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.
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 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.
Η ομάδα, αν και δε χρειάστηκε να ανεβάσει ρυθμούς, έδειξε καλά στοιχεία και επικράτησε εύκολα της Ξάνθης με 4-0.
Σκόρερ 3 φορές ο Μήτρογλου (δεύτερο συνεχόμενο χατ τρικ) και μία ο Σαβιόλα.
Ακολουθεί το δύσκολο παιχνίδι με την Παρί την Τρίτη στο Καραϊσκάκη για το Champions League.
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.
Our game in Komotini, Thrace was postponed by a day to allow the snow to be cleared. As for the match itself, it was surprisingly open. There was plenty of tempo during the first half but very few chances on goal - perhaps one real chance on goal for both sides. The amount of water held within the pitch wasn't helping us and the ball itself was moving very sluggishly. The half ended 0-0 and it was apparent that a quick rethink of tactics would be needed at halftime.
After about 15 minutes of the second half, it was apparent that a tactical change was needed and so we brought on Mitroglou as a second striker and sacrificed Greco to the bench.
The change didn't make any change to the scoreline in the short term and we still struggled getting any proper chances away against the packed Thracian defence. Eventually we got the goal with a 86th minute header from Contreras which gave us the victory today.
Not the best game but we had enough control of the match to give us the victory.
Panthrakikos 0-1 Olympiakos
Olympiakos : Megyeri, Diakite, Manolas, Contreras, Holebas, Modesto (75' Fejsa), Maniatis, Greco (57' Greco), Machado, Abdoun, Djebbour
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.
First impressions of Nikopolidis' debut were encouraging with our team pressing, attacking with flair and generally playing more aggressively than had been seen previously this season. We took control of the game and played fast aggressive football from the first whistle. PAS' chances were limited but they did also fight for the ball whenever they got the chance.
Despite our improved style it took right to the death of the first half to open the scoring. Here it was a free kick taken in stoppage time, fumbled by the keeper and knocked into the net by Djebbour.
Our second half continued in the same way that the first half had finished, a strong aggressive and fast display which led to good possession in the PAS half. To be fair, we were pretty rusty at this style of play but with time we would sharpen our play and get ourselves more used to the tactics used today.
Abdoun doubled the score in the 68th minute after a good 1-2 play with Ibagaza in the box. Our aggressive tactics didn't stop after doubling our lead and although we didn't score any more goals we ended the match positively.
Olympiakos 2-0 PAS Giannena
Olympiakos : Megyeri, Diakite, Manolas, Contreras, Holebas, Maniatis, Greco (64' Ibagaza), Machado, Abdoun (77' Fetfatzidis), Pino (72' Mitroglou), Djebbour
Pictures follow :-
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