Following on from some absolutely terrible performances, Leonardo Jardim was dismissed in a simple statement from the club earlier this afternoon. The clubs limited faith had been shaken recently with some of the playing performances and the style and the fans as well were not impressed with the quality of play. The statement simply read :-
"Olympiakos FC announces the termination of coach Leonardo Jardim's contract and thanks him for all his previous work. In tomorrows match against PAS Giannena, Antonis Nikopolidis will take charge of the team."
Current names being mentioned for the vacant position are Michel (ex-Sevilla) and Jose Luis Oltra (ex-Deportivo).
Another week and another insipid first half from our team, augmented by our managers amazing knack of playing Machado out of position on the wing and favouring him over more suitable players. The action in the first half wasn't really worth mentioning and we only made 4 shots on target in the opening 45 minutes. The best of these was a close range backheel in the 23rd minute from Greco which was cleared off the line. Apart from this, nothing of any note.
The bizarre substitution of taking Greco off rather than the underperforming Machado at halftime did nothing to help the situation and the second half continued with another poor performance from the team with very little action to talk of. A second substitution on the 70' mark did allow us to get two strikers onto the pitch and change the system but we still couldn't manage to make any chances which counted.
Our final change in the 80th minute saw all 3 strikers now on the pitch but despite a point blank header from Modesto cleared off the line, we didn't manage to create much.
However, just as the game was about to end up came Djebbour who headed in literally the last shot of the game. 90+6' for the winning goal and Jardim is a lucky lucky man.
Levadiakos 0-1 Olympiakos
Olympiakos : Megyeri, Torosidis, Manolas, Contreras, Holebas, Maniatis, Modesto, Greco (46' Pino), Abdoun (80' Pantelic), Machado (70' Mitroglou), Djebbour
Todays match against Veroia was our first of the new year and it would be interesting to see how we fared after a scrappy end to 2012.
The start of the game was as encouraging as any games we have seen. We took control of the match early on and simply peppered their goal with as many shots as we could. Veroia by contrast sat back with 8 or 9 men and simply defended deep and in numbers.
We continued to get forward throughout most of the first half with Djebbour (on the left wing) and Mitroglou making most of the chances with the midfield being pressured to keep control of the ball. Veroia were fighting for possession and after the decent opening quarter hour we had started to lack the distribution needed to feed the two forwards (Machado going missing once again).
The Veroia packed defence held out until halftime with a 0-0 scoreline. Not a bad half to start but we tailed off and got complacent especially with regards to the passing. The crowd rightly booed its discontent at the halftime whistle.
The restart saw the debut of Pino in place of Greco and it was our first look at our new winger. As for the game, we finally managed to score the opening goal in the 54th minute after a cross from the left was headed into the net by Mitroglou (assist Pino). After the goal, we started to play more confidently and once again began to pepper the Veroia goalmouth with shots.
We played really well for five minutes after the goal but afterwards slumped down to our complacent style of play. We were still controlling the game largely but we didn't look anything like as energetic as we did following the goal.
We grabbed a second goal of the game with a pretty soft penalty which will help the scoreline disguise the fact that we haven't played that well overall. Still, I'm not complaining about a free gift from the referee.
The game wasn't finished though and Pantelic whacked in a header from close range after another cross from Pino (his second assist of the game). The game ended at 3-0 and at least we've had a win. It may not have been pretty for long stretches of the game but at least we won.
Olympiakos 3-0 Veroia
Olympiakos : Carroll, Torosidis, Manolas, Contreras, Holebas, Machado (87' Pantelic), Modesto, Maniatis, Greco (46' Pino), Djebbour, Mitroglou (78' Fetfatzidis).
Olympiakos continued their march onwards by defeating Ilysiakos by 113 to 85 points yesterday in our SEF arena. This was the tenth match of the A1 league season and only a few days before we meet Kavala for the cup semifinal.
Printezis was the best scorer of the match followed by Papanikolaou and Gecevicius.
The overall scores and scorers are as follows (pictures after) :-
Olympiakos 113-75 Ilysiakos
1st Quarter : Olympiakos 21-18 Ilysiakos
2nd Quarter : Olympiakos 55-43 Ilysiakos
3rd Quarter : Olympiakos 82-58 Ilysiakos
4th Quarter : Olympiakos 113-75 Ilysiakos
Olympiakos : Hines 9, Low, Spanoulis 2, Sloukas 13, Mavroeidis 7, Powell 14, Gecevicius 17, Printezis 24, Papanikolaou 18, Mantzaris, Georgakis 5, Katsevelis 4
We played Panionios in Nea Smyrni during our Matchday 15 tie and went on to win the game by a 1-2 scoreline.
Despite a very cagey opening from our team, we soon recovered and went on the offensive. The first goal was scored by Panionios, against the run of play, by Christos Aravidis after some shit defending allowed him to shoot on goal. We kept the pressure up though and were rewarded with our efforts by an equalising goal some five minutes later. Here Spyropoulos totally miskicked his clearance and pushed the ball in entirely the wrong direction and into the net!! We came close to taking the lead right at the death of the first half but both Djebbour and Modesto fluffed their chances.
We continued to pressurise in the second half and the addition of Mitroglou gave us more of an offensive edge. Mitroglou had two direct chances on goal bounce off the goalpost though and we had real trouble in getting the final ball into the box to one of our players. Panionios also had a couple of chances of their own on goal but largely the game was in our favour. Eventually we got the second goal in the 82nd minute thanks to a Rafik Djebbour knock-in and we looked set to win the game when Panionios were reduced to 10 men shortly afterwards.
The win sees us climb to 11 points clear at the top of the table and ready for the winter break.
Panionios 1-2 Olympiakos
31' Spyripoulos (og)
Olympiakos : Carroll, Maniatis, Manolas, Contreras, Holebas, Greco (46' Mitroglou), Modesto, Ibagaza, Machado (67' Fuster), Abdoun (90' Papazoglou), Djebbour
After I've been rushing everywhere for the last few weeks I can finally sit down and relax in the run up to Christmas.
Anyway, yesterday it was announced that Jose Holebas has extended his contract with the club until 2016. This is good news all round. Holebas has been one of the few players to excel this season and has dragged the team forward whenever possible. Sure, he has had some bad games too but his good performances have far outweighed the bad.
With him remaining at the club for the foreseeable future we now have one position at the club tied down and can now concentrate elsewhere.
Djebbour is also expected to be renewing his contract imminently and again this is good news as both him and Abdoun have been the main focus of all our attacks this year. He is also leading the scoring charts at the minute and seems to be a very good bet to end the season as the top Superleague striker.
Unfortunately talks with Torosidis are still ongoing. Torosidis hasn't been outstanding this season so far - he's been ok and putting in some adequate performances but nothing amazing. There are a number of rumours flying around regarding transfers to Italy and I guess we will have to wait until January to see what transpires.
Tonights match came from the half-filled Vazelo bourdello where we faced the whores of Greece and perpetual whipping boys of Europe, Panathinaikos.
Our green brothers, fresh from another outstanding campaign which has seen them eliminated from Europe before Christmas (and saw such notable results such as a 3-0 thrashing by Maribor) needed a win against us to stop their pouting fans from crying further, whilst a win for us would see us virtually guaranteed the title.
The early part of the game was not too pretty from our view and we ended up conceding a cheap goal in the seventeenth minute before a close range equaliser four minutes later courtesy of Djebbour silenced the crowd. We should have killed the game off with the chances we had in the first half but we had to settle for taking the lead a little later than we wanted with a second goal from Djebbour in the 34th minute. Despite our advantage we could still afford to play a lot better in the game and improve for the second half, however we led at half time through a single goal.
The second half was probably even worse for us - our play was poor and we were not as aggressive as previous games. The result of this was that we were pushed onto the defensive and tended to surrender possession of the ball - Poutanas Gios took advantage of this to flop all over the pitch under the slightest contact. Some atrocious defending on our part (again) allowed them to equalise in the 67th minute and we were then chasing the winner.
Fuster had two direct chances on goal but the poor sod couldn't even score in a brothel this season and so our few chances came and went. We were also getting caught offside too often and our overall play was just sloppy - only Djebbour and Abdoun seemed to be dragging the team forward. Three fairly poor substitutions later and the game finally finished with a 2-2 scoreline. Very disappointing to not win the game but the performance was fucking dreadful.
Olympiakos 2-2 Poutanas Gios
Olympiakos : Carroll, Torosidis, Manolas, Siovas (90' Contreras), Holebas, Modesto (76' Greco), Maniatis, Ibagaza (62' Machado), Fuster, Abdoun, Djebbour
We travelled North to the bourdello of Toumba for todays game against the Bulgarians of PAOK. As it promised, it was a lively match with us working hard to control possession and also chase the ball when we had to. Eventually our hard work and persistance broke down the Voulgaroi defence and it was Djebbour with a cannon of a shot who opened the scoring. Djebbour's goal marked his 9th in 8 matches and possibly the best of those 9 scored so far. An absolutely superb shot to put the filth chasing the game and shut up the catamites in the stadium.
We should have increased our lead during the second half but profligacy from Machado wasted a couple of chances whilst Fuster had a good shot on goal but found his effort and a little more power would have probably doubled the scoreline. Fuster had another superb chance to score later in the match but managed, inexplicably, to fire his shot wide of goal. The Voulgaroi managed to steal a draw right at the end of the game following three fairly insipid substitutions which failed to address any shortcomings in the teams play and removed any sort of attacking flair.
Rubbish performances from Machado and Fuster which unfortunately were never addressed, poor also from Modesto and Torosidis - However a good performance from Djebbour who scored the goal.
Voulgaroi 1-1 Olympiakos
Olympiakos : Carroll, Torosidis, Manolas, Siovas, Holebas, Maniatis, Modesto (77' Fejsa), Machado, Fuster, Abdoun (87' Greco), Djebbour (71' Mitroglou).
Matchday 5 of the Champions League saw us travel to Germany for our tie against Schalke04. We had already more or less qualified for the Europa League but a win here would move us into second position (at least) and put us into a prime position to qualify for the next stage. We therefore needed a win, away to very tough opposition, to have any real chance of progressing to the last 16.
We didn't start off the match too badly. We got forward, won a couple of corners and generally matched the Germans play for play at the start of the game. Maybe we were a little sloppy on the passes but we at least looked bright and energetic. The first twenty five minutes showed little in the way of end chances for either team although it had to be admitted that the few chances were all in Schalkes favour. We made a couple of runs during this period but accomplished little of any note.
As the half progressed the Germans started to come a little closer to our goal with their chances, but we were also standing firm for the moment. For our part we created another corner, free kick and made a few runs on their goal but we were having some trouble in breaking through the German defensive line although we were playing very well further back down the pitch. The half finished at 0-0 and largely we could be happy with our performance, the only real problem was a yellow card to Holebas which means he will miss the match against Arsenal.
Schalke pushed forward in numbers at the start of the second half and we had to defend well to limit the German chances on our goal. We broke up their waves of attacks with counter attacks of our own but we were being pushed further back up the pitch in this phase of the match. Some of the defending was very desperate but we kept the opposition at bay for the time being. As the half progressed, Schalke came at us harder and harder and we were struggling to contain their attacks although we were also defending very admirably. Our clearances were not of the highest quality though and as soon as we had managed to get the ball from the area, we were wasting possession and gifting the ball directly to the opposition.
We were denied a penalty after Abdoun was fouled in the Schalke 6 yard box and we had a couple of chances on the German goal in the 75th minute but we then almost immediately conceded the losing goal at the other end of the pitch. Schalke player Fuchs shot the ball from some distance out, through a gap in our defence and past Carroll who couldn't get to the corner of the goal to stop the ball from going in. With our 77 minutes of responsible defending totally undone we shifted to a more offensive outlook and tried to get the equaliser. Unfortunately we could not manage this and so the game ended in a loss for us.
We had played well defensively for the majority of the game but a single chance from the Germans destroyed our good work. Offensively we were poor though and failed to really get any decent chances on goal for a lot of the game. When we did spring into life towards the end of the game, our passing was not great and we perhaps tried to pass the ball into the goal rather than shooting on first sight of goal.
The loss confirms that we will be playing in the Europa League come the new year.
Schalke 1-0 Olympiakos
Olympiakos : Carroll, Torosidis, Manolas, Siovas, Holebas, Modesto (80' Ibagasa), Maniatis, Greco (66' Fuster), Abdoun, Machado, Mitroglou (75' Djebbour)
The team departing to Germany was announced earlier this morning. 19 players in total make the journey and these will consist of :-
Siovas, Holebas, Manolas, Torosidis, Modesto, Maniatis, Contreras
Greco, Ibagasa, Fuster, Fejsa, Abdoun, Machado, Diakite
Djebbour, Pantelic, Mitroglou
The absentees (for one reason or another) include Papazoglou, Zaradoukas, Tatos, Vlachodimos and Fetfatzidis.