3 sie 2010

Ekstraklasa preview - part I

Without needless introduction (but there will be larger one, I promise), let's start with first four teams, alphabetically, it will be more complicated description than it was with 1st League. Well, it Ekstraklasa after all.


About: Team that survived in the last minutes of previous season, had many problems in recent years, starting with corruption, relegation to contracting players in big contracts that were completely useless. That's over now, club is in stable condition and looking forward to calm season for a change.
Manager: Dariusz Pasieka - very clever man, educated in Germany, often gets his subs wrong and this is his biggest disadvantage.
Best player: Very hard to call, maybe one of new players?
Best young talent: Marcin Budziński (20yo), energetic central midfielder, sometimes too nervous, good tackler.
Pre-season: Arka had really good time, starting slowly but getting good results against Notts County (1-0), Dundee United (0-0) and Karlsruher SC (3-0).
Transfers: Zawistowski looks great deal but has hard task to replace former captain, Bartosz Ława. Also three foreign players for defence, worked well in last games. Striker signed yesterday but still need another one to have adequate cover.
Prediction: Still, they will fight to stay in the league. But can be safe if there'll be no nervous moves in the board.


About: Bit of another chaos club in Ekstraklasa but owner will say everything to look better in media. Will play on new stadium this season, and that's potentially their biggest advantage and perspective of development. Also change of manager helped them.
Manager: Rafał Ulatowski - was an assistant to Leo Beenhakker, then did well at GKS Bełchatów but his new club has bigger ambitions than 5th place. Pressure is on, and he often could not work with that.
Best player: Arkadiusz Radomski - biggest experience, great strength, reads the game perfectly.
Best young talent: Mateusz Klich (20yo), defensive midfielder, good passer.
Pre-season: Mixed results during last month, many draws with weaker teams, but also valuable friendlies with dutch teams (NEC Nijmegen).
Transfers: Transfers from abroad only, Radomski, despite his age, has potential to be great addition to their midfield, also Ntibazonkiza has a reputation of good winger. Need to buy a striker still.
Prediction: I guess that they'll have mixed season but will end in the middle of the table, possible top 8 finish.


About: Real revolution in this team, lost several great players during this summer and will count on youngsters and those who are not sold (yet). Also new, unexperienced coach may cost them in first few rounds. Heard that their finances are in worst state that it is stated by themselves.
Manager: Maciej Bartoszek is very young, loyal but what about his coaching skills? It's a big question mark over his name and the pressure may be too much to bear.
Best player: Mateusz Cetnarski, classic central midfielder, sees a lot on the pitch, great passes.
Best young talent: Kamil Poźniak (21yo), winger, great pace, nice technique.
Pre-season: Played eight games only, four wins and four lost, good results against ŁKS and Pogoń Szczecin, worst with Widzew and Polonia Warszawa, so with Ekstraklasa teams.
Transfers: Lost twelve players (every single one was important for them), tried to cover those loses but only three deals look serious. Lots of young faces in the team.
Prediction: hard to call but it will be very, very important season for GKS, in terms of future. They will stay in the league but further transfers out of the club will be seen.


About: Finally getting back on their feet after being relegated despite big transfers and money involved. But still getting hiccups after last two years, especially in terms of finance. Now with new management counting on better times but it will be rough season.
Manager: Adam Nawałka - solid but nothing more than that, did his best to... change the side that won the promotion last season.
Best player: Adam Banas, center-back, great tackler, wins everything in the air, heart on his sleeve type.
Best young talent: Michał Jonczyk (18yo), striker, great to see him in Ekstraklasa, very clever, always seems to know where he'd be.
Pre-season: Good results in the second half of their pre-season, especially against MC d'Alger, Lech Poznań and Lechia Gdańsk.
Transfers: As I said, changed their look, transfered twelve players, try to release those who are only for money. Their defence looks good but not that much quality in attack.
Prediction: Places from 8-12 should be theirs although it depends on how stable situation in Zabrze will be.

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