Action heating up at both ends of Football League table

Action heating up at both ends of Football League table

Following changes made to the Greek footballing ladder, the Football League became even more interesting this season, and it’s been a fascinating start to the 2018/2019 campaign. AGONAsport investigates.

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This season, only the winner of the Football League is directly promoted, while the side in second spot faces the 13th placed Super League team in a promotion/relegation playoff. At the lower end of the table, clubs in 11th and 12th will move down to the third tier with the Football League (Super League 2 will become the second tier), but the teams in 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th positions are all sent down to the murky depths of the Gamma Ethniki.

Let’s analyse the how promotion fight and battle to avoid relegation are shaping up after 10 of the 30 scheduled rounds:

PROMOTION

VOLOS NFC

We’re only 10 matches into the campaign, but at the moment, it seems almost a certainty that Volos NFC will earn direct promotion to the Super League. So far, Volos have been unstoppable in the Football League, tallying nine wins and one draw in the opening 10 games. In those fixtures, they’ve only conceded five goals while scoring 26, and if they are to miss out on promotion, something will have to go horribly wrong. The overwhelming favourites for first place.

Next five Football League matches:

Aiginiakos (A)

Panachaiki (H)

Apollon Larissa (A)

Iraklis (H)

Aittitos Spata (A)

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APOLLON LARISSA

In the 2017/2018 season, Apollon Larissa didn’t make any kind of impact in mid-table, but this time around they’re threatening to make a bid to move up to the bright lights of the Super League. With 10 games in the books, the Larissa boast 20 points, two ahead of nearest challengers Platanias in second spot as the club aim to make the promotion/relegation playoff against the Super League’s 13th placed team. However, in the next five games, Apollon Larissa have to play Ergotelis, Volos NFC and Platanias, with two of those matches taking place on the road.

Next five Football League matches:

Ergotelis (A)

Trikala (A)

Volos NFC (H)

Platanias (A)

Irodotos (H)

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PLATANIAS

Suffering relegation to the Football League came as a huge blow to Platanias. Last season, the Cretan organisation were reportedly troubled by financial issues as they were toothless in the Super League, but they’ve started the new campaign strongly. In 10 matches, Platanias have only lost once, registering five wins and four draws. First place may be a long shot, but if they continue their promising form, the Cretans do have a big chance to qualify for the playoff. In the upcoming five games, Platanias’ abilities will be tested as they play AOK Kerkyra, Panachaiki, Apollon Larissa and Iraklis.

Next five Football League matches:

AOK Kerkyra (A)

Aiginiakos (H)

Panachaiki (A)

Apollon Larissa (H)

Iraklis (A)

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AOK KERKYRA

Just like Platanias, Kerkyra were relegated from the Super League, and the future didn’t look overly bright for the Corfu club. Nevertheless, Kerkyra have refused to fall apart with experienced manager Dimitris Spanos at the helm, taking five wins in the maiden 10 games of the 2018/2019 Football League season. Boasting 17 points, Kerkyra are only two behind Platanias, but they need to add consistency to keep up with the leading pack. The away game against Platanias is hugely important.

Next five Football League matches:

Platanias (H)

Irodotos (A)

Sparti (A)

Aiginiakos (H)

Panachaiki (H)

ERGOTELIS

Holding 17 points, Ergotelis find themselves in joint fourth place with Kerkyra, achieving five wins, two draws and three defeats in the first stage of the Football League campaign. On their day, Ergotelis are certainly capable of beating anyone in the championship, however they have to play at their best on a more regular basis. Ergotelis fans are eager to return to the Super League.

Next five Football League matches:

Apollon Larissa (H)

Iraklis (A)

Aittitos Spata (H)

Karaiskakis (A)

Doxa Dramas (H)

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RELEGATION

IRAKLIS

When Iraklis were promoted to the Football League, many thought the Thessaloniki based club would subsequently challenge for Super League football, but it hasn’t gone to plan. Despite possessing a strong squad, Iraklis have been poor in the second division, languishing in 11th place with 10 points in as many matches. Relegation is a threat.

Next five Football League matches:

AO Chania Kissamikos (A)

Ergotelis (H)

Trikala (A)

Volos NFC (A)

Platanias (H)

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TRIKALA

In recent weeks, Trikala have made a slight improvement after a disastrous to the campaign, claiming two wins and a draw in the last three matches. Trikala had harboured hopes of even pushing for the promotion slots, but given the fact that they only have 10 points from the first 10 matches, avoiding relegation is a more realistic target.

Next five Football League matches:

Panachaiki (A)

Apollon Larissa (H)

Iraklis (H)

Aittitos Spata (A)

Karaiskakis (H)

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AITTITOS SPATA

Directly from the beginning of the season, Aittitos Spata’s only goal has been to maintain their place in the Football League after being promoted from the Gamma Ethniki, but they’ll do well to stay in the championship. Nine points in 10 matches isn’t good enough, and when looking at the tough schedule to come, you do wonder whether the team has enough depth and quality to keep above water.

Next five Football League matches:

Apollon Pontou (A)

AO Chania Kissamikos (H)

Ergotelis (A)

Trikala (H)

Volos NFC (A)

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AO CHANIA KISSAMIKOS

In the Greek Cup, Kissamikos qualified for the Round of 16 instead of Panetolikos, but their form in the Football League has been thoroughly disappointing. Kissamikos didn’t expect to be battling relegation, and after a shocking start to the season, the Cretans are now gradually beginning to create some momentum. Kissamikos should be able to avoid relegation.

Next five Football League matches:

Iraklis (H)

Aittitos Spata (A)

Karaiskakis (H)

Doxa Dramas (A)

Apollon Pontou (H)

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AIGINIAKOS

It’s not hard to see where Aiginiakos’ problems lie. Incredibly, Aiginiakos average over two goals against in every match, conceding 22 in just 10 Football League matches. Such a leaky, mistake prone back line is not going to keep Aiginiakos playing in the second level of Greek football, and that has to immediately be corrected in the near future.

Next five Football League matches:

Volos NFC (H)

Platanias (A)

Irodotos (H)

AOK Kerkyra (A)

Sparti (A)

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SPARTI

Due to financial issues, Sparti were handed a transfer ban for the summer, which meant they stuck to signing young players under the age of 23. Sadly for Sparti, the restrictions have had a major effect on their showings, with the club only winning one of 10 Football League matches while drawing five and losing four. Sparti have only scored a mere five goals in the division.

Next five Football League matches:

Irodotos (H)

Doxa Dramas (A)

AOK Kerkyra (H)

Apollon Pontou (A)

Aiginiakos (H)

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by Shaun Nicolaides

Image Source: sdna.gr

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