SLGR Matchday 16 Preview: Away Tests For Three Of Top Four
GREEK SUPERLEAGUE - MATCHDAY 16
|Date||Home Team||Time||Away Team|
|7-Jan-18||PAS Lammia||10:15 AM||Xanthi|
|7-Jan-18||PAS Giannina||10:15 AM||Asteras Tripolis|
|8-Jan-18||Apollon Smyrnis||12:30 PM||Atromitos|
AGONAsport’s George Tsitsonis brings you a full preview for matchday 16 of the Greek SuperLeague.
The second half of the Greek Super League season kicks off this weekend with Matchday 16 action. To the surprise of many, a title race has started to take shape and Greek fans will be hoping that this continues heading into the latter stages of the season.
Winter champions Olympiacos head to Larisa this weekend in the AGONAsport Match of the Week for a tricky away tie. The Erythrolefki were in superb form to end the first half of the season reeling off six consecutive wins to finish in first place after 15 rounds.
Takis Lemonis was the man at the helm that oversaw Olympiacos’ rise from down five points early on in the season to first place. However, this week the club parted ways with the manager and on Friday announced he would be replaced by Spanish manager Oscar Garcia. The idea seems to be to have Garcia be able to have half a season to begin to mold his side. The decision to switch managers though does not come without its risks.
Larisa meanwhile will be no pushovers. They too endured a poor start to the season, but have since bounced back to climb up to 7th in the standings. With their good form and an undefeated home record, the Vissini will be confident of picking up a result.
AEK and PAOK are tied for second spot in the table, one point behind Olympiacos. AEK face an awkward visit to Panetolikos on Saturday. The signings of Masoud Shojaei and Erik Moran reinforces an AEK midfield weakened by injury in recent months. Manolo Jimenez’s side will need to improve their goalscoring on the road as they have managed only six away goals this season. Panetolikos are struggling this season, mired down near the bottom, and would draw some much-needed confidence with a result against AEK.
PAOK seek their 8th consecutive home victory on Saturday when they host Levadiakos. Razvan Lucescu’s team have been downright unbeatable at the Toumba Stadium managing the league’s best home record during the first half of the season. They take on a Levadiakos team who came out of the blocks in blistering fashion, but who eventually cooled off in November and December.
In the matchday’s Monday night game, fourth-placed Atromitos travel to Apollon Smyrni. Atromitos are only two points off the top and have lost only one match this season, the fewest number of defeats of any team in the league. Apollon have given an overall decent account of themselves thus far in the top-flight. They will know that much work remains to be done if they are to avoid a relegation fight.
The weekend kicks off with Panionios welcoming Kerkyra to Nea Smyrni. Injuries have wreaked havoc with Panionios this season, but they remain a solid side who is in 5th place. Kerkyra meanwhile are in the thrust of a relegation battle. They are still looking for that first elusive away win of the season.
One of the weekend’s most intriguing match-ups take place on Sunday when PAS Giannina and Asteras Tripolis tangle in Giannina. For PAS, they must now reshuffle their backline with the loss of center-back Kostas Mavropanos who made the switch to Arsenal this week. Asteras have used a fantastic run to put themselves back up the standings into 6th. A European spot, something that seemed so unlikely at one point, no appears within grasp with a strong second half of the season.
Panathinaikos will fancy their chances against bottom-side Platanias on Sunday. Marinos Ouzounidis’ team are having a terrible season on and off the pitch, but Platanias’ visit means that they should get back to winning ways. Platanias are stuck on a paltry six points and should face relegation barring a miraculous run in the remaining 15 matches.
Finally, a midtable tussle pits Lamia against Xanthi in Sunday’s remaining fixture. The two teams have 13 draws between them this season as a close match surely beckons.