Panathinaikos attack transformed into the best in Greece
Before going into detail, it is worth noting just how dire Panathinaikos’ attack was last season. Under Marinos Ouzounidis, the team limped to a paltry 30 goals in 30 games. However, under Giorgos Donis, the playing squad has been unbelievably transformed into the best in Greece.
Not only is the new-look playing style implemented by Donis easy on the eye, it gets results. The Greens now boast the best attacking record at the moment in the Super League after 11 rounds with 20 goals (almost 2 goals per game, which comes close to doubling last season’s efforts). PAOK have 19, AEK 18, Atromitos 17, and Olympiacos 15.
With the team looking set to comfortably smash last season’s 30 goals in no time, efficiency in front of goal has also drastically improved. The team now boasts an average of 1 goal in every 5.7 attempts. Panetolikos are currently second in that category with 1 goal in every 5.9 attempts.
Consequently, assists have also increased. Panathinaikos leads the League in that department as well with 12. AEK and PAOK are second with 11. This is largely down to the playing style as crisp passing, fast movement, and clever build up play has taken the League by storm.
Twenty one year old Tasos Chatzigiovannis has played a major part in this. He was back to his best last weekend in the rout of Apollon Smyrnis, notching up another assist to take his tally to 4 for the season so far (his cross for Dimitris Kourbelis was not given as an assist as it rebounded off an Apollon Smyrni player). On top of this, he has been involved in 10 out of the 20 Panathinaikos goals scored, such is his significance.
Italian striker Federico Macheda has also been a major success story. All summer Donis searched far and wide for his “killer” player in front of goal. In ‘Kiko’, Donis has that and much more. He is the leading scorer with 5 goals in all competitions, has been an instant hit with the fans, and embodies what it means to play for Panathinaikos.
All this is even more remarkable, given that he came to the club very late in the transfer window and did not cement his starting spot until after the first 5-6 games. He had no preseason under Donis, who instead experimented with the likes of Stefanos Regakos, Sotiris-Pantelis Pispas and Mark Sifneos, until Argiris Kampetsis and Nikos Vergos joined.
The move away from Leoforos to OAKA was supposed to lessen the home ground advantage of the Trifylli but it has had the opposite effect. The team is yet to lose a home match. In fact, the only dropped points came in the goalless draw with AEK (a game in which Panathinaikos dominated). The team has scored an impressive 14 goals in 6 games and only conceded 3 at home.
The spread of goalscorers is also a pleasing feature. There is no over-reliance on any single player to find the back of the net. This can mostly be attributed to the playing style implemented by Donis. Even defenders are scoring freely!
This is the current list of scorers after 11 rounds (incredibly there are 10 different players):
Federico Macheda (4)
Mattias Johansson (4)
Ilias Chatzitheodoridis (2)
Tasos Chatzigiovannis (2)
Dimitris Kourbelis (2)
Giannis Bouzoukis (2)
Dimitris Emmanouilidis (1)
Emanuel Insua (1)
Argiris Kampetsis (1)
Ergys Kace (1)