his luck abroad after refusing to sign a new contract with the club.
The small amount for our captain is all we could manage after facing the possibility of the player leaving on a Bosman move in the summer.

Published in English Section
Κυριακή, 20 Ιανουαρίου 2013 22:14

Vasilis Torosidis to leave Olympiakos

A final announcement from the weekend. Olympiakos FC have announced that our Captain, Vasilis Torosidis, will not be renewing his contract with the club. After six years with the club, he has decided to move abroad to continue his career overseas.

Published in English Section
Δευτέρα, 10 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012 11:31

Champions League

Next week we begin our campaign in the most overrated competition ever, the Champions League. I know that many will not agree with me but I find this the most rigged, biased and boring competition ever. Let me explain....

Firstly it is rigged especially with the initial draw - country protection, byes and team seeding ensure that the four teams from England, Spain and Italy will make up the majority of the top two places in each group draw. The system is set up so that the numbers of teams from smaller countries are slashed in half before the group stage itself when the teams from the big 5 countries even enter.

The competition is boring, far more boring than the previous European cup. Does anyone truly doubt that the last 16 teams in the competition will be the 3-4 teams from England, 3-4 from Spain, 3-4 from Italy, 2-3 from Germany and 1-2 from France with only 1 or 2 places being made for the teams from the rest of Europe (ourselves included). Its the same every year and has been the same for the past 15 years at least.
It's no surprise that the majority of the money goes to teams in the last 16 stages and onwards. The money goes to the richest clubs and everyone else has to make do with the scraps. The big teams can then buy their way into the competition next year and repeat ad infinitum.

The only way that this competition could improve would be to set all countries to have the same amount of teams with no seeding, byes or country protection. However both UEFA and the big teams (which basically run the organisation) would ever want such a level playing field (ignore the pun) and so the biased and rigged system remains.

Even when a team plays well, the larger teams are pushed by the organisation. All too often I have seen our goals be ruled offside and perhaps too often to be ignored. I don't think I need to remind the readers of Okkas in Monaco, Derbyshire against Bordeaux, both games against Lazio where their offside goals remained on the scoresheet but our legimate goals were disallowed. Probably the most blatant push by the referees was the home game against Newcastle which has to go down in history for the worst corruption ever seen by the officials in one of our matches.

However even if the system was altered, the problem would still remain as the competition would still be one-sided simply through the money which has been accumulated for the big clubs over 10 or 20 years (or where some rich Arab/Russian has simply bought a team and bought all the best players). All of the best players are in just 5 leagues now - about 20 years ago were spread throughout Europe at different clubs so this allowed the likes of Zvezda to win the competition back in the early nineties. This would never happen nowadays.

Even the most ardent supporter of the Champions League would agree that the current format wasn't brought in to improve competition. It was introduced as :-

  • The big clubs at the time didn't want the risk of early knock-outs as it affected their income.
  • The TV companies wanted the big clubs in as long as possible for viewing figures and advertising revenue.

However these changes only benefitted the greedy few who were lucky enough to be successful in either Spain, Italy or England. The rules were altered in their favour to keep them at the top of the competitions

Wow, now thats a rant and a rambling one too. Anyway to sum up, the Champions League can go kiss my backside and I'd much rather watch the Superleague any day of the week. I'll support our team in Europe of course but I'd be happier with the domestic titles instead.

Fuck Modern Football.

Published in English Section
Πέμπτη, 19 Απριλίου 2012 16:58

Ernesto Valverde announces decision to leave Olympiakos

Well, the long expected announcement has been made and Ernesto Valverde will be retiring from Olympiakos at the end of the season. This news had been widely rumoured over the last two weeks but had been formally announced today in a press conference between Ernesto and the chairman Vangelis Marinakis. Ernesto's reasons for leaving the club are personal but it is thought to be family orientated - he wants to see his son grow up and his family never moved across to Greece to be with him in either of his stints with us. Marinakis for his part stated that Ernesto is always welcome to return and thanked the manager for the last two years with the club.

The full statement is a little too long to type out but there was nothing more than mutual thanks and goodwill from both sides. During his time with us, Ernesto Valverde has returned the club back to the champions of the Greek Superleague after a catastrophic year under Ketsbaia, Zico and Bandovic and a european exit under Lienan. We have won two league titles under his reign and are in the final for the Greek Cup this year. In Europe, we managed to beat the reigning Bundesliga champions, the Ligue 1 runners up, thrash Arsenal at home and pass the formidable Rubin Kazan in a subarctic Moscow. All in all (despite some iffy player choices at times) Ernesto Valverde has been nothing but a revelation for us.

We let him leave with nothing but our gratitude and our best wishes for his future.

Published in English Section
Παρασκευή, 16 Μαρτίου 2012 00:03

Olympiakos 1-2 Metalist Kharkov

In tonights game, we welcome Metalist Kharkov to Karaiskaki in the return leg of the Europa League fixture. Last week, we won 1-0 away from home and at least have the advantage of away goals leading into the game. Metalist however had not come to Greece for a holiday and would be expected to give us everything they had. Hopefully though with the crowd acting as twelfth man and some careful play from us, we should have been able to progress into the next round.
There was only really one problem prior to the match with Mellberg being suspended for the match - his position going to Marcano. As the teams filed onto the field, the stadium erupted and the match was ready to begin with us kicking towards the Gate7 end of the stadium.

Chances On Goal
After the start of the match, we went onto the offensive straight away and came close on their goal with a free kick, corner and a shot on goal which bounced off the crossbar. We exerted a large amount of pressure early on in the game winning free kicks in and around their area whilst it wasn't until the 8th minute of the match that Metalist actually had a run with the ball. Fuster had a small chance from an overhead bicycle kick but missed the target. The pressure continued in our favour apart from a lone counter attack from Taison which won the Ukraininan team a corner.

Marcano Scores
We couldn't be denied by Metalist forever and we scored the opening goal in the 15th minute with a header from Marcano at the far end of the net after a beautiful cross (and assist) from Holebas. The goal quickly threatened to be doubled two minutes later by Djebbour after he broke through the centre of their defence. Unfortunately his one-on-one chance was deflected off the keeper and back into play. As the half continued we kept up the pressure and came close yet again with a header fired onto the post by Torosidis and a long range shot going wide of goal courtesy of Holebas. Metalist weren't impotent by any stretch of the imagination but we definitely were having the better of the play up to this point.

More Chances
Metalist started to pick up yellow cards from their poor quality fouls as they tried to fight for possession of the ball in the middle of the pitch. We were still proving to be superior in the match though and almost scored (again) another goal after a terrible backpass from the Ukrainian defence went past their own keeper and almost into the back of their own net. Both Mirallas and Maniatis had shots on goal towards the end of the half whilst Metalist also had an attack for themselves. However, the half ended 1-0 and we had put together a very good performance so far in the game. The only downside was Ibagasa picking up and injury and requiring replacement by Makoun at the very end of the half.

Second Half
The second half bagan where the first ended, with us having a chance on goal and Metalist trying to cope with our attacks. The chance on this occasion coming from a flick by Makoun in front of goal which went overhead. Metalist did seem to have improved since the start of the second half though and were closing us down a lot faster now. This wasn't stopping us from making chances at their end but they were fighting back a lot more. We were remaining compact as a team though and coping with their possession by defending in depth and not allowing any of the Ukrainians to break through.

Metalist Pressurise
Due to their improved play in the second half, we were not having as much joy in the middle of the pitch as the first half and Metalist were starting to gain control of the midfield battle. We were also starting the feel the pressure defensively even though we didn't concede at this stage. We did regain possession after a while and start making some plays for ourselves which led to a couple of chances and a corner before we lost possession and Metalist ended up having a shot against our post at the other end of the pitch.

Metalist Equalise
In the final portion of the game, we continued to have some chances on the Metalist goal but end up then having to clear two chances from the Ukrainians before we concede a penalty for handball in the area. The penalty is taken only for Megyeri to easily save the extremely weak effort and allow us to counter attack at the other end. Metalist finally scored a goal from a cross into the box after Megyeri failed to intercept the ball and the it was bundled over the line. The stage was now set for a fraught final ten minutes of the game, if Metalist scored again they would be going through at our expense.

We were mainly on the defensive now with Metalist coming at us and we had to clear the ball off the line before they managed to score again from the corner and again bundle the ball across the line. We were staring defeat straight in the face now and with little time to react, we brought on Diogo to add more firepower to the team and went back onto the attack. In our rush to attack, we were caught out in a counter attack and narrowly avoided conceding again. After four minutes of additional time, the game ended and with it our run in europe for this year. We played well in the first half only to relax and allow the opposition back into the game. We conceded two sloppy goals and exited europe purely on the back of the second half performance.

Olympiakos 1-2 Metalist Kharkov
15' Marcano
81' Villagra
86' Devic

Olympiakos :- Megyeri, Torosidis, Papadopoulos, Marcano, Holebas, Orbaiz (88' Diogo), Maniatis (59' Modesto), Ibagasa (45' Makoun), Fuster, Mirallas and Djebbour.
Published in English Section
Τετάρτη, 14 Μαρτίου 2012 21:12

Team Announced For Metalist Kharkov

Our players trained today in preparation for the game against Metalist tomorrow in the Europa League. The 18 players announced by Valverde are :-

Goalkeepers (2)
Megyeri, Carroll

Defenders (7)
Torosidis, Modesto, Papazoglou, Marcano, Papadopoulos, Holebas, Maniatis

Midfielders (6)
Orbaiz, Makoun, Kazim-Richards, Abdoun, Ibagasa, Fuster

Attackers (3)
Mirallas, Djebbour, Diogo

The remaining players who were not chosen (Babovic, Potouridis, Fejsa, Daskalakis, Mellberg, Fetfatzidis and Monje) will all train tomorrow at 10.30 instead.
Published in English Section
Πέμπτη, 08 Μαρτίου 2012 22:14

Metalist Kharkov 0-1 Olympiakos

Tonight match saw us kick off against Metalist Kharkov in the last 16 of the Europa League. We had made the journey to a sub-zero Ukraine with a pretty complete team and only had a couple of injury and suspension problems ahead of the match. If we could grab a good victory tonight, we would be well placed in our return tie in Greece next week and hopefully an appareance in the last 8 of the UEFA competition. The weather was -5 celcius when the game kicked off and would only be dropping further as the game progressed which would obviously cause us trouble.

Defensive Beginning.  
Metalist made some aggressive moves at the start of the game although we then grabbed the ball, took it to the other end and won the first corner. Apart from this brief respite though, we were firmly on the defensive in the opening ten minutes and had to make some desperate clearances at times to avoid clear opportunities for the Ukrainians. Both team also spent time fighting for control of the ball in the centre of the pitch and so we had a cagey opening for both sides.

Coping With The Ukrainian Threat
Metalist took their first real shot on goal in the 17th minute of the match with a speculative effort from the edge of the area which was easily saved. We were however having trouble containing their wingers and some of the space that they were able to find was disconcerting to say the least. We were also worringly finding some of our short range passes being easily intercepted and this was leading to more pressure from the Metalist team. It would be fair to say that Metalist looked like they wanted the match more than we did at this stage. A free kick taken in a very dangerous area briefly threatened to cause us trouble but Megyeri easily dealt with the kick when it was made.

End Of The First Half
Even after 30 minutes into the match we were being penned into our half of the pitch and were having extreme difficulty in getting anything forward. Our marking on the flanks was suspect and we didn't even have a shot on goal so far. The Ukrainians were also playing more physically and we were starting to feel some of the fouls. Luckily we had started to show signs of coping with Metalist and we were starting to close them down more often and get the ball into their half of the pitch on more occasions. We won a corner just before halftime but found this was cleared and the half ended soon after (following a bit of simulation by the Metalist players). As a stat, the halftime temperature in downtown Kharkov is -8C and dropping continuously.

At the start of the second half we initially won a corner at the expense of Metalist and then a free kick outside the edge of the area soon afterwards. After this comes the goal we've been waiting for. The ball was crossed into the box from the left, bounced off the head of a defender and then Fuster managed to poach the ball and stick it into the net when it bounced off the ground. Superb!! Metalist sprang back into life after the restart and came close with a header before putting more pressure on our defence as they came forward in search of an equaliser.

Back On The Defensive
The Ukrainians had certainly upped their game since the goal and we were largely back on the defensive again after a decent start to the half. They then made two quick changes to try bring themselves back into the game and increase the pressure on our team. We were coping with this by counter-attacking whenever we could and dragging them back up the pitch. We had a great example of this when Djebbour ran the entire length of the field only to lose out in the box whilst Metalist also had a header go wide in the 67th minute. Another opportunity for us also came in this period with a corner for us drifting into the box only to elude all of our heads which went up to intercept.

End Game
In the final quarter hour of play, we initially coped well with two Metalist corners and to help the team defensively substituted two attacking players off for players who could help shore the midfield. We still counter-attacked though whenever the situation arose but suffered an injury to Maniatis after Edmar performed a pretty terrible sliding tackle. Edmar was immediately red carded whilst Maniatis managed to hobble off the pitch but bravely managed to return to the pitch after a short while. Whilst we were temporarily down to 10 men, we managed to cope with the frantic Metalist attacks but we held together and managed to defend well. We stayed compact all the way to the end and managed to last out the game after 3 minutes of extra time.

We performed very well in the second half and the away goal gives us a huge advantage ahead of the return match. The sub-zero temperatures (-10c at the end of the game) won't be a problem in Greece and as long as we play well, we should progress into the next round.

Metalist Kharkov 0-1 Olympiakos
50' Fuster

Olympiakos : Megyeri, Torosidis, Papadopoulos, Mellberg, Marcano, Maniatis, Orbaiz, Makoun (77' Modesto), Fuster (80' Holebas), Mirallas (89' Abdoun), Djebbour

Published in English Section
Τρίτη, 06 Μαρτίου 2012 14:32

Preparations For Metalist Kharkov

The players who will make the trip to Kharkov for our Europa League game against Metalist have been announced. We have taken 21 players in total to the Ukraine and the list is as follows :-

Goalkeepers (2)
Megyeri, Babovic

Defenders (9)
Torosidis, Modesto, Papadopoulos, Papazoglou, Marcano, Mellberg, Holebas, Potouridis, Maniatis

Midfielders (8)
Orbaiz, Makoun, Fejsa, Fuster, Kazim-Richards, Abdoun, Ibagasa, Fetfatzidis

Attackers (2)
Mirallas, Djebbour

Roy Carroll didn't make the squad after he couldn't manage to recover in time. I wouldn't have expected Fetfatzidis, Fejsa or Potouridis to be be in the final squad of 18 players either but I've often been wrong when it comes to predictions.
Published in English Section
Παρασκευή, 24 Φεβρουαρίου 2012 23:40

Το μεγάλο κέρδος...

Η ομάδα μας κατάφερε να προκριθεί στην επόμενη φάση του Europa League και έχει την ευκαιρία, κερδίζοντας την Ουκρανική Μέταλιστ Χάρκιβ, να φτάσει στους "8" της διοργάνωσης, στοχεύοντας ακόμη ψηλότερα. Αυτό όμως είναι μια άλλη ιστορία. Το μεγάλο κέρδος κατ'εμέ δεν είναι η πρόκριση στην επόμενη φάση, ούτε το μηδέν παθητικό για άλλο ένα ματς, ούτε η (δικαιολογημένη) ηρωοποίηση του Ρόι Κάρολ, που έδωσε άλλο χρώμα στον αγώνα. Σημαντικά όλα αυτά, αλλά το μεγάλο κέρδος είναι άλλο.
Το μεγάλο κέρδος είναι η αλλαγή της νοοτροπίας της ομάδας. Η αλλαγή της αγωνιστικής φιλοσοφίας της. Ο Ολυμπιακός προσπαθεί ανεξαρτήτως αντιπάλου να ορίσει εκείνος την εξέλιξη του παιχνιδιού. Φέτος βλέπουμε οτι η ομάδα έχει την ίδια λογική, τη φιλοσοφία "να παίξω εγώ τη μπάλα μου", ανεξαρτήτως αν τον αντίπαλο τον λένε Ρουμπίν Καζάν ή Άρσεναλ. Υπάρχουν φορές που καταφέρνουμε να επιβληθούμε πλήρως των αντιπάλων. Υπάρχουν φορές που περνάμε δύσκολες στιγμές, όπως στο δεύτερο ημίχρονο με την Ρουμπίν στο Καραϊσκάκη. Είναι λογικό να υπάρχουν καλές και κακές στιγμές, δεν είμαστε η Μπαρτσελόνα. Αυτό όμως που παραμένει σταθερό είναι η νοοτροπία της ομάδας να ελέγξει εκείνη τον αγώνα. Να πάρει τα ηνία, απαγκιστρωμένη από φιλοσοφίες του παρελθόντος που έλεγαν "όλοι πίσω, μήπως βγεί αντεπίθεση και βάλουμε κανένα γκολ" και οδηγούσαν σε τιμητικές ήττες, ή που έλεγαν "ο Ολυμπιακός πρέπει να παίζει φουλ επίθεση" και οδηγούσαν σε βραδιές που δεν θέλουμε να θυμόμαστε.

Ο Ολυμπιακός της σεζόν 2011-2012 με τα σκαμπανεβάσματα του, με τα πάνω του και τα κάτω του, είναι μια ομάδα που θέλει να παίζει ποδόσφαιρο πρωτοβουλίας και το καταφέρνει στην πλειοψηφία των αγώνων που δίνει, είτε είναι αγώνες πρωταθλήματος, είτε κυπέλλου, είτε Ευρώπης, ανεξαρτήτως ονόματος και δυναμικότητας αντιπάλου. Βάζει την απαραίτητη σκοπιμότητα στο παιχνίδι του, αλλά δεν παραδίδεται μοιρολατρικά στη διάθεση του αντιπάλου. Ακόμα και το
χθεσινό αγχωτικό 1-0, για παράδειγμα, έχει έστω την παραμικρή σχέση με το "περήφανο" 0-0 του ΠΑΟΚ στο Ούντινε, με τους Ιταλούς να χάνουν μια μεγάλη ευκαιρία κάθε πεντάλεπτο; Άλλο να σου πάνε όλα στραβά σε κάποια ματς και να σε βοηθήσει η τύχη, άλλο να πηγαίνεις στους αγώνες με το σταυρό στο ένα χέρι και το ευαγγέλιο στο άλλο και μετά να τα ρίχνεις στον διαιτητή, στην κούραση απ'το πρωτάθλημα και την ηττοπάθεια των ποδοσφαιριστών.

Ας αναλογιστούμε επίσης πόσο μεγαλύτερη αξία έχει αυτή η αλλαγή νοοτροπίας / φιλοσοφίας της ομάδας, όταν επιτυγχάνεται με τις συγκεκριμένες υπάρχουσες συνθήκες : Ο Ολυμπιακός του σήμερα δεν είναι μια ομάδα που ο σταρ είναι το Χ - μεγάλο όνομα - ποδοσφαιριστής, ο Υ πρόεδρος-τοτέμ ή ο Ζ προπονητής-γκουρού-δάσκαλος. Ο σταρ στον Ολυμπιακό του 2011-2012, είναι η ίδια η ομάδα. Από το πρώτο μέλος της ως το τελευταίο.
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