Sunday, August 19, 2007

After Two Games, More Questions Remain for Fenerbahce

After Two Games, More Questions Remain for Fenerbahce
Lineup still undetermined heading into week three
By Nathan L. Redd

As the whistle sounded after yesterday's victory over Gaziantepspor, Fenerbahce fans were happy with their first points of the season. Happiness quickly turned to confusion though, as many questions still remain for the side. Not only do we not know how good this team is, we're not even sure who this team is just yet.

Week one's sloppy and lazy performance sparked big changes from Zico yesterday. Exit Mateja Kezman, enter Kemal Aslan. Instead of Alex de Souza and Roberto Carlos, fans got to see big minutes from Ali Bilgin and Yasin Cakmak. Fenerbahce's expected lineup is a "who's who" of Turkish futbol. Yesterday's eleven was more like a "who's he?"

Despite the benching of several starters, Fenerbahce looked ten times better yesterday against Gaziantep. The team came out firing and dominated possession. When Gaziantep did penetrate the midfield, the Fenerbahce defense was there to protect Volkan from having to make a huge save. Fifteen minutes in, Fener was up 2-0 and could have easily gone up 3-0 or 4-0 if shots had been on target from Selcuk Sahin and Colin Kazim-Richards. Regardless of who was on the pitch, this team looked better for most of the game. However, a troubling pattern has emerged in the first two league games and the UEFA Champions League game. This side gets tired before their opponents do. The second half of each of the three games has seen Fener get fatigued and a little sloppy. Fortunately, two of the three games has seen the team hang on for a win. The fitness could be a number of factors - so many new players, so many players taking part in international competition during the summer, so many injured players who are still finding their fitness. This team will likely find its fitness, but the fatigue is more common in week 24 than week two.

Zico has some questions to answer, but he also has the luxury of a problem many managers would like to have. He has valid superstars in Alex de Souza, Stephen Appiah, Roberto Carlos, Mateja Kezman, and Diego Lugano. However, he also has what appears to be emerging stars in Colin Kazim-Richards, Gokcek Wederson, Ali Bilgin, and possibly Yasin Cakmak. He also has a reliable backup in Semih Senturk who has been an underrated striker for several years. Fans and critics are eager to see if Zico can find the right mix of players for this team to succeed. He has a talented mix of players, and yesterday showed that Fenerbahce's "B-Squad" is more talented than many of the Super Lig's "A-teams." Gaziantepspor was clearly overmatched for most of the game, despite Fener's biggest stars watching from the sidelines. However, Fenerbahce has much more pressure than Gaziantep when it comes to finding the win column. Zico is now faced with finding the best eleven from the twenty-two players we've seen in two league games thus far. If he can do just that and earn Fenerbahce an 18th Super Lig title and some UEFA Champions League success, it may be his greatest coaching feat to date.


Blogger özgür said...

"Yesterday's eleven was more like a "who's he?" " Eauehauhaeueah very true my friend, very true indeed. Good catch :)

Well the only thing I can say is, we got the 3 points. That is what counts. Also, we got to see some of our new transfers for the first time yesterday in an official game. Big money was paid for those guys, and it is important for them to get some first team experience. True, most people were saying that 2-3 or max. 4 changes should be made to the first 11, not 11 changes :) But Zico's "gamble" as it is called in Antu (our biggest fan forums) has paid off and we got both the 3 points, and some promising youngsters for the first 11. 'tis a good day for Fenerbahce :)

11:12 AM  
Blogger Nathan L. Redd said...

Evet, Ozgur, I am both happy and confused by yesterday. Obviously, our "second team" is better than Gaziantep's starters, but I'm eager to see if Zico can find the right combination for big games coming up. I am hoping also that it showed the starters that they still have to work hard if they want to play. You could tell that guys like Kemal and Semih are very happy for the playing time and played hard. I am happy with 3 points, but as I said in the article, I still don't know if we know who our team is going into week 3. I am hoping Zico can find a solid team that we can rely on for much of the season.

11:22 AM  

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