Turkish football just got Merk'd

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The blog is not happy. The new season began four weeks ago but TD, like a drunk teenager with jet lag, is still struggling to get to grips with the four day ‘weekend’ fixture schedule.

The extent of this drastic change is evident on Monday afternoons as the blog regularly finds itself ambling around unable to write, read nor debate due to the last round of matches still to come.

This is of course due to the fact that Lig TV - Turkey’s Sky Sports - have started screening every single match live on TV. That means, Friday to Monday is now officially the weekend.

Whether it’s a derby from the Ali Sami Yen or a mid table clash from a half built stadium in Kasimpasa, Lig TV are there. Don’t get me wrong, four days of live football is not necessarily something the blog is against. By all means a week of football would be welcome at times.

However, with more matches spread over a longer period of time, it does mean a minimum of four days of three hour shows broadcasting the opinions of every ex referee, reformed alcoholic and wannabe pundit the TV channels can get their hands on [Sounds familiar – ed].

Lig TV’s latest bright idea for their ‘Maraton’ highlights and analysis show – once the blogs favourite weekend football show – is to have ex Bundesliga referee Markus Merk as one of their panellists. A refereeing critique if you like. And why not, after all he is one of the most renowned officials in the world.

Alas, not only does the German know very little about the Super Lig, but he also speaks barely a word of Turkish; resulting in a rather comical voice over translation while viewers enjoy the sight of Markus desperately trying to hear the translated questions through his most unsubtle of ear pieces. Turkish TV at its best!

So, in between watching Merky decipher each decision, the blog did manage to watch a little bit of football. A big ‘phhewww’ for Frank Rijkaard who managed to save his skin for another week after Galatasaray picked up their first win of the season.

Entirely thanks to Eskisehir goalkeeper Ivesa who gifted Milan Baros the opener and Volkan Yaman who chose to find the top corner of his own net with it seemingly easier to clear the ball.

Back in Istanbul, Fenerbahce played out their final game behind closed doors and again managed to score four goals. Mamadou Niang laid rest to any fears that he was to become the next Daniel Guiza - netting two goals as Fener disposed of Manisaspor 4-2. The signing of Everton’s Joseph Yobo will no doubt strengthen a defence who have conceded five goals in their last two league games.

Guti watch was on full alert this weekend as Goldilocks scored his first goal in black and white, albeit from 12 yards after Tricky Ricky Quaresma went down in the area.

However, it was Q7 again who stole the show and capped his performance off with his side’s fourth goal.

Despite all this Bursaspor are still the ones to catch. Stopping Ertugrul Saglam’s men will not be easy and they remain the only team to maintain a 100% record after Trabzonspor were held to a goalless draw with Antalyaspor.

Despite starting the game with five attacking players, Trabzon failed to break down the Antalya defence and the lack of electric on the pitch was matched when the flood lights went out, stopping the game for almost half an hour.

The international break will see millions of watchful, fickle, critical eyes on Guus Hiddink as he prepares himself for his first official test as manager of the national side.

With the temperature in the very impressive Astana Arena expected to drop as low as 2 degrees, it will certainly be a night to wrap up for the likes of Emre and Arda Turan. All the best Guus!

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