No one is safe yet
I bet neither Kassiopi nor Olympiakos Volou expected to have such a poor start in the Playoffs. After only four match days their six bonus points have vanished into thin air with both of them having only one win in this short period. They still have time but things are expected to be a lot more difficult especially when Psachna, Aiginiakos and Niki Volou are so enthusiastic. So far my expectations for the Playoff rivals are getting closer day by day although I must admit I am a bit disappointed by Fostiras.
The previews and betting picks for Day 5:
CHANIA vs. AIGINIAKOS
Chania came very close to a positive result in the last away match against Niki Volou (2-1). Mr. Seropyan was pleased to see Loukinas scoring the equalizer at 90’ (Niki Volou was on the lead since 45’ after the goal of Tzioras) but a penalty kick that was awarded to the home side in the added time allowed Niki Volou to get a stressful win.
Other: Papatzikos (DEF/26/3 goals)
Mr. Kostas Nikolaidis was pleased to Aiginiakos expanding the undefeated streak to 18 matches after the away draw (0-0) against Iraklis. The team is still close to the top three places and the morale of the players is superb as they do have faith they will manage to promote. The only problem at this moment is the fatigue they are expected to have from the long trip to Crete (by sea). There are two important absences reported.
Banned: Giazitzoglou (DEF/28/1 goal), Fabinho (MID/24/1 goal)
Betting Pick: The draw at halftime @ 1.90
I have already pointed out many times that I do not have faith on Chania. I find it extremely difficult to see a fourth team from Crete in Super League. This does not mean they will not influence the placement of the rest of the teams in the standings. Aiginiakos is doing great so far but the two consecutive draws and their fatigue make me believe that a new draw @ 3.00 is more probable. Be careful because there is too much action on this result.
IRAKLIS PSACHNON vs. KASSIOPI
Iraklis Psachnon comes from a stressful home win against Olympiakos Volou (1-0). The goal of Kritikos at 50’ was proven enough to give them the three points but they also had a lot of luck in the last minutes of the match with Gourma (Olympiakos Volou) missing a penalty kick at 95! There no problems or absences reported for Mr. Ghrafas for the difficult match against Kassiopi. The team had a record of attendance in the last match that is expected to be broken today after the consecutive positive results of the team.
Kassiopi was in control of the last home match against Fostiras but they failed to turn the good chances they had into goals. Coach Grigoriou is troubled by the performances of his players during the Playoffs. In fact, the team is in need of an important win to start gaining back the confidence they had during the regular season. Psachna look like the best opponent to do it and for this reason the team got to Euboea on Friday to have a better preparation for this match.
Doubtful: Raptakis (DEF/21/1 goal)
Betting Pick: Psachna to win (DNB) @ 1.95
The bookies keep underestimating the morale of the home side. Like I said on Day 4, I have no intension of betting against a team that seems to have everything on their side. Even luck, like I watched in their last match. The win of Iraklis Psachnon @ 2.80 is not easy but it definitely is a value bet.
FOSTIRAS vs. NIKI VOLOU
The two consecutive positive results of Fostiras against Olympiakos Volou (1-0 at home) and Kassiopi (0-0) were a sign that the team will not surrender without a fight. All four matches so far at the Playoffs had one goal or none. The main problems of Fostiras at this moment are their scoring difficulties (one goal after four matches) and the fact they do not have as many solutions at their roster as the rest of the teams do. Mr. Mathijssen will not be at the bench for one more match but he is expected to be back later today. His players found the strength to stand up against the two hot favorites for promotion and they are expected to do the same today against Niki Volou. There are no important problems or absences reported for this match.
The players of Niki Volou learned their lesson after the home defeat from Aiginiakos in Day 1 (2-3 after taking a lead by 2-0). They continued with three consecutive wins against Olympiakos Volou (1-0 away), Kassiopi (1-0 at home) and Chania (2-1 at home) and they are now leading the standings. Their last home win against Chania was quite stressful as their opponent scored the equalizer at 90’ but they managed to claim the win with after a penalty kick in the added time. Mr. Vosniadis will have to deal with one absence for the next difficult match against Fostiras.
Banned: Soleidis (FWD/17)
Betting Pick: The draw halftime @ 1.90
The bookies learned their lesson after the home win of Fostiras against Olympiakos Volou and they immediately stopped offering them in huge odds. I expect the home side to resist a lot again and most probably this match will have one goal or no goals at all. Niki Volou is stronger but they will have to try very hard for a win. Do not forget that a win of Fostiras today will allow the team from Tavros to get back in promotion battle for good.
OLYMPIACOS VOLOU vs. IRAKLIS 1908
Mr. Pantelis surely hoped for a better debut at the bench of Olympiacos Volou. The truth is that his team was very unlucky since Gurma lost a penalty kick at 95’ which could have given Olympiakos Volou the point of the draw. The three consecutive defeats from Niki Volou, Fostiras and Psachna (same score 1-0) have brought the team in the fourth place despite the six bonus points they have. Needless to say the win against Iraklis is a must.
Injured: Kapetanos (MID/23/6 goals)
Mr. Papadopoulos also comes from a negative debut at the bench of Iraklis after the home draw against Aiginiakos (0-0). The good news is they did show signs of improvement in their game. They complained a lot for a penalty kick that was not awarded during the second half. The morale of the team is still poor and the important absences they have for the next match make the task of getting back to wins more difficult.
Banned: Papasterianos (DEF/22), Zahora (FWD/27/9 goals)
Injured: Taianan (MID/16/3 goals)
Other: Kipouros (GK/7), Bamba (FWD/19)
Betting Pick: The draw at halftime @ 2.10
Both teams will be very stressed for a positive result today. Olympiakos Volou has better chances of getting the three points mainly because of the absences and the poor away record of Iraklis (5W-2D-6L in regular season, 0W-0D-2L in the Playoffs). The odds of the home win are ridiculously low for the risk involved because both teams come from negative results and a very recent change at their bench. I expect to see them being extremely careful in defense and this is the main reason behind my halftime pick. I cannot trust any of them for the win yet.