Olympiacos vs PAOK Preview
Best Match of the Round
Without throwing too much disrespect at the rest of the matchups in Super League Greece on Matchday 10, the Olympiacos and PAOK clash at the Karaiskakis is undoubtably the jewel of the round.
It is tough to look past a riveting matchup between thirteenth place PAS Giannina and fourteenth place Volos but stick with me (sarcasm).
Thrylos enters the match on a high after getting the best of their English opponents, West Ham, in the UEFA Europa League just over a week ago. In addition, the red and whites followed up on their European success with a win on the island of Crete against a stubborn OFI thanks to Daniel Podence who netted a pair of goals in a 2:0 win.
Martinez Has PAOK History
An interesting side note to the upcoming match is that this is not the first time that Diego Martinez has faced PAOK. The Spanish bench-boss was at the helm of Granada CF during the 2020-2021 UEFA Europa League and his side were placed in Group E along with PAOK, PSV and Omonia Nicosia. On both occasions against the Greek side, Martinez and Grenada would share the points via two 0:0 draws. Despite the share of points, PSV and Martinez’s Grenada would breeze through Group E into the knockout rounds.
In that same year, Olympiacos reached the Round of 16 and were bested by Arsenal via a 3:2 aggregate score line. Despite the overall loss, a Youssef El Arabi goal at the Emirates sealed an impressive 1:0 victory for the Greek side.
PAOK Show Consistency
On the other side of the halfway line, PAOK are hoping that their second trip to the Greek capital in as many weeks will be a more fruitful journey. The club from the north were bested by AEK on Matchday 9 via a 2:0 final. Orbelin Pineda and Niclas Eliasson providing the tallies for the home side.
I think it is important to note that the AEK loss was just one of two defeats suffered thus far in all competition for the Thessaloniki-based side. PAOK have yet to lose in Europe (jinx) and found their voyage to Crete to be rather difficult through a 0:1 loss back on Matchday 3.
Andrija Zivkovic leads the pack with four goals to his name in nine league matches played. I would also recommend Olympiacos fans pay attention to Giannis Konstantelias (20 years-old) who is a very entertaining, highly skilled, and pacey Greek talent within the PAOK ranks. Magomed Ozdoev, Taison, and Kiril Despodov offer offensive intrigue to the PAOK cause.
The Rise of Porozo
The rise of Jackson Porozo has been a welcome site over the last while. It appears that the Ecuadorian center-back has found his stride and is gaining momentum with more minutes in both Greece and in Europe. A ninety-minute performance against West Ham was complimented with another full match-played against OFI on Matchday 9. It appears that Porozo has finally arrived, and Martinez has found his confidence in the player going forward.
It is likely that Porozo will get the start against PAOK and with five foreign-based players allowed to play, the question is proposed to fans around the coffee table – who’s out? Likely Quini, because with Porozo becoming a starter, the number of foreign players surpasses the 5 player limit and Ortega seems the most likely candidate to be sacrificed.
Where’s Omar Richards?
With Rodinei and Hezze both waiting for European passports, we have to ask the question: where’s Waldo or more specifically, where’s Omar Richards? Since coming to Olympiacos (on loan) from Nottingham Forest in late August the twenty-five-year-old has yet to show face for the club this season. What a bizarre situation to say the least. Quini has been a soldier since joining on a free this summer but most Olympiacos fans would agree, they'd like to see a pure left footed wing back playing down the flank than Quini. Sidenote: despite Brexit, UK players still count as European and don't count as foreigners.
Did Someone Order a 4-3-3?
During the West Ham match, Diego Martinez gave the fans a taste of the 4-3-3 that some Olympiacos fans would like to see more of. When will we see it again? Does he have the ingredients (players) to conjure up yet another delicious 4-3-3 for our palette?
Paschalakis, Rodinei, Porozo, Retsos, Quini, Camara, Alexandropoulos, Hezze, Podence, Fortounis, El Kaabi
I know that I would welcome seeing that group of players in a 4-3-3 formation sometime soon. I’m game for whenever you are, Diego.
Enjoy the Football
I hope you have a good weekend and I’ll see you soon!
Ελπίζω να έχετε ένα όμορφο Σαββατοκύριακο. Τα λέμε!
Enjoy the football!
Απολαύστε το ποδόσφαιρο!