A tale of two teams
- ARDA ALAN IŞIK, ISTANBUL
- Sep 01, 2018
There are now two different teams called Beşiktaş, and while they represent the same physical reality, they do not represent the same identity. As if two souls occupying the same body, the Black Eagles change their strategies and tactics so often that it is almost impossible to watch the same team two weeks in a row.
Nevertheless, there are two predominant characters, an easy but chaotic one and a hard but organized one. As the main figure of the team's multiple personality disorder, coach Şenol Güneş is torn between committing to one of them, which leads to - as I have said before many times - an inconsistent performance for Beşiktaş.
Let's start with the option that I would definitely reject: The easy but chaotic one, and how Beşiktaş has shown dangerous signs on this road. So far, the key man in the organized strategy was Adriano, since he was the most suited player for organizing attacks. But coach Güneş decided to play him in the left back position against Partizan Belgrade on Thursday night, so Caner Erkin could play as an attacking left winger.
With the Medel, Necip and Tolgay trio in the midfield, the team naturally struggled to organize attacks against a strict Partizan defense. As we know, whenever Beşiktaş struggles to create opportunities, a Quaresma cross-frenzy becomes the most enticing option. Thus, it was not a surprise to see Beşiktaş making lots of crosses but not make three good passes in a row around their opponent's penalty box. The first half was almost going to be a total waste of time, but then Pepe came to rescue, again.
Just like he saved the team against Lask Linz, Pepe again compensated for his team's horrible offensive efforts. But here, I should also give Güneş his due credit. His team has been very effective in dead ball situations so far. Pepe's goal foiled Partizan's ultra-negative football strategy and forced them to play more offensively. This led to Beşiktaş finding more time and space in Partizan's half, which brought the other Beşiktaş to the field, the organized one.
The unexpected contribution to the organized strategy came from Cyle Larin, a striker who is not known for his playmaking talent. Nonetheless, with Oğuzhan Özyakup replacing defensive midfielder Necip Uysal and coupling Larin in making offensive passes, a completely different way to utilize Larin appeared out of nowhere.
The goal Oğuzhan scored was marvelous in terms of preparation and execution, and it was the goal I have been expecting from this Beşiktaş team for a long time. It showed that this team is capable of making organized passes in the opponent's half and can create time and space effectively. With an organized offensive strategy, Beşiktaş can better utilize Larin and Oğuzhan, and it would not need to buy a new striker and a playmaker.
However, the whole issue comes down to Güneş's decision on which strategy he will go for. So far, he has been able to test both of them and has enough data to evaluate which one he should opt for.
But most importantly, the whole Beşiktaş community and their millions of fans know where chaotic strategies took the team last season. It is time for Güneş to put an end to this multiple personality disorder and go for an organized strategy with full force.