So far, the title race has been really close in the Turkish Super league, with only a seven-point gap between league leaders Başakşehirspor and seventh place Trabzonspor. All the usual suspects are in the title race, with Kayserispor and Göztepe also chasing hard with their humble squads and budgets.
Right now, it's almost impossible to guess who is going to finish the race in first, given the chaotic nature of the Super League. Nevertheless, it is very predictable how these teams are going to play for the title and so, we have an objective ground to assess the squads when they face each other.
Firstly, Başakşehirspor is different from any other team since they have been working with the same coach for years. They have developed their own game with minimum chaos. Coach Abdullah Avcı's team is still mainly a counter-attacking side, but they proved their versatility by winning seven of their eight home games in which most of their opponents sat deep and did not let them counter-attack. Therefore, we can easily say that Başakşehirspor have a talented game in addition to their talented players. These factors make their game collectively effective unlike many Super league sides.
Galatasaray, in the second spot, is the exact opposite of Başakşehirspor with their newly appointed coach Fatih Terim. Their former coach Igor Tudor not only carried his team to the top with only a one-point gap between Başakşehirspor, but he also created a strategy that was very dominant and effective.
Now with Terim, Galatasaray will most probably return to their factory defaults, becoming the opposite of what Tudor has created. There was a consensus among the Turkish football media that Terim was the solution for Galatasaray's defensive issues, and it seems that he will sacrifice all the gains of the dominant game of his predecessor for a classic counter-attacking game.
I take Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş in the same paragraph given that I believe they are similarly talented and confused. The coach of Fenerbahçe, Aykut Kocaman, has finally settled his strategy but he is still bound to the individual creativity of Matthieu Valbuena. Similarly, Beşiktaş coach Şenol Güneş sometimes presents brilliant collective actions, but he is mostly dependent on the chaotic crosses of Ricardo Quaresma.
Now, I believe, with Başakşehirspor, these two are the most talented and promising sides in the title race, but they must distribute the creative responsibility to more players and the game itself. Nevertheless, the main difference between these two is that Beşiktaş has another campaign going on in Champions League, which makes it harder for them to compete in peak form in the Super League.
Kayserispor and Trabzonspor can also be regarded as similar teams in terms of gameplay. Of course, the latter has a significantly richer squad with a higher budget, but since they sacked Ersun Yanal, a coach who focuses on the long-term, and brought Rıza Çalımbay, a coach who is specialized in short-term gains, they have become a classic Anatolian team with tough defence and counter-attacking. Kayserispor plays a similar game and it is no surprise that they are the third best team in away games. They cannot score easily but they do not concede easily either, they only lost against Galatasaray in their campaign against the best seven.
Lastly, the sweetest surprise of the season, Göztepe from the Aegean city of İzmir has entertained Turkish fans with their positive football and the team has achieved more than they could have dreamed as a newly promoted team. They have a chaotic approach, forcing their opponents to leave their usual game most of the time. Nevertheless, this strategy did not work so well against the best teams in the League – they lost four of their games against the top seven although they did manage to beat Trabzonspor.
However, despite its chaos and shrewdness, it seems that the title race will be very hot until the end of May. Of course, I find the success of long-term projects more valuable than short-term simple tricks, and therefore I believe that science, mathematics and work ethic will prove their strength at the end of the season.
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