Galatasaray's 3-1 victory against newly promoted Ankaragücü may seem like business as usual for those of you who did not watch the game, but Fatih Terim's team had some serious problems. After losing the Super Cup to Akhisarspor, I argued that Terim's main attacking strategy was still chaos, and any defensively organized team would not have much trouble stopping them. Against Ankaragücü, the situation was more or less the same. Terim's team was forced to take the initiative and struggled to find opportunities. At the same time they suffered from occasional counterattacks. This situation is not sustainable for a Champions League team.
Now, two things are clear, Terim wants individual talents to create opportunities and Galatasaray's midfield line is unable to provide that creativity. Defensive midfielders are the first part of the problem; neither Fernando nor Ryan Donk is able to provide any creative effort other than maintaining the circulation. Of course, these types of players are crucial in an organized attacking strategy, but not in a chaotic one. Only one solid, simple playing defensive midfielder is enough to ensure defensive safety in front of the defense. Two players of the same type in front of two deep center backs are too much.
Secondly, Garry Rodrigues and Henry Onyekuru cannot be the target men on offense this season, given Galatasaray will have much less time and space in attacks due to increased defensive efforts against them. These two players require lots of time and space to accelerate and dive into opponent defenses, but Galatasaray is unable to create that time and space to them right now. So, except for big games against attacking opponents, Galatasaray must not use them as primary elements in offense, which will make it much easier for their opponents to cripple their attacks.
The two key players here are Sofiane Feghouli and Younes Belhanda. Only these two players possess enough talent in narrow spaces to create opportunities. Nevertheless, two players are not enough to open up opponent defenses. If Fatih Terim's chaotic approach is going to dominate Galatasaray's attacks this year, they will need more talented feet in midfield. The problem is the recent issues in the economy and Galatasaray's limitations due to Financial Fair Play rules. This makes it impossible to improve the squad significantly. Even holding on to the talented players on the squad is a problem due to exchange rates.
Thus, changing Fatih Terim's mentality rather than pushing the limits of Galatasaray's already fragile economy is the appropriate solution to the problematic game. He can keep both Donk and Fernando to use them to deliver balls in a pre-planned manner, so they can create time and space for wingers. He can also keep Rodrigues and Onyekuru, by stretching opponent defenses and utilizing pre-planned strategies they can still be effective. With an organized strategy, Galatasaray can do a very good job in the Champions League this season. But the crucial point is, either the squad's performance will be improved via sophisticated strategies or they need to buy a squad that is already performing well.
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