It seems that the humiliation of the loss against Diyarbakır Büyükşehir Belediyespor did not last long for Galatasaray. Their performance against Çaykur Rizespor was the opposite of theirs against Diyarbakır, at least for the first 20 minutes. What we saw in the Diyarbakır game was not only disappointing in terms of the score, but also frustrating in terms of the performance for Galatasaray fans. The dull and hopeless way of offence could not manage to open Diyarbakır's closed defense, and thus the team's confidence and morale was damaged significantly. However, the team started the Rizespor game with a much more aggressive and direct manner. They found at least three serious opportunities in the first 15 minutes, and Wesley Sneijder made one of them count while the terrified Rizespor defense was completely paralyzed; Bruma then finished the game off in the end of the first half. Seeing as we have seen two completely different Galatasaray's in just one week, unlike other columnists, it is still early to talk about the "fourth star."
Let's begin with a relatively good example and examine the capacity of Galatasaray. In the Rize game, what made Galatasaray's offence so effective were dynamism and directness. Given that Galatasaray always tried to dominate the game and be patient in the first half of the season, it is obvious that Hamza Hamzaoğlu changed the team's strategy during the winter break. Now, Galatasaray's strategies have serious resemblances to that of Beşiktaş. The team plays with much more pace than they did in the first half of the season and tries to carry the ball directly into the opponent's half. Added to that, their dynamism is a plus when we compare Galatasaray's game with Beşiktaş. Umut Bulut, Bruma, Emre Çolak, Sneijder and Selçuk İnan responsibility undertakes the offensive and change positions often. Thus, the opponent's defense loses its balance and leaves gaps in the defensive line. Then, the only thing that matters is the finishing skills of Galatasaray's offensive players.
However, when considering the Diyarbakır game, this bright picture looks like an illusion. Pace, dynamism and directness are not the key words for Galatasaray's game against Diyarbakır Büyükşehir Belediyespor. Inertia and inability are much more suitable for describing the situation of the team against its weak opponent. Of course, these kinds of inconsistencies are normal for a new coach, but this kind of a game has inconsistencies in its own.
First, no team is capable of playing with this kind of pace and directness for 90 minutes, in terms of the physical capability of the players. For example, in the second half of the Rize game, Galatasaray's offensive effectiveness decreased significantly and Rizespor exploited this and found some opportunities. Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid was the peak of this kind of strategy; nonetheless, they lost their battle against the patient and dominant style of Barcelona. Thus, seeing as Galatasaray's physical condition is not even near to Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid, what we saw in the first half of the Rize game is like a flash in the pan.
Second, similar to Beşiktaş's problem, this strategy makes the team an object in the game, meaning the opponent is the subject and in the control. All you can do is to wait until your opponent makes a mistake or gives you an empty space that you can use for fast attacks. In addition, while you give all the control to your opponent, you are actually in the danger zone for during that time. Therefore, you are not only offensively ineffective, but also defensively threatened when you choose a direct and fast game.
Finally, this choice that Hamzaoğlu made will show its effects more clearly two or three weeks after. Galatasaray is going to suffer against two kinds of opponents right now: The teams that dominate and control the game and the teams that have a strict defensive line. Next week, Galatasaray will be taking on Bursaspor, which represents a dominant game style. With its current strategy, Galatasaray would have serious problems against Bursa and afterwards.
The Diyarbakır B.B. and Rizespor games also demonstrated a very important point: The crucial role of goalkeepers. Sinan Bolat, who is actually a very talented goalie, contributed to Galatasaray's awful performance by making a lot of mistakes. On the other hand, Fernando Muslera took the responsibility when his team lost its pace.