This game marks the end of the first half of the season. Before you carry on reading, I will warn you that there is only one picture included in this article for those of you that hate words. They say a picture is worth a thousand words: in this case this article is worth 1.34 pictures.
MTK stand just four points behind Vidi in top spot and a remarkable seven points clear of the chasing pack, which includes Diosgyor. A win will close the gap on Vidi to one point with Vidi playing Fradi at home on Sunday afternoon and take them to Wuthering Heights (not sure if that reference really fits, but I have a real desire to pick up some Kate Bush fans this week).
Diosgyor come from Miskolc and like much of the country’s football teams will have a brand spanking, identikit stadium built for them in the upcoming years. The project in Miskolc has taken a somewhat social dimension with the building of the stadium being used as an excuse for clearing the nearby Gypsy ghetto. The residents of the so-called ‘Numbered Streets’ (because they borrowed the originality that only a New Yorker can bring to street naming) have been promised new homes, but given that many of them are not registered there or the local council has allowed their leases to expire means that this promise may not be kept for de jure as opposed to de facto purposes (oh la la some ad hoc Latin – probably incorrectly used). Anyway here is a picture from Google Streetview:
We will be visiting to hopefully celebrate a title in late May and hopefully with those guys in the photo.
So aside from that ill-placed social commentary (I seem to be heading in that direction more and more often these days), what about the football?
MTK – Bouncing back (from Хуйпест – for you Russophones)
MTK will be looking to bounce back from their last home performance which saw them stumble to defeat against a strong and disciplined Ujpest team. A win against Diosgyor taking them to a frankly ridiculous 36 from 45 points in the first half of the season. I have heard rumours that Kanta and/or Torghelle may be injured, but I am going to ignore them because a) I read them on Facebook and b) I read them on Facebook in Hungarian.
Vuki should return from suspension, which will give a selection headache for Jozsi Bacsi with the young duo of Keleman David and Kanoki-Kis looking impressive in Szombathely. The decision may be made slightly more difficult by the ruminations that Kalnoki-Kis is increasingly unhappy with his bit part role and with his contract expiring in the summer may be looking at a move to Ujpest (do you really think you will look good in purple?). I would suggest that they do all in their power to keep him at the club with Vuki (now 36) slowly moving into a coaching position. That said I think Vuki should return to the starting line-up for this one to use his experience to deal with the physical presence of either George Griffiths or Takacs Tamas (both of whom are edging 2 metres). Poor and Hidvegi to make up the full-back positions.
The middle three picks itself at the moment with Vass A, Poloskei Zsolt and Kanta Klaus looking immovable at present. Torghelle will start up top if fit (unless Jozsi Bacsi decides to drop him on form, which is unlikely given the lack of obvious replacement).
The wide men is and has been an interesting selection headache with five from Vass P, the Doctor (Horvath Zs), Bese Barny, Hrepka Adam and Csiki Norby.
I think the Doctor is injured (pretty sure his phd does not enable himself to treat himself) with a knee problem so will probably not make the matchday squad, which is a shame because he is the one of the five who I would guarantee the start to as he always looks a threat providing pace and good dose of power through the inside left channel. I imagine Hrepka will start in his place. He seems to be somewhat unloved by the MTK faithful and does have a habit for going missing in games. I am not sure if he is entirely comfortable playing in the wide position and looks like he might be more suited to the centre forward role.
On the other wing, it is a straight battle in my opinion between Vass P and Bese Barny. Vass P reminds me of a Hungarian Aaron Lennon: he has pace, works incredibly hard, he is short, he is one footed and he has a powder puff shot. That said when he runs at people with pace, he can be one of the most effective dribblers in the league (I would use the last ten games or so of last season as an example of what he can do). Starting this season injured, he has struggled to recapture that form. Recalled to the starting XI against Szombathely last time out, he was substituted at half-time. To be honest, I did not think he had the worst of games so it might be that he is still struggling: he is certainly struggling for confidence at the moment. His replacement that day was Bese Barny. A fairly lean individual, Bese is growing into the position at the club and has recently been adding goals to the raw talent that he possesses. He still has a habit of running into dead ends (a trait that afflicts many young wingers), but he certainly has the physical presence and enough talent that he could develop into a real handful. I would suggest it is 50:50 on who starts. Without knowing the real reasons behind Vass P’s form (i.e. is he not fully fit), I would start Bese Barny on the basis that Diosgyor bring some physical presence and I think Vass P may be physically on the back foot (which is not going to improve his seemingly broken confidence).
Csiki was the great hope when I first started watching MTK, but a horrific injury kept him out of the game for over a year and he is still feeling his way back. I expect him to have more of a prominent role post-Christmas and will be restricted to the bench for the time being (unless Jozsi Bacsi decides to give Torghelle a break to enable him to find some form away from the glaring spotlight of 400 fans and a live TV audience of tens more).
A team with a strong Serbian presence throughout, the dynamic midfield dynamo in Hungarian international Elek Akos and almost guaranteed to play with a big man or two in attack. MTK could be in for a physical battle (something they typically do not handle too well). Grumics has impressed me whenever he plays for Diosgyor in an advanced midfielder role. I expect Diosgyor to play a high intensity game with balls into the head of Griffiths/Takacs for advancing midfielders to pick up on. With MTK typically playing a very deep line to hide their lack of pace in the middle of defence, this could leave a huge space between the midfield and defence which the likes of Grumics can exploit.
Key man for this game for MTK has to be Vass A (who thankfully is returning to form). He needs to dominate that space, pick-up and knock downs from any long balls and generally break up any ‘second wave’ attacks. I would like to see Poloskei drop in alongside wherever possible to help out.
After my totally correct prediction for the last MTK game (did I mention that?), I am feeling the heat to get another correct prediction. This one is a battle between the head and the heart. Head says 1-1 and heart says 2-0 MTK. As I am an emotionally dead, Englishman I will go with my head until I have a beer or two on Saturday and the raging romantic will appear from within. Still 1-1 for now.