AEK Athens vs Panathinaikos
Competition: Greek Super League
Date: 21 May 2017
Kick-off: 19:30 CET
‘Heart’. That’s what coach Manolo Jimenez expects to see from his players in this game, first and foremost. He said it himself, after their unexpected 1-0 defeat at home to Panionios on Wednesday. From beating PAOK in Thessaloniki and turning to early favorites to finish first in the playoffs, AEK went to losing to the least strong team among the four, at home, playing very poorly. Attacking midfielder Petros Mandalos, the captain of AEK, is back, having recovered from his latest injury. Same with central midfielder Kostas Galanopoulos. The only player Jimenez cannot count on in this game, is center-forward Christos Aravidis, still struggling to recover from a persisting injury.
Disaster. I don’t think any other word can better describe Wednesday’s game for Panathinaikos, the one at home against PAOK. They were winning 1-0, until someone threw a can of beer (actually, more objects, many, had been thrown earlier. They just hadn’t found their… target) which hit PAOK’s coach on the head. The game was abandoned, it should be taken for granted that the three points will be awarded to PAOK, Panathinaikos could see more points deducted, so… disaster. Plus, their most influential player, Swedish striker Marcus Berg, starred in a… boxing clash against a PAOK player, and the day after the match he was handed a four-match ban, meaning that if the ban doesn’t get reduced after Panathinaikos’ appeal, the season will be over for him. Right-back Ousmane Coulibaly received a three-match suspension, and goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos ‘just’ an one-match suspension. Panathinaikos are also missing injured center-back Rasmus Thelander and attacking midfielder Lucas Villafanez. The biggest irony is that they have aaaall these problems, and they can’t even have their captain, Zeca, back. The central midfielder was sent-off against Panionios, last weekend. He didn’t play against PAOK, but the game was not concluded, so technically he didn’t serve his ban, therefore he is staying out again, unable to help his team.
AEK Athens vs Panathinaikos: Head-to-head Stats
AEK have five wins at home over Panathinaikos since 2010, the ‘Greens’ have won three matches themselves, four including a Cup game, no draws these last seven years.
AEK Athens vs Panathinaikos: Prediction
AEK’s win pays just 1.66, I ‘suspect’ mostly because Panathinaikos are playing without… half a dozen important players. Worst of all for the visitors is that Berg cannot offer his precious goals, that’s the biggest blow, not just in this game, but, most probably, in the remainder of the playoffs as well. Under the circumstances, AEK should win, despite their poor performances lately, excluding the first half at PAOK last weekend.
AEK Athens vs Panathinaikos: Tips
At 1.66, AEK’s win is… barely acceptable. They have been struggling offensively lately, Panathinaikos are playing without their top scorer, so for more than 1.66, I’d go for an AEK win in an under 2.5 goals game. This pays almost double, 3.10. AEK to win and keep a clean sheet is at 2.40, but I prefer the 3.10, because I seriously doubt AEK will score more than twice.