Greeks Abroad Season Review: How the leading lights performed in the 2018/2019 season
AGONAsport’s Shaun Nicolaides reviews how the leading Greek players performed in foreign leagues during the 2018/2019 season.
In England, Sokratis Papastathopoulos helped Arsenal reach the final of the UEFA Europa League, but fellow Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos struggled with injuries in London. Over in Italy, Kostas Manolas’ ever-growing reputation took another rise with AS Roma, while Odisseas Vlachodimos and Andreas Samaris won the Portuguese Primeira Liga at Benfica. Struggling Galatasaray loanee Konstantinos Mitroglou claimed the Turkish double, and in the Netherlands, Lazaros Lamprou, Marios Vrousai and Vangelis Pavlidis began to realise their obvious potential.
Let’s take a closer look at how the leading lights performed:
Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Arsenal/English Premier League): When he transferred to Arsenal last year, several English fans doubted his abilities, but the 30-year-old was solid throughout the majority of the campaign. Adding well-needed leadership to a shaky Arsenal side, Papastathopoulos was one of the few defenders to emerge with any credit from the season, as the Gunners finished in fifth place of the English Premier League and lost in the final of the UEFA Europa League. His tendency to make rash challenges requires improvement.
English Premier League: 25 appearances, 1 goal, 2 assists
UEFA Europa League: 12 appearances, 2 goals, 0 assists
FA Cup: 2 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
EFL Cup: 1 appearance, 0 goals, 0 assists
Konstantinos Mavropanos (Arsenal/English Premier League): The 21-year-old was rarely given a chance by Unai Emery. Hampered by injuries, Mavropanos spent long periods on the sidelines, restricted to a mere four matches in the English Premier League. It’s expected that the young centre-back will leave Arsenal either on loan or a permanent deal this summer.
English Premier League: 4 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
UEFA Europa League: 0 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
FA Cup: 0 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
EFL Cup: 0 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
Jose Cholevas (Watford/English Premier League): Playing on the left side of defence, Cholevas contributed well to the Watford attack, making an impressive six assists in the Premier League while also scoring three goals. However, Cholevas ended a positive campaign on a negative note, as he endured a nightmare in the FA Cup Final with Watford conceding a huge 0:6 loss to Manchester City. Cholevas, 34, has turned down the opportunity to return to the international scene.
English Premier League: 28 appearances, 3 goals, 6 assists
FA Cup: 4 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
EFL Cup: 0 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
Panagiotis Retsos (Bayer Leverkusen/German Bundesliga): Sadly, his season was completely ruined by injury. Given his excellent 2017/2018 season in Germany, Retsos was expected to continue his rapid development, but he was unable to play after a series of injuries which resulted in the 20-year-old only playing in one game in the entire campaign. The defender will hope to stay healthy in the upcoming season.
Bundesliga: 0 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
UEFA Europa League: 1 appearance, 0 goals, 0 assists
German Cup: 0 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
Anastasios Donis (VfB Stuttgart/German Bundesliga): At times, Donis displayed his skills and managed to score five Bundesliga goals, but he lacked consistency and Stuttgart suffered relegation to the second tier after losing to Union Berlin in the playoffs. Predictably, the 22-year-old forward isn’t overly keen on playing in the Bundesliga-2, and he has been linked with a move away. Transfermarkt rates his value at four million euros.
Bundesliga: 26 appearances, 5 goals, 3 assists
German Cup: 1 appearance, 0 goals, 0 assists
Konstantinos Stafylidis (Augsburg/German Bundesliga): Returning from an unsuccessful loan at Stoke City in the 2017/2018 season, the experienced left-back was injured for the first stage of the campaign before he later competed in 12 Bundesliga matches. It has already been confirmed that Stafylidis will transfer to fellow German club Hoffenheim in July upon the expiry of his Augsburg contract.
Bundesliga: 12 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
German Cup: 2 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
Stefanos Kapino (Werder Bremen/German Bundesliga): It’s all gone wrong for the 25-year-old goalkeeper after fell out of favour at Olympiacos in late 2017. At first, he failed to impress in England with Nottingham Forest, and he has now spent the whole of the 2018/2019 season as the back-up goalkeeper at Werder Bremen. Kapino played in just the one Bundesliga game with Werder.
Bundesliga: 1 appearance, 1 goal conceded, 0 clean sheets
German Cup: 0 appearances, 0 goals conceded, 0 clean sheets
Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Hamburg/German Bundesliga 2): A season to forget for the centre-back. Papadopoulos was held back by a serious injury at the start of the campaign, and when he returned in the spring, the 27-year-old then ran into muscular problems. To top it all off, Hamburg didn’t gain promotion to the top level.
Bundesliga 2: 1 appearance, 0 goals, 0 assists
German Cup: 1 appearance, 0 goals, 0 assists
Kostas Manolas (AS Roma/Serie A): Manolas’ reputation is continuing to grow. Becoming one of the world’s most sought-after defenders, the 27-year-old was a leader for Roma again this season, playing in 34 matches across all tournaments. Transfermarkt rate Manolas’ value at a large 45 million, and if reports in the media are to be believed, Manchester United are highly interested in acquiring his services.
Serie A: 27 appearances, 1 goal, 1 assists
UEFA Champions League: 7 appearances, 1 goal, 0 assists
Italian Cup: 1 appearance, 0 goals, 0 assists
Orestis Karnezis (Napoli/Serie A): The ageing goalkeeper was largely used as back-up in Napoli. In the 2018/2019 season, Karnezis played as a loanee from Udinese, but Napoli have now paid 2.5 million in order to sign the Greek on a permanent basis. Karnezis has lost his place in the Greek national team as a result of his lack of playing time in Naples.
Serie A: 9 appearances, 7 conceded goals, 4 clean sheets
UEFA Champions League: 0 appearances, 0 conceded goals, 0 clean sheets
UEFA Europa League: 0 appearances, 0 conceded goals, 0 clean sheets
Italian Cup: 0 appearances, 0 conceded goals, 0 clean sheets
Charalampos Lykogiannis (Cagliari/Serie A): The left-back kept the bench warm for Cagliari for the majority of the season. Overall, Lykogiannis participated in 11 Serie A matches, popping up with one assist in what was his maiden full campaign in Italy. Lykogiannis needs to play in more games if he is to fully realise his potential and return to the senior Greek national team.
Serie A: 11 appearances, 0 goals, 1 assist
Italian Cup: 1 appearance, 0 goals, 1 assist
Panagiotis Tachtsidis (Lecce/Serie B): In September, Tachtsidis penned a deal with Nottingham Forest after departing Olympiacos, but he didn’t play in England and was shifted out to Serie B outfit Lecce. Since that move, Tachtsidis has begun to get back to his best, dishing out three assists as Lecce earned promotion to Serie A. It’s not yet known where the defensive midfielder will play his football in the 2019/2020 season.
Serie B: 17 appearances, 0 goals, 3 assists
Odisseas Vlachodimos (Benfica/Portuguese Primeira Liga): What a season it was for the new Greek national team starting goalkeeper. Vlachodimos immediately became Benfica’s number one after arriving from Panathinaikos, and thanks in part to his reliable showings, the Lisbon club won the Portuguese Primeira Liga. The 25-year-old also helped Benfica finish third place in their UEFA Champions League group by giving a superb performance in a 3:2 win at AEK in October.
Portuguese Primeira Liga: 34 appearances, 30 goals conceded, 15 clean sheets
UEFA Champions League: 10 appearances, 14 goals conceded, 2 clean sheets
UEFA Europa League: 6 appearances, 6 goals conceded, 2 clean sheets
Portuguese Cup: 0 appearances, 0 goals conceded, 0 clean sheets
Andreas Samaris (Benfica/Portuguese Primeira Liga): At first, Samaris was left out in the cold, but his fortunes dramatically changed for the better after Bruno Lage replaced Rui Vitoria as manager. Following the coaching change, Samaris became a key cog of the Benfica midfield, playing in 10 league matches and earning a new contract through to 2023. A perfect example of how important a coach is for a player’s confidence.
Portuguese Primeira Liga: 19 appearances, 2 goals, 3 assists
UEFA Champions League: 0 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
UEFA Europa League: 3 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
Portuguese Cup: 3 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
Dimitris Siovas (Leganes/La Liga): The fact he was named the Leganes Fans’ Player of the Year speaks volumes. Leganes aren’t one of the leading clubs in La Liga, but that hasn’t prevented Siovas from making his mark on the Spanish game, turning into Leganes’ best centre-back since transferring to the club in July 2017. Siovas scored one goal in 34 championship games.
La Liga: 34 appearances, 1 goal scored, 0 assists
Copa del Rey: 3 appearances, 0 goals scored, 1 assist
Carlos Zeca (FC Copenhagen/Danish Superliga): Zeca has turned into somewhat of a cult figure for Copenhagen fans. Always playing with commitment and passion, the Greek international midfielder possesses excellent leadership qualities, and he is the current Copenhagen captain. Zeca controls the midfield to good effect and played a major role in Copenhagen’s run to the Danish title.
Danish Superliga: 32 appearances, 1 goal, 2 assists
UEFA Europa League: 12 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
Danish Cup: 1 appearance, 0 goals, 0 assists
Konstantinos Mitroglou (Galatasaray/Turkish Super Lig): On one hand, Mitroglou barely played any matches and never gained momentum, but he won the Turkish double after moving on loan to Galatasaray from Marseille in June. Mitroglou is likely to stay at Galatasaray for the 2019/2020 season as he aims to get his flailing career back on track.
Ligue 1: 14 appearances, 3 goals, 0 assists
Coupe de la Ligue: 1 appearance, 0 goals, 0 assists
UEFA Europa League: 5 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
Turkish Super Lig: 7 appearances, 1 goal, 1 assist
Turkish Cup: 2 appearances, 1 goal, 0 assists
Georgios Tzavellas (Alanyaspor/Turkish Super Lig): Tzavellas, 31, is no longer part of the national team set-up and is past his best. To his credit. Tzavellas performed reasonably well with mid-table side Alanyaspor, participating in 27 matches as the modest club claimed ninth spot in the standings.
Turkish Super Lig: 27 appearances, 1 goal, 0 assists
Turkish Cup: 3 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
Alexandros Tziolis (Al Fayha/Saudi Professional League): The veteran defensive midfielder isn’t the most popular figure among Ethniki Omada fans. In Saudi Arabia, Tziolis is still plodding along, almost always included in the starting line-up for Al Fayha. The 34-year-old scored one goal and made one assist in the domestic league.
Saudi Professional League: 29 appearances, 1 goal, 1 assist
King’s Cup: 2 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
Lazaros Lamprou (Fortuna Sittard/Eredivisie): On loan from PAOK, Lamprou was an outstanding figure for Eredivisie strugglers Fortuna Sittard, catching the attention of bigger clubs with his great play in the attacking third. In the Eredivisie, the 21-year-old winger tallied seven goals and eight assists, and he deserves a chance in the PAOK first team. His value is rated at 1.75 million.
Eredivisie: 24 appearances, 7 goals, 8 assists
Dutch Cup: 3 appearances, 1 goal, 2 assists
Marios Vrousai (Willem II/Eredivisie): One for the future. In the first half of the season, Vrousai wasn’t given many chances by Pedro Martins, so Olympiacos sent the winger on loan to Willem II where he subsequently shone. Gaining four goals and five assists in the Eredivisie, Vrousai proved his potential, and he is due to remain with Willem II for the 2019/2020 season. A real talent.
Eredivisie: 16 appearances, 4 goals, 5 assists
Dutch Cup: 2 appearances, 0 goals, 2 assists
Vangelis Pavlidis (Willem II/Eredivisie): Another loanee who caught the headlines in Holland. In January, Pavlidis joined Willem II on loan from VfL Bochum, going on to score five goals in the Eredivisie alongside registering four assists. Pavlidis and Vrousai, both aged 20, boast massive potential and were vital figures for Willem II in the latter half of the 2018/2019 campaign.
Eredivisie: 14 appearances, 5 goals, 4 assists
Dutch Cup: 3 appearances, 1 goal, 1 assist