Debut for Poyet, danger for Anastassiou
The poor performance of Panathinaikos against PAOK at Toumba (3-1) was not well accepted by their fans. I have already written many times that the Greens missed a huge chance to qualify in the Europa League Groups against Qabala. The home draw in their second match (2-2) has not been forgiven yet. In fact, it has become a ghost that will haunt them until they will get some consecutive and important wins. Especially in rivalry battles like the one they have today against AEK that happens to have a new coach, Gustavo Poyet, at the bench. The preview and betting picks:
Analysis: Panathinaikos – AEK
*Attention: rivalry battle
*Panathinaikos announced a sold out in tickets three hours before kickoff.
Panathinaikos deserved nothing in the last away match against PAOK at Toumba (3-1). Their new average performance was welcomed by the home team who rewarded them with three goals by halftime (28’ penalty kick, 31’ and 42’). The goal of Karelis at 74’ (penalty kick) just improved the final score which could be a lot worse if PAOK was not so passive during the second half. Panathinaikos also had a midweek match for the Cup against Levadiakos. They won their opponent by 3-0 for the second time this season (same score in Super League) but my overall impression was Levadiakos is not interested in the competition. The next match against AEK is a must win situation for Anastassiou and many believe that any other result will be his end at the bench.
Injured: Thelander (DEF/5/1 goal), Mendez (MID/0), Essien (MID/0), Klonaridis (MID/1)
Not ready: Wemmer (DEF/0)
AEK was in a shock after the humiliated away defeat from Olympiacos (4-0) which was the end of coach Dellas at the bench. It looks like the team needed the change and it was proven by the following emphatic home win over Iraklis (5-1) under temporary coach Manolas. AEK also had a good performance in the midweek away match for the Cup against Xanthi (0-1). They deserved the win and, considering the defensive mentality of their opponent, they deserved at least one more goal. The officials of the club announced Gustavo Poyet will be the new coach and surprisingly his debut will be today although he did not have enough time to get to know the team.
Injured: Bakakis (DEF/0), Djebbour (FWD/1)
Doubtful: Aravidis (FWD/8/3 goals) has a minor injury but he is included in the roster. The physicians advised it would be better for him to rest today.
Betting Pick: Both teams to score @ 2.10
The coach and the players of Panathinaikos are under constant pressure and I am starting to believe they cannot keep up like this. They collapsed at the end of the first half against PAOK when they conceded three goals and this was a clear sign of what is going on in the team. They might be stronger at home (4W-0D-0L, goals 11-1) but this match is a rivalry battle and the added stress can complicate things a lot. AEK should not be underestimated at any time and especially now they are under a new coach and they have absolutely nothing to lose.
I expect to see goals from both sides and I strongly believe the option of Over 2.5 goals @ 2.35 is safer than picking any of the two for the win.