Not the best of season starts, but one that tells a lot about what Poli looks like and where it is headed under the command of Petrovic. In fact, it is very customary for us to start with a draw. Same as last year, the first match was against Bistrița, and we managed to pull a 2-2 draw. The results of the first 5 stages so far are as follows:
Poli - Gloria Bistrița 2:2 (1:1)
Gaz Metan Mediaș - Poli 2:2 (1:0)
Poli - CFR Cluj 3:2 (2:1)
Universitatea Craiova - Poli 1:1 (0:0)
Poli - Victoria Brănești 2:1 (1:0)
As you can see, many goals, but also many draws, which leaves us currently at 4 points behind the leaders. Many of the conceded goals were personal mistakes, which is what defines Poli in this beginning of the season: very offensive, but also very uncoordinated and insecure in defense. This style has been a bit interrupted by our European endeavour, where we were forced to play very defensively, and has also put a burden on the playes.
One of the best players, and definitely the most impressive, was Mircea Axente. Although he's been with the club for about 6 years, he's been mostly loaned to other teams, or played a bit for the second team. Last year he was loaned to Oțelul Galați and managed to score 3 goals in the two matches against Poli - what irony! Even so, nobody expected for him to make such a fantastic start for the big team, definitely catching a starting spot, in front of the other players, that have already played for Poli. His goals were very important, scoring the equaliser against Gaz Metan, and a very nice goal in the brilliant win against CFR Cluj, where he managed to fool the keeper, while also keeping a defender at bay. He's also scored to in the Europa League qualifiers, the winning goal in the first leg with MyPa, and our first goal for the incredible comeback in the second leg. Tall, well built, skillful and fast is what describes our 23 year old attacker. And for sure, he has more to prove.
Another good performer was Magera, but that is no big surprise, as he has shown to be a very important player for Poli. He is currently our top goal scorer in the championship, with 3 goals. Another big surprise is Zicu, who was transferred after the season start. He isn't and top physical form, and has always been sent in in the second half, but he's managed to score 3 important goals: the 2nd one against MyPa, the late equaliser at Craiova, and a splendid scissors-kick for the winner against Victoria Brănești. We hope that he will prove to be a very important player, especially after he is fully recovered.
At the other end, we can't single out any bad players, as all defenders, even Cisovsky or Alexa have made grave errors which lead to goals, but despite these, they've played very good the rest of the time. Mera, perhaps, was a bit insecure more than the others.
As for the rest of the line-up, we must note that Poli has let Igor Popovic go, without him playing a single minute in an official match. Dukic has only played one half, and it seems he hasn't met Petrovic's standards. But he may as well play in the future, seeing that Contra's contract ends after the next match and he is considering retirement. He also missed two matches, having been very easily sent off in the match against Bistrița. However, Dukic has a strong opponent for the right back spot, as Scutaru has put in a few very good performances. Also, Bonfim has been sold to Steaua, to meet up with Latovlevici who arrived there earlier this year. Chiacu, who plays right wing, as Contra did in several matches, has only played a few minutes, but hasn't proven much. Also, the most recent transfer is Burcă, a Romanian defender, who's played very much abroad, his last team being Energie Cottbus. He's made a rather unsatisfying debut in the second leg against Manchester City, but perhaps his experience will be much needed in case one of the central defenders gets injured, as has recently happened with Cisovsky. Also on the injury list is unlucky Mansour, who has made a rather good start.
Thus ends our first review. It should be said that we are at a crucial turning point, as our next match is away, against Steaua, who is 4 points ahead. Thus, a win will set us on a path to fight for the championship, while a loss will definitely put us a few steps behind.