AEL Larissa vs Xanthi
Competition: Greek Super League
Date: 23 April 2017
Kick-off: 18:00 CET
What a game for Larissa… Three weeks ago, the hosts looked certain to remain in the Super League. Their former coach, Tsiolis, resigned for personal reasons, admitting publicly that he had taken his decision long ago, and he had just waited for the team to secure their presence in next season’s Super League as well. They were that sure at Larissa that they had very little to worry about. Three Iraklis wins later, in three weeks that Larissa picked up just one point, AEL are finding themselves in a position to be facing Xanthi in what feels like the match of the season for them. They remain above the relegation zone, but are just two points ahead of 15th-placed Levadiakos. Larissa will be without injured centre-back Jovanovic, and maybe central midfielder Masalesa. The latter is injured as well, but coach Paus is willing to wait until the last moment to see if he will be able to play, and if yes, for how long.
Four points below AEK, Xanthi still hope to finish in the top five, but their chances are more… mathematical than anything else. Coach Lucescu cannot count on defensive midfielder Camara due to suspension, a real problem for the visitors, since the African player has played in most games this season. Xanthi’s major shareholder is a big fan of issuing written statements against… everyone, and these last days he has been targeting Larissa, or, to be more precise, Larissa’s president, another guy who absolutely loves publicity and having everyone talk about him. This has shifted somewhat the attention from the game itself to the ‘conflict’ between the two clubs, which is basically a conflict between two men, accusing each other of being part of the… football mafia that has been casting a long shadow on Greek football for years now.
AEL Larissa vs Xanthi: Head-to-head Stats
Larissa have beaten Xanthi the last two times they hosted them in the Super League, but the most recent game was in 2010. After that, Larissa spent several years playing in lower categories.
AEL Larissa vs Xanthi: Prediction
Following what players from both sides have been saying these last days, I’m left with the impression that Larissa players are ready to throw themselves into the fire, in order to get the result that will practically secure their presence in next season’s Super League. Xanthi players have been way less… vocal, leaving me with the impression that they have kind of accepted defeat in the race for a top five finish. All in all, I expect Larissa to look way more motivated, and not lose the game. Win it? I’m less confident about that.
AEL Larissa vs Xanthi: Tips
‘Larissa or draw’ is at just 1.33, so that’s out of the question. Between Larissa and draw, I’m voting for draw, at 3.25, for one reason. Same time as Larissa will be facing Xanthi, Levadiakos will be hosting AEK. I don’t expect AEK to lose, Larissa players will know what will be going on at Levadiakos, they will know that a draw against Xanthi would be great, so I don’t expect them to take risks, especially in the second half, as long at Levadiakos will not be winning (as I expect) their own home game versus AEK.