Debut for two coaches
The last match of Day 1 in Football League will be held today. Larissa and Apollon 1926 share the same goal for this season, promotion, but they also have another thing in common. They have already replaced the coaches they started their preparation with. The bookmakers were confused in their odds in all matches and I am not surprised they are again today. Let’s have a look at the preview and a value bet:
Analysis: Larissa – Apollon 1926
*Attention: Behind closed doors. Larissa is banned because of the behavior of their fans in the Cup match against Olympiakos Volou.
*Attention: Larissa is familiar with Venue Alkazar (former home ground). They have not got a license for the use of their current home, AEL FC Arena, but they are expected to get it very soon.
*This is the second time for Panagopoulos at the bench of Larissa. He started the season 2013-14 (Days 1 to 7) having a spectacular record of 6W-0D-1L. He resigned for unknown reasons after the first defeat of the team on Day 7.
*Believe it or not, Apollon 1926 has only one official match but they have already made three changes at their bench. Coach Alexiou left on 22/09/14 and he was temporarily replaced by Makis Dandikas who guided the team in the Cup match against PAOK. On 06/10/14 the officials announced Thomas Grafas as the new coach and his debut will be today.
Larissa is among the teams that will be after promotion this season. They do have the third most expensive roster in Football League (top of Group 2) but it was not enough to help them qualify to the Group Stage of the Greek Cup. Their defeat from the hated rivals of Olympiakos Volou (0-1 at home in front of 7000 fans) in the first match, was the end of Alekos Vosniadis at the bench. On 06/09/14 the officials announced the return of Kostas Panagopoulos (37 years old, former coach of Panionios). His debut was on the away re-match against Olympiakos Volou (0-0) and now he will have his first home match but without the support of the fans.
Injured: Castells (MID), Souanis (FWD)
Other: Melissas (MID), Muca (MID), Deinopapas (FWD)
Apollon 1926 qualified to the Group Stage of the Greek Cup without a match because of the financial problems of Doxa Dramas. On 25/09/14 they won PAOK (1-0) on neutral ground (Kaftatzoglio) with a goal by Efstathiou at 18’. It was the most unexpected result of Day 1 of the Group Stage but there are two things we need to consider. The first is that PAOK used a secondary lineup and most of the players had a poor performance. The second is the excellent relations between the two clubs (two players of Apollon belong to PAOK). I am not implying PAOK looked the other way; they just were not as motivated as they will be in their next two matches. Furthermore, the roster of Apollon 1926 might not be on the top 5 in terms of value but they do have a lot of experienced players which can do serious damage to any team that will underestimate them. The new coach, Thomas Grafas, will have his first official match today.
Injured: Qose (DEF)
Other: Bertin (DEF) was called up on his National Team (Haiti). Kapetanos (MID) is not ready yet.
Betting Pick: The draw @ 3.80
I cannot believe the low odds I see on the win of Larissa! They might be traditionally stronger at home but they will not have the support of their fantastic crowd. The rosters of the two clubs are not that different and the players of Apollon 1926 proved their experience in their win against PAOK. My guess is that both coaches will first have the draw in their mind which is a value bet. Remember, this is just Day 1, not the end of the season when motive can make a huge difference.