Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fenerbahce Making Moves in Super Lig

Fenerbahce Making Moves in Super Lig
By Nathan L. Redd

After a rough start to the season, Fenerbahce is slowly and quietly climbing back into the Turkcell Super Lig title race. Following two consective Super Lig victories, Fenerbahce has moved into fourth place with nineteen points. They currently sit only five points behind lig-leaders Galatasaray, who reclaimed the top spot with a 2-1 victory over Denizlispor on Sunday.

After a streak of three straight draws, Fenerbahce has won three of the last four matches. In addition, they've lost only one time in their last ten games. After a much-criticized start, Zico and his staff have made adjustments to increase scoring and bolster the defense, including the return of Stephen Appiah to the pitch. The improved play of Volkan Demirel in goal has contributed to the success, and the points have come despite little or no contribution from striker Mateja Kezman. Kezman missed the Konyaspor match last weekend after receiving a red card, and Zico left him off of the roster for the UEFA Champions League contest against PSV Eindhoven. Kezman also missed the 2-1 victory over Kasimpasa over the weekend.

Unlike in previous seasons, there has been no clear-cut star in this year's squad. The scoring contribution has come from expected strikers like Alex de Souza, but Semih Senturk, Edu Dracena, Tumer Metin and others have assisted in Fenerbahce's recent run. In previous years there was a heavy reliance on stars like Tuncay Sanli, Alex de Souza, and Nicolas Anelka to carry the offensive load. The goal-scoring hasn't been as prolific so far this season, but the points have come as a result of more teamwork. In addition, the team has still yet to get their full arsenal of healthy players on the pitch at one time. Stephen Appiah's playing time is increasing, but the star is still not at one hundred percent. Goalkeeper Serdar Kulbilge is still sidelined with a knee injury and isn't expected back in goal anytime soon.

Zico has a good mix of experience and youth on this year's squad, but the chemistry of the team appears to just now be coming together. Veterans Alex de Souza, Stephen Appiah, and Mehmet Aurelio are providing the leadership that Zico needs, while young rising stars Colin Kazim-Richards, Ali Bilgin, and Gokcek Wederson are infusing the squad with young playmaking ability. Fenerbahce had a full compliment of stars in the past like Tuncay and Anelka, but this year may be Zico's biggest accomplishment if he can pull off another title. With nearly one-third of the season under their belts, Fenerbahce is quietly making moves toward another title in the Turkcell Super Lig.


Blogger Ozgur R. Nazilli said...

Welcome back Nathan :)

4:55 PM  
Blogger Nathan L. Redd said...

cok tesekkurler, Ozgur. We have a lot of work to do now :)

9:35 AM  

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