AEK aim to secure maximum SuperLeague points before challenging February
With 2017 coming to an end, AEK Athens can look forward to a few supposedly easier fixtures in the Super League. The Kitrinomavri had to endure four consecutive tough matches in the domestic league, but they emerged practically unscathed to top the standings.
AEK’s disappointing home defeat to Atromitos sent alarm bells ringing, however the team recovered to defeat Panionios and PAOK before securing a dramatic draw against Panathinaikos. Despite the long term injuries suffered by key midfielders Petros Mantalos and Jakob Johansson, AEK seem to be coping and are in pole position to cling on to first place moving into 2018.
After competing in those testing matches, AEK do have a much easier schedule coming up. It all starts on Monday with a game against bottom club Platanias at the OAKA, a match which AEK should comfortably win. They have to travel for a tricky match with Levadiakos on matchday 13, but AEK then see out 2017 with two simple games against AOK Kerkyra and Apollon Smyrnis in Athens.
Nevertheless, tiredness is beginning to catch up with AEK’s players. The capital outfit failed to seal qualification from their Europa League group on Thursday, meaning that head coach Manolo Jimenez will not have the opportunity to rest players in the deciding match against Austria Vienna in early December. AEK certainly don’t have the biggest squad, so it remains to be seen whether the team can cope with the demanding schedule. Recent results suggest that AEK are starting to find it challenging competing on two fronts with the same set of players participating every time.
In February, providing AEK do progress from the Europa League group stages, the team will have European knockout football to deal with alongside huge Super League matches. One of those games includes a derby against Olympiacos in Piraeus, a potentially decisive match in the title race. AEK fans will be hoping that their heroes can take maximum points in the Super League before they are pitted into February’s ring of fire.
AEK’s remaining 2017 fixtures:
November 27: AEK vs Platanias (SuperLeague)
November 30: Kallithea vs AEK (Greek Cup)
December 3: Levadiakos vs AEK (SuperLeague)
December 7: Austria Vienna vs AEK (UEFA Europa League)
December 11: AEK vs Kerkyra (SuperLeague)
December 16: AEK vs Apollon Smyrnis (SuperLeague)