Aris v PAOK
Following a disappointing 3-1 defeat away at weaker side Panetolikos in the Greek Super League on Sunday, Aris decided to fire coach Germán Burgos. Despite his positive record (12W, 2D, 4L) since joining the club back in January, the Argentine paid for Aris’ defensive frailties and their elimination from the Conference League despite the club making an extra effort with some exciting signings.
Aris’ decision to part ways with Burgos could prove timely, as they can’t afford to lose in the upcoming derby against fierce rivals PAOK. Although they have yet to find his successor, the club believes that his departure may serve a boost in the team’s morale ahead of Sunday’s clash.
The hosts have quality upfront, but they haven’t managed to beef up crucial positions in defence and midfield. They will definitely push for all three points from the off, but they will also focus on keeping what could be their second clean sheet in seven official games so far this season.
As for PAOK, following a frustrating Conference League elimination at the hands of Levski Sofia, coach Razvan Lucescu has been at the receiving end of criticism. His team has not managed to deliver good football at any point in the last month despite winning both their first two Super League duels of the season.
PAOK played both matches on home soil, narrowly beating theoretically weaker sides Panetolikos (1-0) and Atromitos (2-1). A potential defeat in the derby against Aris could even cost Lucescu his job, but grabbing a draw and remaining undefeated would help him escape unscathed from the derby.
Their H2H and squad potential dictates that Aris are favourites here, having beaten PAOK 1-0 in three of the last four derbies. A packed Harilaou Stadium without the presence of travelling fans will push Aris to the win, but what both teams deeply want is to avoid a defeat which could trigger a crisis. There have been more than 2.5 goals scored in just one of the last 10 Thessaloniki derbies and we should not expect an open game here either.
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