SLGR Matchday 20 Preview: Titanic Toumba Tilt To Define Title Race
AGONAsport’s George Tsitsonis previews matchday 20 of the 2018/19 Greek SuperLeague.
Watch the much anticipated Super League top of the table clash between PAOK & Olympiacos LIVE from AGONAsport on Sunday, February 10th. Details here!
Matchday 20 of the 2018/19 Greek Super League could the most definitive yet with regard to the title race. League leaders PAOK host Olympiacos on Sunday evening in the biggest league match of the season. In a balanced weekend which features games spread over three days, there will be additional interest in the fight for Europe with Atromitos at home and the chasing duo of Aris and Panathinaikos in away tests. AEK also begin a new era with Manolo Jimenez back at the club for a third time.
Below is a day-by-day breakdown of this weekend’s matches.
Panionios - Apollon Smirnis
Xanthi - Lamia
PAS Giannina - Panathinaikos
A trio of fixtures are on tap for Saturday. The action kicks off in Nea Smyrni where Panionios welcome last-placed Apollon Smirnis. Panionios’ league form has been woeful, however they may have received a boost with midweek Greek Cup win over PAOK.
Xanthi are beginning to lose touch with the final European place and need a victory this weekend at home to Lamia. The visitors went down to Panetolikos last weekend, but before that had won three matches on the bounce.
Panathinaikos will look to arrest their recent dip in form away to PAS Giannina in Saturday’s late kick-off. The Prasini are winless in their last four matches and also suffered a Greek Cup exit to Lamia in the last month. PAS currently occupy the final automatic relegation position and are desperate to avoid a relegation fight.
AEK - OFI
Atromitos - Levadiakos
PAOK - Olympiacos
The AGONAsport Match of the Week and indeed the league’s most anticipated this season takes place late on Sunday when PAOK and Olympiacos clash at the Toumba Stadium in Thessaloniki. The rivalry between these two sides has intensified in recent years. This season, PAOK appear to have their best shot at winning the league title for the first time since 1985. Still undefeated, Razvan Lucescu’s team are six points clear atop the Super League with ten matches remaining. A win or a draw on Sunday against second-place Olympiacos would see the Dikefalos tou Vorra take a massive step to winning that elusive championship.It promises to be an intriguing night as Olympiacos enter the game on a high, unbeaten in their last 12 matches and considered by many to be playing the best football in the country at the moment. A victory for them would trim PAOK’s advantage to only three points and thus ensure a true title race to close out the season.
Elsewhere on Sunday, the day begins with AEK playing host to OFI in Athens. It will be familiar territory for new AEK manager Manolo Jimenez who joins the Kitrinomavri for his third spell with the club. After last week’s 1-1 draw with PAOK, Marinos Ouzounidis tendered his resignation and Jimenez was appointed very quickly.
Atromitos are in action on Sunday against troubled Levadiakos. Atromitos are trying to find consistency after a series of subpar results. They still have a four-point lead over Aris for the final European berth and will seek to hold that advantage. Levadiakos meanwhile are in serious need of points. The club are currently on 13 points, four points from safety.
Panetolikos - Larisa
Asteras Tripolis - Aris
A pair of Monday night clashes close out the round. Panetolikos and Larisa meet up in Agrinio. Larisa need to improve their woeful away form as they are beginning to slip close to the bottom four. Panetolikos have no such worries, though a strong final third of the season could see them with an outside shot at Europe.
One team with growing European ambitions is certainly Aris. This weekend they are away to Asteras Tripolis. Aris have won two straight and will feel that they can close the gap on fourth place if they can string some more victories together. Asteras have struggled with a challenging set of fixtures since the beginning of January, having played all the top four teams.