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A Guide to AEK Athens

By Tom Owen :  15/09/2009 :  Comments (24) :

One of the most famous clubs in Greek football visit Goodison on Thursday and they arrive unbeaten this season.

Like us, they were beaten finalists last May in the national cup competition. But what a game. It seems AEK scored in the 90th minute to go 3-2 up against Olympiakos who then went and equalised deep into injury time. The two teams went into extra-time which finished 4-4 so they went to penalties, loads of penalties. AEK lost 15-14 on "pens" after each team took 17 penalties! And we think we're unlucky.

Last Sunday night AEK Athens recorded their second win of the new campaign with a 1-0 win against Iraklis. AEK will be hoping to mount a title challenge as they have not won the Greek championship since the mid-90s.

The club was founded in Athens in 1924 by Greek refugees from what they called Constantinople, but is now called Istanbul, following the 1919–1922 Greek-Turkish war. It was a sports and cultural organisation but its football club is the most high-profile product.

The team usually play in a yellow and black strip that was adopted from AEK’s connections with Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire. The club's emblem is a two-headed eagle which apparently represents the Byzantine Empire which was lying from East to West, where the two heads of the eagle were staring.

One of the most successful clubs in Greece, AEK have won their league 11 times, the cup 13 times and super cup twice. Their best run in Europe was getting to the Uefa Cup semi-finals in 1976-77.

The last time AEK won the Greek title was 1994, which was their third successive championship. In 12 of the last 13 seasons, the title has been won by Olympiakos.

During 2003-04 financial problems left AEK struggling for survival. The club was ready to declare bankruptcy when a group of investors took over and sorted out AEK's debts.

AEK play their home games at the Olympic Stadium which holds around 70,000. It was the venue for the 2004 Olympic Games and hosted the Champions League final in 2007 in which Liverpool lost to AC Milan.

They will be the second Greek team to visit Goodison in recent seasons. There was Larissa who where beaten 3-1 by the blues in the Uefa Cup group stages two years ago.

Older Evertonians will remember the visit of Greek club Panathinaikos for a European Cup quarter-final first-leg game in 1971. We were expected to go through but only drew 1-1 at Goodison despite being all over them. In the second leg we drew 0-0 and went out on the away goals rule. It was perhaps a turning point in our history.

Today, AEK's most notable player to us Evertonians is Krisztian Nemeth who is on loan from Liverpool. Kafes Pantelis their experienced captain wears the number 1 shirt when actually he is a midfielder. Roger Guerreiro, a Polish international who scored in the Euro 2008 finals against Austria, is said to be a key player for AEK. Then there is Daniel Majstoroviæ who has 36 caps at international level for Sweden.

New signing Leonardo is another player to keep an eye out for. He wears the number 9 shirt. Young midfielder Grigoris Makos has made several appearances at under-21 level for Greece and two appearances for the senior national side. Ismael Blanco, AEK’s talisman, has scored 38 goals in 72 appearances for AEK. Let’s hope he doesn’t give Howard a torrid night. Panagiotis Tachtsidis is a tall 18-year-old midfielder from the youth ranks of AEK who made several appearances for AEK last season.

With Moyes having a right back crisis and with the news that Neville will be out for some time, Moyes has some thinking to do about his team to play AEK. Greek teams have a reputation for putting the emphasis on defending. It will sure be a hard game. Let's hope they get no penalties.

Reader Comments

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Jason Broome
1   Posted 16/09/2009 at 04:40:04

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AEK Athens should be a streak of piss for a team with Champions League aspirations, but I’m expecting another tedious 4-5-1 display with the dreaded ’long ball’ written all over it!
Jonathan Tasker
2   Posted 16/09/2009 at 08:39:57

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That Panathinaikos game still haunts me after all these years.

As I recall it was played in the afternoon and news came through, I was at school, that we had drawn 0-0 and were out.

Am expecting tomorrow to be turgid rubbish but I hope for any kind of win. The bookies have us at Evens to win the group. Needless to say, I don’t share that view.
Craig Wilson
3   Posted 16/09/2009 at 10:48:33

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Jason/Jonathan are you both fully paid up members of "Tony & the Marshettes"?? All doom and gloom I see, well I predicate that after the previous poor results and now the injury to Neville coupled with playing at home, we have no option but to come out fighting so am going for a 3-0 win. If am wrong well at least I was optimistic and had the balls to call it a day before, rather than the people who call it the day after with "I knew that would happen" you know who you are........
Alan Ross
4   Posted 16/09/2009 at 11:27:06

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Craig...

Where can I find a pair of those Rose-tinted glasses you possess. I could do with a pair cos all this reality is depressing me.
Craig Wilson
5   Posted 16/09/2009 at 11:57:37

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Alan You have to search deep into your soul to find them but they are there.... The glass is always better when its half full. the last couple of performances have been poor we all know that but we didn’t exactly have a great start last season and by the end of it it turned into a very good one, so fingers crossed
Alex Taylor
6   Posted 16/09/2009 at 12:20:32

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This is going to be a tough game. I see Gosling is being touted as the player best suited to fill the right back position on the OS.

I really can’t see any other way around it. Third choice rightback.

Not a good omen.
Norman Merrill
7   Posted 16/09/2009 at 12:47:10

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Alex, as you say, its Goslings name,thats being mentioned on certain sites.
It was mentioned when we signed him from Plymouth, that he played at right back, my
problem with that is that has he played in that
position for the reserves?
Everytime I watched England under 19’s
in the summer tournement he played in midfield, and may I say very well scoring, on the way to the final.
With the injury, suspension, and new boy ineligable, we have a problem.
I just hope, that if Danny has to play, then
he has the support of the fans and more so his team mates.
What puzzles me is that did Moyes rate him as a right back?
Norman Merrill
8   Posted 16/09/2009 at 13:04:14

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Because if he does, why go for Naughton, when he had Gosling sitting on the bench?
surely if he rated him, it would have saved money for another position?
Alex Taylor
9   Posted 16/09/2009 at 13:15:43

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Norman.


If he starts at rightback, then its even more important that he has good cover infront of him.

How many times have we seen Osman’s inability to provide cover for Hibbert lead to goals at the far post from crosses and such?

If Gosling plays rightback, is Osman going to do his usual trick of driting in to the middle, leaving the flank wide open for an inexperienced stand-in to cover on his own?

If so, who should we play in right midfield?

I’d be more inclined to switch Piennaar t the right and play Bily on the left with the more experienced leftback Baines.

That’s my though, anyway.
Alex Taylor
10   Posted 16/09/2009 at 13:15:43

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Norman.


If he starts at rightback, then its even more important that he has good cover infront of him.

How many times have we seen Osman’s inability to provide cover for Hibbert lead to goals at the far post from crosses and such?

If Gosling plays rightback, is Osman going to do his usual trick of driting in to the middle, leaving the flank wide open for an inexperienced stand-in to cover on his own?

If so, who should we play in right midfield?

I’d be more inclined to switch Piennaar t the right and play Bily on the left with the more experienced leftback Baines.

That’s my though, anyway.
Suzy Whitehead
11   Posted 16/09/2009 at 13:23:12

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Cheers for that Tom.

Massive game for us.

Fingers crossed.
Jay Harris
12   Posted 16/09/2009 at 13:57:38

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First of all can I thank Tom Owen for a good analysis of AEK.

Secondly I think there is room for cautious optimism tomorrow.

The players know they have to shake themselves up and after all it’s only the Greek league so in theory we should have enough to bag the win.

However it will be tough as we’re finding it hard to score goals and we’ve yet to keep a clean sheet.

I predict a 1-0 or 2-0 scoreline with a penalty thrown in as long as we put out a reasonably attack minded team.
Liam Reilly
13   Posted 16/09/2009 at 14:45:28

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Nice work Tom.

As regards DG. He says on the OS that Right Back is not his preferred position, maybe that’s why Moyes doesn’t usually consider him here.

One things for sure, AEK are no mugs and he will need whoever is on the right side of midfield to be disciplined.
David Holroyd
14   Posted 16/09/2009 at 15:13:41

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Rose tinted specs, no its called being a realist Craig.
Christopher Arellano
15   Posted 16/09/2009 at 16:25:26

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Nice history, Tom. What a thrilling game AEK had with the penalty kicks...

If they were playing anyone else, I’d be inclined to support ’em.

But it’s going to be 2-1 Everton.
Ellen West
16   Posted 16/09/2009 at 17:21:21

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Well I’m excited by all this Europa league fever, though I am concerned if Moyes does play Gosling at right back, then Gosling goes off injured after ten minutes - who will replace him! (rhetorical question - no need to answer).


The negativity of this site is starting to get the better of me.

Karl Masters
17   Posted 16/09/2009 at 17:32:19

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Thanks Tom. I was wondering about AEK Athens today and realised I knew very little about them except for one bizarre link - in 1983 Trevor Ross left Goodison for them on a Free transfer! So your info is great to read.

I think we will win and I hope he puts Gosling at right back with Bily in front of him. That should give the Greeks plenty to worry about and curtail their attacks down that flank. 3-1 to the Blues with goals from Cahill, Jo and Pienaar.

COYBB
Ray Said
18   Posted 16/09/2009 at 21:31:03

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Nice piece of work Tom-thanks for the insight.
Regarding the Right Back issue, Gosling looks the best bet but if Osman drifts inside as usual then the best right back in the world would have a hard time to cover both right winger and an overlapping right back. To me the key is to protect the weak right flank at all costs so i would stick Cahill out wide right with instructions to sit and cover. This would mean playing either Fellaini and Rodwell in the middle and Billy just ahead and Pienaar left
Derek Thomas
19   Posted 17/09/2009 at 07:13:54

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And if they have an Arshavin in their side, ffs have a whip round and put a deposit down.
Constantine Kamaras
20   Posted 17/09/2009 at 11:16:02

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Two key points Tom (understandably) missed : us having no cover for right back is a MAJOR worry for tonight as AEK’s most gifted player is a fellow (argentinian, I think) called Schoco who plays left wing but is right footed - bit like Pienar but with a deadly shot and quite fanciful moves. Very dangerous to put a novice like Gosling against him who has no experience of playing at RB - Yobo (with Rodwell centre of defence) would be preferable.

Also, bear in mind that their middle of defence is strong but very slow. So hoofball and set pieces are no good, we need to use pace and keep the ball down, if this is not too much to ask.
Sean Keigher
21   Posted 17/09/2009 at 12:58:30

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Does anyone think this Europa League is a farce?

Way too many agmes for way too little prize money.

Fulham are not taking it seriously judging by the team they are putting out nor have Spurs or Villa in the past.

I’d prefer us to concentrate on our league position and win a domestic cup.

Europa League is only worth it if you have a big squad and can rotate week in week out. Everton don’t have that luxury and until we do the Europa League is a waist of time.

Happy with the news on Lucas Neill tho, great addition for the season.
Stian Skaar
22   Posted 17/09/2009 at 17:21:06

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Why do we want to finish high up in the table? More Sky money, prestige and the opportunity to play in Europe.

Why is it good to play in Europe, even if it’s not the Champions League? Because it puts us on the map, it improves our chances of landing good foreign players, it’s experience before we play in the Champions League, and this season the money is better than ever.

Domestic cups, while nice to win - I was at Wembley in 1995 - have lost a bit of prestige and it’s not a lot of money.

And another thing - Everton, on the treshold of European greatness i 1985, should have a special reason for wanting European success.
Henri Weller
23   Posted 18/09/2009 at 21:10:09

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Great synopsis Tom - made the game all the more enjoyable.
John Shearon
24   Posted 18/09/2009 at 21:14:52

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Tom,
I really enjoyed the piece - looking forward to the insights on Bate & Benfica.

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