Two years ago, Besiktas were playing in the Champions League, having won back to back titles in Turkey.
That year, they went on to top their group and everything was looking great.
The Istanbul side had players like Pepe, Anderson Talisca, Alvaro Negredo, Cenk Tosun, Ryan Babel and Ricardo Quaresma. It was the height of the #ComeToBesiktas era. Fast forward to today, none of them remain in the squad and Besiktas are looking worse every single day.
The Turkish giants are now in a total mess. They are struggling with issues both on and off the pitch. Club president Fikret Orman announced last week that he plans to quit, and after those comments his side were beaten 4-1 by Trabzonspor and are in the relegation zone after six games.
After their successful manager Senol Gunes departed for the Turkish national team, the Black Eagles hired Abdullah Avci, who did a very good job for Istanbul minnows Medipol Basaksehir.
In the summer transfer window, Avci decided to change things up and added new faces. Torino’s Adem Ljajic joined on a permanent basis while the Turkish club also signed Tottenham’s Georges Kevin Nkoudou and Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny. Added to that were the likes of Tyler Boyd, Abdoulay Diaby, Douglas, Pedro Rebocho and Victor Ruiz as they spent €17m on new arrivals, which is quite an amount for a team who are in deep financial trouble.
Looking at Besiktas’ current form, it’s safe to say Abdullah Avci has a lot of things to do. The Turkish giants find themselves in the relegation zone with 12 goals conceded in just six league games. Domagoj Vida, the most reliable option at the back, is probably in the worst form of his career and the club’s other starting defender Victor Ruiz is currently out with injury and will miss the game.
With his absence, midfielder Necip Uysal could be deployed to play alongside Vida, but considering fullbacks Gokhan Gonul and Caner Erkin are way past their best, Wolves could exploit the gaps in Besiktas’ defence, and Liverpool loanee Loris Karius is also receiving criticism due to his poor start to the season.
Elneny will likely return to play in midfield, while reported Premier League target Dorukhan Tokoz could partner him, with Ljajic in the playmaker role.
Nkoudou will probably be looking to prove himself after a slow start to the season and the club’s 34 year old captain Burak Yilmaz is the biggest threat to Wolves’ Rui Patricio.
With fans so angry at Fikret Orman and Abdullah Avci, it will be a very different atmosphere for Wolves if they score the first goal at Vodafone Park. During the week, Black Eagles fans stated they want Avci to resign so he follows Orman out of the door, and lots of players are also under fire because of their performances.
Wolves captain Conor Coady has understandably said he’s expecting a ‘hostile’ atmosphere but if they score the first goal and put Besiktas under a bit of pressure, then the fans will likely return to their players and it will suddenly be a very different ‘experience’ for Wolves.
Whatever happens, this should be a good game.