Pride, passion and fascinating stories from Asia Minor
The winds of change have blown through Istanbul and spring has taken over. Green leaves have returned to city centre trees, the Bosphorus isn’t looking so gloomy and even the pigeons in Taksim Square are showing as much testosterone as a stag do in Bodrum.
It’s a seasonal change that Galatasaray fans will be hoping also sweeps their club to a better place.
With a presidential election on the way, a star on the brink of leaving and the club enduring its worst season to date, there really is no place better to start than at the TT Arena.
Two topics have taken centre stage this week. The 'will he, won’t he...or has he already', transfer saga of Arda Turan, and the upcoming presidential election.
While many believe Arda’s transfer to Atletico Madrid is as good as done, it is being suggested that nothing will be confirmed one way or the other until after the new chairman is named.
It’s no secret that Arda has endured a turbulent season both on and off the pitch. His relationship with actress Sinem Kobal has plagued the gossip magazines (the above video gives a taste of the kind of attention they 'enjoy'), and even led some to suggest too much sex has been the root of the injury problems that have prevented him from proving those very same critics wrong on the pitch.
In the board room, and with the election candidates not due to be confirmed until later this month, the situation is just as sticky.
While the papers are having a field day guessing which big-wigs could potentially take over. The most recent shock suggestion has been Haluk Ulusoy.
The former FA head has reportedly already received the backing of Adnan Polat and his close relationship with Fatih Terim, who led the national side twice during Ulusoy’s reign, could prove crucial should he stand for president.
Though more importantly, he could also be the only man capable of keeping Arda at the club.
None the less, Arda was back on the pitch on Sunday as Cimbom hosted Trabzonspor. In a silent stadium, due to the home side's stadium ban, Trabzon came away with all three points thanks to Burak Yilmaz’s 14th strike of the season.
The game had looked set to finish goalless before Colin-Kazim Richards was sent off for a silly lunge.
It also left Cimbom worryingly close to the relegation zone (below) after fellow bottom-dwellars Sivasspor and Bucaspor both picked up wins.
14 - Galatasaray 33 15 - Sivasspor 31 -----------------------------16 - Bucaspor 24 17 - Kasimpasa 20 18 - Konyaspor 18
Yes, the lions are just nine points above the drop and, with their next three fixtures looking particularly daunting - Manisaspor away, Kayserispor at home, then Besiktas away - things could get worse before they get better.
Back at the top, Fenerbahce maintained their pressure on the leaders with a fairly routine win at Eskisehirspor. Alex De Souza was not on the score-sheet, but led the charge once again with two assists for Mama Niang and Caner Erkin.
The title chase was whittled down to a two-horse race with Bursa’s loss against Antalyaspor. Kenny Miller and Jozy Altidore were both on target but Antalya’s late come-back left the Green Crocodiles fourteen points from the summit.
The reigning champions may still have a say in deciding where their trophy goes this year when they travel to Trabzon this weekend.
The Turkish Cup took centre stage last week with Besiktas all but confirming their place in the final. Their 3-0 first leg lead over Gaziantepspor should be enough to keep them on their way to European qualification.
They will of course have to overcome Istanbul B.B or Genclerbirligi should they get to the final. Besiktas will be hoping Gencler’s 1-1 draw in Istanbul will prove to be the key when the two teams meet up next Thursday with Istanbul B.B having already scored a double over the Black Eagles in the league.
The blog's prediction: a Besiktas-Istanbul B.B final, with Besiktas to win.
Results Kasimpasa 0-1 Besiktas, Galatasaray 0-1 Trabzonspor, Gaziantepspor 3-2 Ankaragucu, Genclerbirligi 4-1 Kayserispor, Istanbul BB 1-2 Sivasspor, Bucaspor 2-1 Karabukspor, Eskisehirspor 1-3 Fenerbahce, Konyaspor 0-0 Manisaspor, Bursaspor 2-3 Antalyaspor.
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