Aris draw the right conclusions to earn long-awaited promotion
Aris Thessaloniki sealed their long-awaited return to the Super League, clinching promotion from the Greek second tier after a few tough years in the doldrums.
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In 2014, Aris found themselves relegated to the bottom of the Greek footballing ladder after encountering fatal financial problems, forcing the Thessaloniki club to start from scratch. It took a while, but following years of hard work and belief, Aris will finally be returning to the Super League for the 2018/2019 season. Aris came agonisingly close to earning promotion last season, however the club’s administration drew the right conclusions, helping the team perform brilliantly in this year’s Football League.
Let’s take a closer look at the key factors in Aris’ Football League success.
As already mentioned, Aris suffered heartbreak in the 2017/2018 season, missing out on promotion to the Super League by a mere three points. It hurt to see Apollon Smyrnis and PAS Lamia earn qualification to the top tier, but Aris showed their mettle, making the required changes to propel the club to the next level.
Theodoros Karipidis, Aris’ chairman, made a fantastic decision to appoint Pavlos Myroforidis as the club’s technical director. Myroforidis was responsible for picking the manager and the majority of new signings, calls which were crucial in assisting the team to become consistent and competitive.
A SOLID SQUAD
When looking at the roster which Aris boast, it’s clear this team should be playing in the Super League. The club’s biggest signing in September 2017 was 29-year old Vangelis Platellas, the former AEK Athens winger who possesses real talent and flair. Platellas has been the difference in plenty of matches during the current season, having the ability to pull something out of the bag when it matters most. Manager Dimitris Spanos created a united, determined Aris side, getting the best out of his players.
Conceding a mere 13 goals in 30 Football League matches, Aris own the joint tightest defence in the championship alongside OFI. Portuguese defender Hugo Souza and Georgios Delizisis have formed a rock-solid partnership, rarely putting a foot wrong and protecting the goalkeeper. Over the course of the season, the Thessaloniki outfit have done an excellent job of preventing opposing teams from creating clear-cut opportunities, holding them at arm’s length and proving difficult to break down.
SUPERB AWAY FORM
Another perfect example of how Aris learned from mistakes made in the 2017/2018 season. Last year, Aris were punished after dropping too many points away from home, but that’s all changed this time around. The club only lost the one match on the road, and that came against an on-fire OFI side in Heraklion back in early April (0:2). Apart from that minor blip, Aris have been practically flawless, winning 10 out of 15 away matches and finding a way to earn points when playing poorly
UNBEATABLE IN THESSALONIKI
Aris are unbeatable at their famed Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium, not losing a single game in Thessaloniki (W 11, D 3). Backed by their fiery supporters, the players always have the 12th man behind them, and an impressive 15,000 attended the matches against Trikala and Doxa Dramas. Expect a red-hot atmosphere when PAOK visit in next season’s passionate Thessaloniki derby.
FIGHTING TO THE END
Displaying their never-say-die attitude, Aris have scored the winning goal after 85 minutes of play in five Football League matches this season, with all of those games coming on the road. Their superior physical condition fired Aris past their opponents in tight fixtures, and taking into account how testing life will be in the Super League, they need to take that determination with them to the big time.