After my Ekstraklasa review in three parts on this blog and longer round up of first round done and posted on In Bed With Maradona, I promised something more about the league and tonight you have the chance to read my take on best and worst players, games, managers… Everything you could think of. Let’s get on with it.
We had really few decent games so far this season in which especially the tempo was more than just satisfying and good showing from the players. Strong contenders are games like Korona Kielce – Jagiellonia Białystok (1-1), Lech Poznan trashing Wisła Kraków 4-1 and Wisła Kraków beating Lechia Gdańsk 5-2 but it must go to dramatic win from Legia Warszawa over Lech Poznań 2-1. Legia went down after nine minutes, Lech had chances and possession to make it two nil before half time but then young Kucharczyk equalized with lovely run. But just before the break, Radović was sent off and Legia was playing whole second half with down to ten men. They were better, Lech was stunned by their performance and organization and with just minutes to go, after nice set piece, Bruno Mezenga sent Legia fans into raptures after his header found the net. That proved to be the winner of the best game in this round.
Easily that should go to Artjoms Rudnevs (scored seven in Ekstraklasa) as he made immediately mark on Lech Poznan with his fantastic performances in the league and Europe. Without him, they would be in far worse situation than they are currently. And he cost only something like 300,000 Euro. Ivica Vrdoljak (to Legia for 1 million Euro) deserves a mention, while Tomasz Kupisz (from Wigan to Jagiellonia, free transfer and BARGAIN!) and Andrzej Niedzielan (eight goals, from Ruch Chorzów to Korona Kielce for free) are not far off the top.
It must be simply one of Legia and Cracovia effect of transfer spree during the summer. Bruno Mezenga maybe scored few decisive goals for the first team but he won’t be their main striker anytime soon, while Kneżević is woeful defender and a miracle will make a decent goalkeeper out of Marijan Antolović. And Cracovia? Jarabica arguably worst defender of the league, can’t believe that Suart was recommended by few Dutchmen as solid player. But the biggest and most spectacular fail was Joel Tshibamba transfer from Arka Gdynia to Lech Poznan. What had happened to the guy that led the line for Arka last season?
Legia losing six games after that transfer spree mentioned above and still being three points off the top? Nope but they are close. Jagiellonia Białystok leading in the league? Not really a surprise given the knowledge of the work done there by Michał Probierz, the manager. Górnik Zabrze doing well after many tipping them to be just above relegation zone? Not really, much changed after they were relegated and made comeback to Ekstraklasa in last two years. Lech Poznan having catastrophic start to the season and failing to be at least in the right half of the table? Very close but Cracovia and their story so far (only eight points in fifteen games) beats them every time.
Michał Probierz. Consequent work in Jagiellonia, he kept most valuable players during the summer transfer window and was unlucky not to continue his adventure in Europa League (defeat to Aris after some horrendous refereeing). Marcin Sasal also enjoys great spell at Korona Kielce while Orest Lenczyk and Marek Wleciałowski duo have not lost a league game since joining Śląsk Wrocław after seven league rounds. Young managers, Maciej Bartoszek and Tomasz Kafarski from GKS Bełchatów and Lechia Gdańsk respectively deserve the mention as well.
Close call between Ryszard Tarasiewicz and Rafał Ulatowski. Both had strengthen their squads during the summer and underperformed massively with their teams in the league. Tarasiewicz left Śląsk after five straight defeats while Ulatowski was sacked after getting only few points in twelve games. Can’t decide so award goes to both of them.
Tomasz Kupisz (20) showed why Wigan scouts once decided to sign him few years ago and Ariel Borysiuk (19) rose in the defensive midfielder role for Legia during the league and both were called up to Polish national team and made their debuts lately. Who will get it? Kupisz is the one, as Borysiuk still has to improve (but is bigger talent in my opinion) and get more influence on the game. Marcin Budziński (20) from Arka Gdynia is rising his game as central midfielder and should be closer to getting this at the end of the season.
The class acts showed during these fifteen league games by Adrian Mierzejewski (Polonia Warszawa), Mateusz Bartczak (Zagłębie Lubin), Manuel Arboleda (Lech Poznań), Razack Traore (Lechia Gdańsk), Darvydas Sernas (Widzew Łódź) and Kamil Grosicki (Jagiellonia Białystok) all deserve a mention but they all have their moments of weaknesses and are nowhere near close the winner. My final award goes to Tomasz Frankowski, 36-year old Jagiellonia Białystok striker, who found the net eight times and is topping the scorer table. He is fantastic player, probably the cleverest in the league, not only goal poacher but also very influential for Jagiellonia’s style. He deserves it truly!