Medipol Başakşehir a completely different team now

Published 11.08.2019 00:00

It is not easy for a club to part ways with the coach who brought them from the bottom to the top. Abdullah Avcı has been the most crucial person in Başakşehir's gradual rise to success since the founding of the club and his name was inseparable with Başakşehir. So much that in the the season he was absent, 2012-2013, Başakşehir were relegated. Thus, without Abdullah Avcı, Başakşehir will not be the same and it would be irrational to expect them to be the same. Now, the new coach, Okan Buruk, has to create a new character for the team, while maintaining the organized structure.

However, the Champions League qualifier against Olympiakos was not the best start. He tried to alter the attacking scheme of the team entirely and changed the formation to 4-4-2. By doing so he made Başakşehir attacks faster but also less stable. The team, which is known for their patient attacking build up, tried to go directly to the Olympiakos goal and found some opportunities. Nevertheless, Buruk sacrificed balance in favor of chaos, hoping that by increasing the pace of the attack he could find more opportunities. Despite some good chances, Olympiakos managed to repel the Başakşehir attacks and survived the first twenty minutes without conceding a goal.

The 20th minute was crucial since Buruk's team lost the element of surprise and started to lose their pace. Because the team could not find a goal in the opening minutes, Buruk could not rest his team by going back to defense and had to continue pressing while fatigue kicked in. After that Olympiakos also started to find opportunities and both sides were fair game, despite the fact that Başakşehir was the team which needed the win. Then, luck decided the fate of the game and Başakşehir lost 1-0 as Edin Visca missed a penalty and the chance of equalizing the game in the last minute.

Now, the problem with the game is not that Başakşehir lost or could not find enough opportunities, those can get better with time and practice. However, relying on chaos for offensive efficiency is unacceptable. Buruk did not replace Avcı's organized but defensive game with an equally organized but an attacking game, he simply threw his team out of balance and hoped that Başakşehir players could make chaotic opportunities count. This extremely primitive strategy does not offer a repeatable pattern for success and Başakşehir cannot achieve much in Europe with it.

But there is another way to reshape Başakşehir, and Buruk has the potential to make it happen: The quality of the squad and the players' familiarity with an organized strategy allows him to use a variety of repeatable set-pieces, which make the team less dependent on chaos. Last year Avcı's team did not have a high paced attacking game, and that caused them lots of trouble at the end of the season. I think the first thing Buruk should do is to create fast but repeatable attacking strategies, which can make Başakşehir extremely dangerous in offence. But in order to do that he must be insistent on a repeatable strategy and he must make sure that the system is understood by the players before getting results. Otherwise Başakşehir can experience a severe drop in their performance as they experienced before in 2013.

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