SLGR Matchday 20 Preview: Derby At The Karaiskakis
GREEK SUPERLEAGUE - MATCHDAY 20
|Date||Home Team||Time||Away Team|
|3-Feb-18||Asteras Tripolis||8:00 AM||Xanthi|
|4-Feb-18||PAS Giannina||8:00 AM||PAOK|
|5-Feb-18||Platanias||12:30 PM||Apollon Smyrnis|
AGONAsport’s George Tsitsonis brings you a full preview for matchday 20 of the Greek SuperLeague.
Ten rounds remain in the 2017/18 Greek Super League season. PAOK are trying to win their first title since 1985 and have a one point lead heading into Matchday 20. However, the biggest match of the round is undoubtedly Sunday’s late game at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus.
Olympiacos and AEK clash in the AGONAsport Match of the Week in a derby with a lot on the line. Pride of course, but both teams have their sights firmly affixed on the title and thus there is even more riding on the outcome of what promises to be a fierce fight.
Olympiacos dropped two points away to Asteras Tripolis last week after nine straight victories. PAOK overtook the Erythrolefki at the top of the Super League standings and Oscar Garcia’s side will hope to jump back into first by the end of the weekend. AEK meanwhile had fallen off the pace, but a win last week saw them come back to within two points of the top. Manolo Jimenez’s men will want to pull the double over their big rivals, having beaten Olympiacos 3-2 in an epic encounter back on Matchday 5.
PAOK’s ability to stay in first is dependent on the Thessaloniki giants picking up a win against PAS Giannina this weekend. This is the type of match that has been a banana peel in the past for the club. Is this the season though where they can last until the end? With seven consecutive victories, Razvan Lucescu’s side is the form team in the division. The PAOK backline and goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis have allowed zero goals in that stretch in a remarkable run. PAS have been a bogey team for many clubs heading to Giannina, so it will be interested if the midtable side can upset PAOK. PAS are undefeated at home on the season, though they have won only two matches with seven draws in nine games at the Zosimades Stadium.
Elsewhere, Atromitos have a tricky looking encounter away to Lamia. The home side are showing they are capable of avoiding the drop and a victory would move them up to midtable. Atromitos have had a tiny rough patch, but are still within six points of the top and comfortably in fourth at the moment.
The weekend kicks off early on Saturday with an intriguing affair between Asteras Tripolis and Xanthi. Asteras hosts the side from northern Greece as they find themselves in a three-way tie for 5th along with Xanthi and Panionios. The winner of this match will have the advantage as far as European qualification goes in the final stretch.
Panionios face a tough trip away to Larisa. Panionios will want to take advantage of the result between Asteras and Xanthi, but will have their work cut out against a Larisa side who are always difficult to beat at home.
The winter transfer window saw Panathinaikos lose several of their main players due to their financial problems. The Prasini side that takes on Panetolikos this weekend will have a whole host of new players in their squad. Panetolikos looked to be an improved proposition under Traianos Dellas, even if they have faced a very challenging schedule in recent weeks.
Kerkyra will seek their first away win of the campaign when they travel to meet up with Levadiakos. The island club are winless on their road and have looked a defeated side in the last two months. Levadiakos also have been in a big slump and only find themselves in 11th due to a superb start to the season.
Finally, in a return to the Monday night matchup, Platanias welcome Apollon Smirnis. If there is any hope for Platanias to avoid relegation they will have to win this match against Apollon. Likewise for Apollon, a first away win would give them some crucial points and a psychological boost heading into the last third of the season.