Emirates Cup: What to Expect from Galatasaray
The Emirates Cup kicks off on August 3 when four of Europe’s giants will compete in one of the summer’s most prestigious friendly competitions. Arsenal, Porto, Napoli and Galatasaray will play for honours in North London in what promises to be an engrossing two days of football.
With the start of the continent’s major leagues only weeks away, all four teams will be hoping to up the ante in their preparations. A victory this weekend could do wonders for team morale and confidence ahead of what will be a big season in four of Europe’s most exciting divisions.
Galatasaray are the tournament’s outsiders. They don’t have the profile of Arsenal, haven’t enjoyed the recent success of Porto and aren’t coming off the flurry of a number of high-profile signings a la Napoli.
However, with the competition in its current—obscure but understandable—format, Galatasaray could have a chance of taking home the trophy. They will need to overcome Porto and Arsenal but are more than capable of springing a surprise.
Gala Bouncing Back
Galatasaray didn’t become Turkish champs by rolling over and letting a defeat affect them. That said, however, they were rarely as outclassed in the Super Lig as they were by Napoli in a recent friendly.
The score of 3-1 didn’t flatter the Italian side, but as impressive as they were, Gala’s defensive failings were there for all to see.
Competing against Porto and Arsenal this weekend, they will need to show that they are over this crushing defeat and ready to respond to the hardships that will come their way this season.
The onus will be on the experienced Fatih Terim to mend damaged morale and motivate Aslan to face the coming challenges head on.
While Galatasaray were thoroughly underwhelming in their recent capitulation against Rafa Benitez’s Napoli, there was one glimmer of optimism.
Moroccan midfielder Nordin Amrabat is revered in the North African context but has yet to find his stride in Istanbul.
Although Amrabat has only one goal in his Gala career to date, Terim should be encouraged by the midfielder's showing against the Italians. The North African’s delightful finish was an indication of his explosive talent.
Too often reliant on the majestic skills of Didier Drogba, Wesley Sneijder and Burak Yilmaz, Cimbom will need the supporting cast—including Amrabat—to stand up and be counted.
If the Moroccan can continue his goalscoring form during the Emirates Cup, that would be an excellent start.
Bite in Midfield, a Warrior Forgotten
Having been on loan at Galatasaray since 2011, it seemed inevitable that Felipe Melo would sign permanently for the Turkish giants. Once holding the fort for Juventus and Brazil simultaneously, Melo’s fall from grace has been marked.
He is a big fish in Istanbul and a valued member of the playing staff. Now 30, the time has come for him to show that his failings in the past are forgotten. He may not admit it, but the prospect of a World Cup on home soil next year and an unlikely recall to the national side must be motivating factors.
Finally a permanent member of Gala, the onus is on him to make up for a career that looks to have peaked before its time.
It will take a major effort, but the tenacious midfielder may still prove his worth at an elite level. A gnashing performance at the Emirates Cup would go a long way toward redemption.
An Erstwhile Ivorian Hero Champing at the Bit
Although things might have ended in heartbreak and embarrassment in North London, Emmanuel Eboue enjoyed a successful few years at the capital. Despite the ignominy of his exit, the right-sider was a popular player among fans and retains a place in the hearts of many of the Gunners faithful.
He has stated that he is dying to test his mettle against his former teammates and perhaps show Arsenal fans what they have been missing since his departure.
His work rate, determination and versatility have become valuable assets to Galatasaray, as they once were for Arsene Wenger.
Expect a major love-in when player and fanbase meet once again on August 4.