Galatasaray's close victory against İzmir's Göztepe was a great example of how a coach can overlook one of his players if he sticks to the same game plan for a long time.
Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim won the league title last year through solid counter-pressing, but this year his team requires a new plan to be successful.
Thus, while Terim is pushing his team to play like last year, his opponents have been playing more defensively than last year, and Galatasaray's true potential is fading away in this struggle. Especially one player, Henry Onyekuru, could have done much more against Göztepe, despite the fact that he scored the only goal in the game. If Terim wants to be successful this year, he needs to utilize Onyekuru differently.
In my previous pieces I argued that Onyekuru was a typical winger, good dribbling skills coupled with speed. However, he proved me wrong with his performance against Göztepe, as he was the de facto playmaker of the team in the final third. Although he was not given the role of playmaker and he was not the central player in attacks, he played very efficiently. He was the only player in Galatasaray's forward line to create time and space for his teammates. Added to that, with the defensive support he gave to Yuto Nagatomo, he increased the Japanese left back's performance drastically.
But the crucial point is - as Galatasaray's overall inefficiency in creating opportunities show - Onyekuru's performance was coincidental and not repeatable. This is not his fault; it is Fatih Terim's tactical inefficiency. If the veteran coach had had a comprehensive plan about Onyekuru's versatile game, his team could have been much more effective offensively. Rather, he focused on only one aspect of Onyekuru's skills and tried to utilize his speed.
However, Terim's choice not only had a negative effect on offense but also on defense. His team failed to find opportunities against Göztepe which parked the bus completely; they also became vulnerable against counter-attacks. Terim does not push his defense forward because he fears giving space to his opponents, but it is exactly because of this decision his opponents find counter-attacking opportunities.
While Galatasaray's midfield is busy circulating the ball, trying to find space in tight defense, the defenders do not get proactively involved in offensive actions. This leads to build-up patterns that occur far away from opponents' danger zone and closer to Galatasaray's danger zone, making Galatasaray vulnerable against counter-attacks.
Finally, I liked the new transfer Emre Akbaba. He was eager to play and suited much better to Onyekuru than the slower Sinan Gümüş, who is also another problem. Players like Eren Derdiyok, Sinan Gümüş and Selçuk İnan are too slow to play at this level. They may be used against the weaker teams of the Super League, but they should not be on the pitch against more competitive teams. I know the recent issues in the economy force Galatasaray to choose Turkish players, but this process should be handled without any crucial damage to team quality.
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