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The Race for the Süper Lig Title

Friday 17th March 2017
It may not be the most popular league in Europe but the Turkish top flight has some quality players and teams. With just ten games left to go in the Süper Lig, there are four clubs fighting it out for the title and to qualify for next season's Champions League.

Fenerbahçe



Inconsistency has been the main issue for Fenerbahçe this season and they are currently fourth in the table, ten points off the pace. They have shown that they are capable of beating the big teams as they have enjoyed victories over Galatasaray, Beşiktaş and even Manchester United this season. In saying this, they have also dropped valuable points against the bottom two clubs, Adanaspor and Gaziantepspor.

There are a number of former Premier League players in their squad including Martin Škrtel, Jeremain Lens and Robin Van Persie. All of these players have been regular starters in the side and contributed considerably but their star man so far has been Moussa Sow. He has eight goals this campaign and scored a number of memorable overhead kicks. With all these quality individuals it can be argued that Fenerbahçe have the best squad in the league and Dick Advocaat has clearly not got enough out of his players this season.

Last Friday, Fenerbahçe kept their title hopes alive by coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2 away to Alanyaspor. Even with this win, it is highly unlikely that they will recover the points deficit to become champions but they will definitely be pushing for second spot and a place in next year's Champions League.

Galatasaray

There are two season-defining games coming up for Galatasaray in April. The first is an away match against Istanbul Başakşehir and the other is a home game against Fenerbahçe. These are both crucial six-pointers that they have to win if they want to a stand a chance of being champions at the end of the season.

Unfortunately, injuries have plagued Galatasaray this season. Last summer they signed Icelandic forward Kolbeinn Sigthorsson on loan but before he could make a single appearance for the club he sustained a knee injury and his contract was terminated. They are also missing target man Eren Derdiyok and are relying on Lucas Podolski to lead the line and get the goals.

Creative genius, Wesley Sneijder has not been at his best this season and this has clearly had an effect on the team. He has been averaging around nine goals a season for Galatasaray but has only scored two in this campaign and quickly needs to get back to his best.

Istanbul Başakşehir



The club have given themselves a real chance of securing their first Süper Lig title. The club were only formed in 1990 and have managed to muscle in on the ‘Big Three's' dominance in Turkey. After getting promoted in 2014, they have finished fourth for the last two seasons and are second in the table, just two points off of the top spot.

One of the reasons for their success this season is that they have not been reliant on just one goalscorer. The strong unity in the team means that everyone is pitching in with goals although they do have some key men. Emre Belözoğlu has a lot of experience in the league and has three goals and six assists this season. Rapid winger, Edin Višća has also been influential for Istanbul Başakşehir with seven goals and five assists.

At the end of January they took a big risk and signed free agent, Emmanuel Adebayor. The former Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham man can either be a sensation or a nightmare for a club and Istanbul Başakşehir will certainly hope that he can aid their title bid, not hinder it. It is too early to say whether he will be successful at the club but he did bag himself a goal in their recent win away to Konyaspor.

Beşiktaş



The champions of the league last season will be desperate to retain their title and see off the rest of the competition. Cenk Tosun has been instrumental this season and is currently the league's top goalscorer with 16. Beşiktaş fans will hope that their talisman can stay fit for the rest of the season and continue his fantastic form.

Another player who has been outstanding is midfielder, Anderson Talisca. With pace and power and a great range of passing, the Brazilian reminds me of Yaya Touré in his prime. Unfortunately, he is only at the club on loan from Benfica and after they review his performances this season, I am sure he will feature a lot more for the Portuguese side in the future.

Beşiktaş were almost embarrassed at home by Kayserispor but a last minute goal by Vincent Aboubakar salvaged a point. Whilst this is still a disappointing result, one point could prove to be vital come the end of the season. Despite this little blip, I fully expect Beşiktaş to carry on their impressive form and win their fifteenth Süper Lig title.
Robert Wiltshire
I am a Creative Writing MA graduate with a love for playing, watching and writing about football.

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