Is Maccabi back on track?
Maccabi Tel Aviv looked terrific in their 4-0 win once they broke through Hapoel Tel Aviv’s bus that was parked in front of the Reds box. After the first goal was scored it was a deluge of markers finding their way into the Hapoel goal and sending their city rivals to yet another Derby defeat to the Yellow & Blue. Patrick van Leeuwen is now the interim coach at Maccabi having taken over the reins from Greek bench boss Girogos Donis last week due to poor Israeli league results. For those who aren’t familiar with PVL, the Dutchman came over to the club a number of years ago and was given the title of Performance Director with his primary role as being charged with developing the club’s youth department. Now without a coach, PVL was the best candidate to take over the job due to his familiarity with the squad after preparing them over the summer for this season prior to Donis having arrived. Along with Ori David who has been a stalwart coach in the youth system and veteran keeper coach Shura Uvarov who had been with the senior team for many years before moving down to the youth make up a fine staff and one that should be able to right the ship and get the team back into title contention. Add to the fact that PVL used to work at Shakhtar Donetsk and it could be a match made in heaven when Maccabi faces his former club in the Europa League Round of 32.
Hapoel are in deep trouble
Hapoel on the other hand is in deep, deep trouble after losing and not scoring once again. Last weeks 1-0 win was most probably at aberration as the table doesn’t lie and the Reds sit in 1st place. Is coach Nir Klinger the cause of all the problems? Certainly not, but he definitely is one of the catalysts and factors to their struggles. Will the team turn it around if they replace Klinger? Probably not as they need players and ones that can score and put the ball into the goal. Desperately. Or else they will head back into the second division where they were a couple of years ago and it’s not a place that any top tier team wants to be especially one that a decade ago was in the UEFA Champions League.
Beitar Jerusalem have had all kinds of issues
The problems are mounting for the Yellow & Black. They’ve not been able to score, can’t defend and are unable to hold onto leads. That was the case once again when they played Ashdod as they gave up a 93rd minute winner to lose 2-1. Slobodan Drapic and Shay Barda, the two headed coaching monster that replaced Roni Levy haven’t been able to make a dent and if they continue on this curve they will also find themselves outside of Moshe Hogeg’s team sooner rather than later. With only 13 points and hovering precariously just above the relegation zone, Beitar better start picking up points or else the Sheikh may want a refund!
Maccabi Haifa just keeps winning and winning and winning
The Greens under Barak Bachar have looked like the head of the class as they lead the table nicely thus far. They finished the first round with a fabulous 10 wins out of 13 games and 8 points ahead of Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Petah Tikva with their most recent win over Maccabi Netanya by the score of 2-0. Now 8 points are not the end of the world and the teams will play each other 3 more times this campaign so the ground can be made up, but it’s still a nice advantage. It also helps that the most lethal goal scorer in the league also plays for the Greens, in one Nikita Rukavytsya who has 13 goals so far this season.
Maccabi Netanya have not looked good of late
They’ve had problems both scoring goals and keeping the ball out of their own net which makes for an unhappy Raymond Atteveld. The diamond city squad had looked good to start the season but have been having some issues of late on the pitch as the opposition have figured the team out which means Netanya has got to adapt soon or else they will continue to drop on the table. Right now they are sitting in 8th place with 17 points as they slipped out of the top 6 and a championship playoff slot. Atteveld will need to get things going quickly or else they will not find themselves playing meaningful gams after March.