The Turkish Super League is bracing for, what appears to be, the most decisive game week this season. Today, Fenerbahçe faces Galatasaray at home and Beşiktaş will visit Başakşehirspor tomorrow. These four teams make up the top of the league, with Galatasaray in the lead with 53 points, followed by Beşiktaş and Başakşehirspor with 50 points each and lastly Fenerbahçe, who sit fourth with 47. As the simple math implies, the teams that win this week will benefit the most and have a great advantage over the others in the title race. First of all, let us start with the much-anticipated Fenerbahçe-Galatasaray derby, which is clearly the most important game of the week. It is quite obvious that Fenerbahçe will be the side desperately looking for the win because even a draw would mean that it will trail Galatasaray by six points, without having another chance against them. Added to that, in the case of a Beşiktaş or Başakşehirspor win, any result other than a victory would mean a mental breakdown for Fenerbahçe.
However, we know that Aykut Kocaman's Fenerbahçe struggles against a well-drilled defense. Even though offensively Galatasaray seems like the best team in Turkey right now, Fatih Terim's real talent lies in his defensive strategies. Although I have no sympathy for his chaotic approach in the offense, I must say that his performance peaks when his opponent desperately needs a win and attacks with full force.
Therefore, it will be very tough for Fenerbahçe to score goals against Galatasaray, which can easily make do with a draw. For Kocaman, however, it is now or never to prove his strategic creativity. It was proven against Beşiktaş in the recent weeks when Fenerbahçe's collective action could produce neither the quality and nor the quantity Kocaman wanted.
Although Kocaman's men have a physical advantage, they fail in terms of offensive productivity. This time around, I expect the Yellow Canaries coach would add another dimension to his pressing game, dominating possession when the other team is exhausted.
It will definitely try to strangle Galatasaray in the first 20 minutes, but the real challenge will start afterward. If Fenerbahçe can find a solution to exhaustion, it will have a chance against Galatasaray.
The other game of the week is a complete mystery since both Beşiktaş and Başakşehirspor have shown inconsistent performances in the recent weeks. Beşiktaş coach Şenol Güneş did not use his senior players against Bayern Munich this week in the Champions League so they can become physically ready to face Başakşehirspor.
Nevertheless, Başakşehirspor will also be ready and it has a better offensive scheme than Beşiktaş since it does not over utilize individual talents and rely more on collective action. I assume that Başakşehirspor will have the game under control while Beşiktaş will try to counterattack. Still, it will be a balanced game with lots of possibilities, meaning that both sides will remain very cautious.
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