A brand new feature on this website is the introduction of weekly & fortnightly columns focusing on various leagues, countries and regions across the World. Firat Aktav here documents the talking points in Turkish football.
Kartal’s positive changes shadowed by outside affairs
Despite poor form and alerting performances, İsmail Kartal’s men finally prevailed at home against Çaykur Rizespor to make it 5 wins out of 5 games at home, despite coming back from an early 0-1 deficit..
Kartal’s men were down early into the game via an own goal from Michal Kadlec, but showed signs of aggression right away to take the game to their opponents. Particularly Alper Potuk and Diego, who were deployed as left winger and central play maker respectively, influenced the game, as Potuk’s dribbling and Diego’s creativity were crucial. Meanwhile Kartal’s substitutions were by far the most positive of the season, as he continuously introduced more attack minded alternatives as Fenerbahçe continued to take the game to Rizespor and finally scored the winner via Pierre Webó, who has been one of the most useful players up front, especially coming from the bench.
Despite being league leaders, İsmail Kartal’s coaching performances were continuously questioned over the past few match days. This match against Çaykur Rizespor however, proved critics wrong as Kartal’s brave attempts to influence the game paid off rather well. The introduction of Moussa Sow for further pressing up-front worked very well, as the Senegalese international provided the crucial assist for another substitute Pierre Webó. Kartal withdrew Raul Meireles for Webó ten minutes after Rizespor captain Kıvanç Karakaş was sent off. The lopsided 4-2-3-1 in the beginning of the game became a very offensive minded 4-2-4 until the lead was taken and then Kartal quickly introduced Selçuk Şahin as a holder for Gökhan Gönül and sent Dirk Kuyt to the right back position where Gönül had been rather impressive to close out the game.
This was an overall very fine performance both by İsmail Kartal and his men. However this was not the topic of discussion after the match. 443 season cards were canceled for absolutely no reason before the match and card holders were escorted out by the police, as these people were later accused of protesting against the team, the board and the president Aziz Yıldırım, not celebrating when a goal was scored, beating up the other supporters who were celebrating the goal and cheering for ex-coach Ersun Yanal, who guided the team to a very comfortable championship last season, as a result of poor form until match day 9. Aziz Yıldırım is to hold a press conference about the events very soon, as he vows to reveal “more dirt” on the people, whose cards were cancelled. Yıldırım is known for a very strong attitude and has used the sentence “If I tell what I know, there’ll be a huge chaos” countless times, despite not saying anything particularly interesting.
Ersun Yanal returns to stage with Trabzonspor
Trabzonspor sacked Vahid Halilhodžić after poor results and Ersun Yanal was appointed as the new head coach for 1,5 years, shortly after. Yanal’s offensive approach had guided Fenerbahçe to a comfortable championship last season and the football played was by far the most impressive in the past couple of years. This will be Yanal’s second tenure with Trabzonspor, as he managed to lead the league for long periods in 2008-09 season, but resigned later on after disappointing results, although Trabzonspor had finished 3rd. Current Bursaspor manager Şenol Güneş had taken over Trabzonspor shortly afterwards, but came up short in a fierce championship race against long time rivals Fenerbahçe, in 2010-11 season.
Under Halilhodžić Trabzonspor looked unorganized and rather clueless on the pitch. The team was unsure about whether they should press or not, defend deep or not and had difficulties with adjusting to playing high up the pitch. Yanal’s style has been the same since his breakthrough in Turkish football: Press high-up, win the ball quickly, take the game to your opponent no matter what.
It is still a big question mark whether Yanal can change Trabzonspor right away, but the opinion is strong on the case that he can get the job done and secure a place for European competition next season. Trabzonspor last won the league in 1983-84 season, however since has five 2nd place finishes and four of these titles were lost to Fenerbahçe. Therefore this shall be an interesting case to watch, as now Ersun Yanal is in charge of Trabzonspor, arriving from their most heated rivals.
Fatih Terim’s failure of rebuilding
After very disappointing results in the Euro 2016 qualifiers, Terim vowed to make radical changes and signaled a term of rebuilding is very near. Despite the fierce talk, it is very difficult to say that the 61 year-old national team manager has made any changes at all. Bayer Leverkusen rising star Hakan Çalhanoğlu and his teammate Ömer Toprak are yet again not included in the squad, after the affair they had with Beşiktaş winger Gökhan Töre, who supposedly threatened his two team-mates with a gun. Terim had been defensive about Töre before the game against Latvia, but shortly after the 22-year-old was sent-off in a game for reportedly swearing against opposition head coach Bülent Korkmaz.
Signs of youth are nowhere to be found as the only young players Terim called upon against Brazil and Kazakhstan were 19 year-old Ozan Tufan and Schalke’s impressive center back, 20 year-old Kaan Ayhan. Ayhan still has not played a single minute for the Turkish national team, despite playing regularly for Schalke 04. Salih Uçan, who is on loan from Fenerbahçe at Roma was not called for national team duty, while Alper Potuk, who has been one of the most impressive performers of the season so far, played only 5 minutes in the friendly against Brazil. Voices of disappointment are starting to be heard from the Turkish press, yet again these can easily be silenced, provided that Turkey cruises past Kazakhstan on the weekend to secure their first win of the Euro 2016 qualifiers.
Talent Radar Player of the Week
Unfortunately no player under 20 years of age has been impressive on match day 9 of the Turkish league. The effects of lack of trust in young players is visible also in the national team, as only few players are integrated to top level football, while the Turkish football community continuously asks the question “Why can’t we produce young players?” The question is and likely will be hanging up in the air, if the national team continues to disappoint and the quality of football in the league stays the way it is.
Written by Firat Aktav
- Turkish Column: Kartal’s positive changes shadowed by supporter unrest while Ersun Yanal returns - November 14, 2014
- Turkish Column: Fenerbahçe’s tactical battle, Aykut Kocaman returns & more - November 5, 2014
- Turkish football column: Wesley Sneijder’s brilliance, Fatih Terim’s issues & more - October 22, 2014