Canaries' Season Can Start Again on SundayCommentary • Author: Nathan Redd • Sunday, November 9, 2008
Four wins, four losses, and a draw. Not the start to the Luis Aragones era that anyone expected. Fenerbahçe lost a few components from last season's UEFA Champions League quarterfinalist squad, most notably Mateja Kezman and Mehmet Aurelio. The bulk of the team returned this season however, with the key additions of striker Dani Güiza and midfielder Emre Belözoğlu. Still, things have not gone as planned. Despite the poor start, a win on Sunday can make fans quickly forget the terrible form to start the season.
Fenerbahçe have been consistently inconsistent this season. A season-opening loss to Gaziantepspor was quickly followed by blowout losses to Kayserispor and Arsenal. Those defeats were tempered by dominating victories over Gençlerbirliği and Bursaspor. Just as fans got their hopes up for a turnaround, the Canaries would disappoint once again.
Still, Fener has their destiny in their own hands. For all the criticism and terrible performances, a win on Sunday would put the Canaries just seven points out of first place. The season is still less than a third of the way through. There is still plenty of time to turn around what began as the worst start in half a century.
The time to turn it around can begin on Sunday. The Gençlerbirliği win was impressive, while the thrashing of Bursaspor seemingly implied that Fener was back. However, no victory will resonate more than the one that could come on Sunday. Beat Galatasaray and people will start talking. Beat the Lions and the Canaries could change their fate immediately.
If anyone can relate to the criticism that Luis Aragones have received this season, it's Galatasaray boss Michael Skibbe. The debut of the Lions' manager has been less than spectacular, although a midweek win over Benfica in the UEFA Cup has silenced critics a bit. Still, Galatasaray are more vulnerable than spectacular. They'll face a hungry and desperate Fener side Sunday at Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium. It's the first time facing such a hostile environment for Skibbe. Harry Kewell will make his debut in Kadıköy Sunday night as well. With 50,000 screaming fans at their backs, now is the time for Fener to make their move.
It's now or never for Fenerbahçe. Lose on Sunday and the whispers surrounding the future of Luis Aragones will erupt into a roar. Pull out a victory, and all will be forgiven. Four season-opening losses will be quickly forgotten. A win on Sunday can mark the beginning of the rest of the season for Fenerbahçe. It's up to the Canaries to decide which path to follow Sunday night.