PAOK and Panathinaikos are under pressure for a win
It is only the second day of Super League and Olympiacos is already watching the (theoretical) candidates for the title making one mistake after another. PAOK did not win on Day 1, AEK did not win on Day 2 and Panathinaikos suffered a huge midweek shock against Qabala which is estimated to be a €3.5 million loss to their revenues. I am aware it is too early but I cannot help wondering how the three teams who doubt Olympiacos’ domination in Greece will stand the pressure of their supporters. Especially when their financial distance from the Champions is huge. The previews and betting picks for Sunday in brief:
*Attention: It is too soon for high confidence bets; all clubs are still in a low level of performance.
Analysis: Asteras Tripolis – Panetolikos
Asteras Tripolis had no problems getting the win in the opening away match against Panthrakikos (0-2). The quality of their roster (including the newly arrived players) made all the difference against a weak opponent with obvious problems in defense. For the record, they were playing with a man down since 77’ after the second yellow at Bertoglio. Now they return at home where they are a lot stronger (13W-4D-0L last season, 23W-10D-1L over the last two seasons) with the goal to double their wins. Coach Verghetis was very satisfied with the win last week and he is still in search of good forward who will help the team in their domestic and European obligations.
Banned: Bertoglio (MID/1/1 goal)
Panetolikos got the lead (41’ Kappel, rebound after a penalty kick by Paulo) in their Monday match against Panathinaikos but their defensive mistakes during the second half allowed Panathinaikos to score twice and get the win (1-2). My overall impression was they were not ready for their opening match and I must point out that their roster this season looks weaker in theory. The new coach Leonel Pontes da Encarnação is looking for his first official win but this task will not be easy against a strong opponent like Asteras Tripolis. Keep in mind that Panetolikos is very influenced by the home ground effect.
Betting Pick: The win of Asteras Tripolis @ 1.55
I will not be surprised if Asteras will dominate this match and win by more than two goals. The handicap win of Asteras (-1.5 goals) @ 2.50 looks great.
Analysis: Iraklis 1908 – Panionios
Iraklis 1908 was the team with the best performance on Day 1, there is not a doubt about it. Some of you may believe they are just the newcomers of this season but you should keep in mind they are a very popular club that belongs in Super League. They paid the price of the match fixing scandal back in 2011, it took them 4 years to return and they look determined to avoid the mistakes of the past. For the record, Kalloni should feel pleased with the final score (0-1) since Iraklis could easily be on the lead by 3 goals at 45’! Higher attendance numbers are expected today not only because this is the first official home match in Super League but also because of the wonderful performance on Day 1. Coach Nikos Papadopoulos (hired on 21/04/14) is still at the bench and he is optimistic the team will have a safe season.
Panionios was the unlucky team of Day 1 as they were the team that faced Olympiacos at Karaiskakis (defeat 3-0). There is a huge gap between the rosters of the two clubs but the final score was a bit unfair for the players of Ouzounidis who collapsed after the second goal (25’, 72’ and 91’). Their goal for one more season will be to avoid relegation. Considering how many times they have achieved it (despite their low budget) they are probably the most experienced team for this task.
Betting Pick: The win of Iraklis 1908 @ 1.90
Normally the win of Iraklis 1908 should be offered at 2.00-2.10 but I do understand the fear of the bookies. The performances of the two teams in their opening matches and the home ground effect especially between teams who aim to avoid relegation show Iraklis 1908 is a favorite here. Keep in mind this is a very important match for the home team because a good start will keep the attendance numbers high for a while and this can attract more sponsors and revenues.
Analysis: Panathinaikos – Kalloni
Panathinaikos struggled to win Panetolikos (1-2) in the first away match of the season. They complained for the penalty kick which gave the opponent the lead at 41’ (the home team missed it and scored on the rebound) but the good news is that Karelis and Berg took advantage of the fatigue and the mistakes of Panetolikos’ defenders during the second half. The poor defensive behavior of the Greens has got them in to trouble in every official match so far. They conceded 4 goals by Club Brugge in the Champions League Qualifiers (2-1 home win, 3-0 away). They kept a clean sheet against Qabala away (0-0) but they paid the price of their arrogance in their midweek re-match at Apostolos Nikolaidis (2-2). The fanatic supporters of the club were furious and they tried to approach the players after the final whistle. Some of them (approx. 100) also went to the training the next day and gave a clear message. Poor performances like there will not be tolerated in the future. The morale of the team is very poor and many accuse coach Anastassiou who has the support of the officials. Rumors want him to be out very soon especially in the case of a new poor performance against Kalloni.
Kalloni should feel very pleased with the final score in their opening match against Iraklis 1908 (0-1). The early goal they conceded could happen to any team but their poor performance (especially in defense) allowed the opponent to have many good chances. In fact the score could easily be 0-3 by half time if Iraklis’ players were more accurate. The new coach, Thalis Theodoridis, is now in search of away points which will change the negative impression the fans got. Let’s not forget that Kalloni was very strong at home last season (10W-5D-2L) and the only teams that won at their ground were Olympiacos and PAOK.
Betting Pick: NO BET
I strongly advise you to stay away from this match. In theory this should be an easy win for the Greens but their stress and disappointment can cause more problems to them. I expect them to be desperate for a quick goal today but if they fail their demanding supporters may try to get things in their hands. This is definitely a no bet situation.
Analysis: PAS Giannina – PAOK
Giannina deserved to win the opening away match of the season against Veria (1-1). A careful look at the stats of that game may show the two teams had almost the same number of total attempts (15-12) however, the shots made within the box (3-8) depict Giannina were more dangerous. Coach Petrakis is right to feel they should have won (his team also had an attempt at the bar at 48) but they did not lock the win with a second goal and they were punished for it with a late equalizer. Now they have a more difficult task against PAOK but they do play at Zossimades where they are usually stronger.
PAOK comes from a home draw against Skoda Xanthi which was considered a negative result. Coach Igor Tudor was furious with the players of the opponent who chose a passive-defensive strategy and destroyed any hopes of the fans to watch a good match. In the midweek re-match that followed PAOK got an away draw against Brondby (1-1, first match 5-0) and qualified to the Group Stage of the Europa League. The truth is the team looks calmer despite the negative start and the important absences of key players who are not ready or injured. We’ll soon see if this is the season that PAOK will be able to compete Olympiacos for the title.
Betting Pick: The win of PAOK @ 2.00
I do not like the odds but right now PAOK has no excuses. They need the win, they have a better roster and they are calm after finding out their opponents in the Europa League Group. It is about time they start raising some points to stay close to Olympiacos.