Beşiktaş's performance against Partizan Belgrade on Tuesday could be defined as average at best, but certainly it was also the most awkward one so far. Coach Şenol Güneş lost Ryan Babel and Jeremain Lens before the game and had to find a new way to maintain the offensive power of the team. But apparently, he pushed the limits of his squad to the point that everything was just mixed up. The offensive scheme of the team was unrecognizable, everyone was roaming blindly on the pitch and sometimes there were three players standing on the same spot. Beşiktaş could have defeated the young and inexperienced Partizan if they had more situational awareness and tactical discipline.
First, it is always tough for a coach to lose two of his most crucial forward players before a game, but a coach must ensure that each of his players in that position should be able to give at least the minimum required. Lens and Babel give the much-needed creativity and speed in the wings, but all plans should not fall apart without them. I am actually surprised that coach Güneş did not rely on Quaresma's crosses this game, as the situation was very suitable for him to revive his old tactic. But probably the most positive aspect of the game was Quaresma's tamed style. He did not try to dribble into five opponents or cross the ball blindly, he actually followed Güneş's orders and tried to throw Partizan defense out of balance by shifting wings. If done regularly, this usage of Quaresma can bring a great efficiency to Beşiktaş offense.
Secondly, Güneş must decide what he is going to do with his midfield, and which player will assume the playmaker role. The team was totally lost in midfield against Partizan and I even saw Necip Uysal, a natural center-back playing as a defensive midfielder, right behind striker Cyle Larin for a while. There was no playmaker to organize the team's attacks. Unfortunately for Güneş his most talented player for this position, Oğuzhan Özyakup, is apparently having a hard time. But who is going to replace him? Güneş tried Tolgay Arslan, Adriano and even Caner Erkin for the playmaker role. But he has not been consistent with any of them. This leads to increased tactical inconsistency for the team and it makes their game less reliable. I repeatedly argued that Adriano is the best option for this role given his game vision and selfless style. Caner is so used to playing in the wings that he cannot slip into midfield and deliver the ball. As for Tolgay, he is not showing up enough to be a passing option for his teammates. Tolgay and Oğuzhan have the same problem, the fear of taking initiative. With this picture, Adriano is the best option in the playmaker role and Erkin can easily replace him in the left wing.
Due to Partizan's physical weakness, they were out of the game after the 60th minute, and with limited talent, I did not expect Beşiktaş to have trouble beating them. However, tactical consistency is a must for any team that is aiming for the top of the Europa League. There will be opponents that will nullify Beşiktaş's offensive power, and this absurd chaos cannot be Güneş's back-up plan. Controlling Quaresma's talent, putting Adriano in charge of the game and creating time and space for fast players like Babel and Lens will suffice for a while. But the most important thing is to create a repeatable plan, which Beşiktaş lacks right now.