PAOK vs Xanthi
Competition: Greek Cup
Date: 2 March 2017
Kick-off: 16:15 CET
Things could be a lot better at PAOK. From having 13 wins in 14 matches, they’ve gone to winning just one in five, and, using coach Vladan Ivić’s words, against Iraklis last weekend they had their worst game of the season. This Cup match though is a totally different case, since PAOK have won at Xanthi (1-2), and the objective is not necesserily to win, but to qualify, even though everyone at PAOK says that the team will play for one result only, which is no other than a win. Spanish midfielder José Alberto Cañas is not yet fit to play, an absence that played a big role in PAOK’s slump lately.
Not having won in over a month, and having played mostly below average football, Xanthi hosted smoking hot Panathinaikos on Saturday, and in some… miraculous way, having just one shot on goal, and seeing the assistant referees make important mistakes that deprived Panathinaikos of clear scoring chances, they managed the unthinkable; they won. This time though, they can’t just sit back and wait for PAOK to attack, because PAOK have no real urgent reason to attack, having beaten Xanthi 1-2 in the first leg. Young defender Okan Chatziterzoglu and midfielder Manolis Papasterianos are not 100% fit. The rest of the players are at coach Răzvan Lucescu’s disposal.
PAOK vs Xanthi: Head-to-head Stats
The last two games between them in Thessaloniki ended goalless, but PAOK had won the previous three matches. Xanthi have scored just two goals the last seven times they visited PAOK.
PAOK vs Xanthi: Prediction
PAOK come from their worst game of the season, Xanthi come from an important win over a big opponent, that’s something no one can overlook, but reading between the lines, someone sees that things are not that bad for PAOK, and definitely not that good for Xanthi. Especially for the visitors, their obsession with sitting back and waiting, cannot work in this game, given that they are the ones who are desperate to score, and score more than once. Despite PAOK’s awful display last weekend, I expect them to win, taking advantage of the gaps Xanthi will have to leave behind, especially if the game is still 0-0 after halftime.
PAOK vs Xanthi: Tips
What betting companies offer on a PAOK win, makes it super unappealing. To double my money, I’d bet on the game to have 2-3 goals. Combining this 2-3 goals with Aleksandar Prijović to score anytime, offers more than decent earnings. The Swiss-Serbian striker has been scoring non-stop since he joined PAOK a few weeks ago, and when someone’s that hot you just cannot ignore him.