Besiktas On a Roll in Turkey

By Aydin Reyhan
Slaven Bilic
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

Turkish league leaders Besiktas deserve to be exactly where they are after winning their opening two Super League matches against Trabzon at home and Erciyesspor on the road. The matches were by no means easy, but playing a quick, uptempo style allowed the Istanbul side to win both matches convincingly.

Head coach Slaven Bilic has taught this talented side how to play a quick style of soccer that allows them to fully focus defensively, offensively and in the remaining aspects of the game as well. His presence on the sideline has given the players hope and a new source of control that is leading towards a higher, more improved direction.

The team is built around play-making midfielder Manuel Fernandes who is considered extremely generous for staying in this league when he could easily be playing abroad in the Premier League, Serie A or La Liga. His vision, skill and strength on and off the ball make him the most dangerous member of the team and one of the most prominent in the entire league. He will continue to be key to consistent performances throughout the season.

Comparing them to last season, there is a brand new hunger and fearlessness about the team that allows them to take on any opponent. They have speed, skill, a soccer mentality, die-hard fans and a new feel for the game that has been missing since their last title run back in 2009. This is something that has arrived just in time to become a third team that can realistically challenge Galatasaray and Fenerbahce for league honors.

Now, what the team needs to do is keep up this run of form not only in the league but in Europe as well. Trailing 2-1 on aggregate, the team needs to overturn that deficit this Thursday night in Istanbul when they host Norwegian side Tromso. With their fans and home grass, they should be able to win by two or three goals if the pressure does not get to them first.

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