I haven't been able to write any updates or articles in the last ten days for various reasons (mainly hospital reasons) so I thought I'd best do a summary. During this time, we've played two matches - 1 cup and 1 league, winning the first and drawing the second. The cup game was played at home in Karaiskaki roughly seven days ago and saw us thrash Asteras Tripolis by a 4-1 scoreline. We now hold a three goal advantage ahead of the return leg and will almost certainly be anough to see us advance.
At the weekend, we drew against Atromitos 0-0 away in Peristeri. It was a slightly disappointing result for us but we're still clear at the top of the league by a vast amount so it's hardly a result which will cause us any serious problems. The most important thing from the match was the return of Kostas Mitroglou after a lengthy injury period.
More serious however is the case with Dimitris Siovas. He had been injured recently and had to undergo surgery in the last week. This means that he will be out of action for at least two months and reduces us to only two centrebacks on the team - Avraam (also seemingly not fit) and Manolas. At the weekend we had to use Bong as an emergency centreback because of the lack of cover. The rumours have it that we are desperately hunting for cover and probably will be signing someone this month. I'm not sure who this will be but I hope that we don't get ripped off by other clubs now that they know about our problems. So it would seem that the move to offload Carl Medjani was a little premature but on the other hand he was slow and had the same turning circle as the Titanic.
So this minor problem aside, it hasn't been the worst ten daysever. This weekend we play Levadiakos in Karaiskaki, lets see how we do then.
Four goals (Saviola, Dominguez, Manolas and Machado) won us the match today at Karaiskaki. We had possession of the ball throughout the match and had a number of shots on goal finally managing to confirm the game as won in the 54th minute. We made a lot of attacking runs and controlled possession (sometimes as high as 70% ) but seemed to be guilty of wanting to walk the ball into the net.
After the send goal though, we continued to pressure and the reward was a third goal in the 65th minuteKallonis sat deep even after falling behind quite early on and very rarely threatened during the first half. They started to come forwards after the halftime break but without any real success, if anything it allowed us to exploit their formation even further.
Machado put the seal on the win and it was all over after that
Olympiacos 4-0 AEL Kallonis
13' Saviola, 54' Dominguez, 65' Manolas, 75' Machado
Olympiacos : Roberto, Salino, Papadopoulos, Manolas, Bong, Maniatis (72' Machado), Samaris (66' N'Dinga), Campbell, Dominguez, Fuster (55' Weiss), Saviola.
We beat Fenerbahce last night with a good display and performance. The kings of Europe played terrific basketball and both Spanoulis and Perperoglou made sensational appearances.
We led from the outset of the game and put a strangehold on the score almost straightaway, leading 8 points at the end of the first quarter, 7 at halftime and 6 at the end of the third quarter. We went onto a 13 point lead at the end of the final quarter and as mentioned before, it was a superb performance from our team which won us the match.
1st Quarter : Olympiacos 27-19 Fenerbahce
2nd Quarter : Olympiacos 47-40 Fenerbahce
3rd Quarter : Olympiacos 62-56 Fenerbahce
4th Quarter : Olympiacos 95-82 Fenerbahce
Olympiacos (Bartzokas): Dunston 4, Spanoulis 28, Perperoglou 21, Sloukas 2 Simmons 5, Begic, Printezis 12, Agravanis, Mantzaris 9, Lojeski 14.
We have a couple of changes to the roster which have happened over the christmas break. Portuguese midfielder Pele signed for us on a 3.5 year deal and has joined the club in training during the last two days. Leaving the club is Carl Medjani who was on loan from Monaco.
Medjani wasn't good enough for the team, surprising when you consider a player joining a Champions League level club from second division France (at the time).
There may be a few more players leaving during the month - rumours point to Yatabare and N'Dinga being cast off, Scepovic being pushed out on loan and Mitroglou being hunted by most clubs in Europe.
Perhaps a little more surprising is that the club has already said that there will be no more signings this month. So we have another transfer window where none of the money from Europe has been invested into the club.
We've announced the signing of Pele, a 26 year old Portuguese midfielder from Ergotelis. He signed a 3.5 year contract with total earnings exceeding €1m. He will start training at Rentis on the 30th December.
Strongly rumoured to be going in the other direction is Scepovic - on loan to Ergotelis for the remainder of the season.
Seems like our French contingent is on their way out. Both Yatabare and N'Dinga have failed to impress Michel and it seems likely that both will be leaving. It's uncertain what will be happening to Bong, he is starting matches but looks to be just a poor player and not at a level we require.
In any case, regardless of whether we lose both or perhaps all three players, we need to get replacements for them. I'm less than convinced that this will happen apart from perhaps Pele coming in from Ergotelis.
This was our last game before the winter break and we'd already been crowned the winter champions as the Voulgaroi wouldn't be able to catch up with us. I think it was also the first time we'd been back in Rizoupoli since the absolute fucking hammering we'd given Poutanas Gios ten years ago.
As for the game itself, we opened the scoring in the 26th minute with a hit from Fuster at close range following a corner. Manolas scored the second goal a few minutes later with another shot following on from a dead ball situation and it looked like victory was secured.
Samaris scored the third before the break.
The second half was a little more sedate from us although we kept up the pressure and Saviola scored the fourth and fifth goals to put the seal on the win. It was a fairly low key match from us despite the scoreline, Apollon simply were unable to cope with our play or our players. The results was a good fucking over of the highest order.
We break for Christmas and the new year and start again in 2014. Thank god, I've fucking hated this year!
Apollon Smyrnis 0-5 Olympiacos
26' Fuster, 31' Manolas, 41' Samaris, 63' Saviola, 80' Saviola
Olympiacos (Michel) : Roberto, Torres, Manolas, Siovas, Bong, Machado (65' Ibagaza), Samaris (58' Maniatis), Campbell, Fuster, Dominguez (46' Saviola), Olaitan
We made it 10/10 in our latest Euroleague Basketball match beating Zielona Gora away by an 80-91 scoreline. This also makes it 23/23 so far this season with the green rabbits our next targets!
1st Quarter : 18-22
2nd Quarter : 34-43
3rd Quarter : 62-72
4th Quarter : 80-91
Olympiacos (Bartzokas): Petway 2, Dunston 12, Spanoulis 17, Perperoglou 23, Papapetrou 3, Sloukas 2, Simmons 8, Agravanis, Mantzaris 2, Katsivelis 4, Lojeski 18.
We played PAS Giannena in a home game yesterday and managed to win thanks to a shot from Saviola and two penalties. However it wasn't a convincing match and we conceded twice, the second goal coming from a ten man PAS three minutes from the end of the game and leading to a hectic final few minutes.
However close the match actually proved to be, it shouldn't have been the case. We missed dozens of chances to score and frustratingly it seemed that we were trying to dance the ball into the goal rather than simply shoot. The two penalties were probably justified but we went over far too easy in the box so it left a sour taste for me.
Still we won and remain undefeated in the league so perhaps I should simply be happy with the score. I try, but there's always a thought that we can be doing even better.
Olympiacos 3-2 PAS Giannena
21' Saviola, 51' Machado (p), 70' Campbell (p) - 11' Ilic, 87' Kritikos
Olympiacos (Michel): Roberto, Machado, Papazoglou, Saviola (74' Scepovic), Samaras, Manolas, Salino, Dominguez (46' Campbell), Weiss (70' Fuster), Bong, Olaitan.
Normally I watch Olympiakos matches using a MyTV program but as I'm due to go out of country within a week for an extended period, I let my membership lapse and thought I'd use a stream instead. How wrong I could be... There were a grand total of fuck all streams available for last nights match and so I couldn't watch it at all. This is the summary from the official site :-
"Megyeri was at the goal; Salino, Cholevas, Papadopoulos and Siovas in defense; Fejsa, Maniatis and Dominguez covering the midfield, and Campbell, Weiss and Saviola with attacking duties.
Olympiacos superiority and pressure produced an early opening goal. In 13’, Jose Cholevas fired the corner kick and Siovas headed it in for 1-0.
Olympiacos kept on its pressure on the opponent and lost several chances for a second goal, however the first half ended with no change.
After the break, our side’s coach substituted several players, but Olympiacos remained aggressive whatsoever. Nevertheless, the 1-0 score remained as such until the end of the fixture."
OK, so far so good. I've heard from several people that they were satisfied in the performance and the result. I now want to see how we do against Valencia in the Mestalla stadium - never an easy place to visit.
Goal video follows.