Team of the first half-season 2017/18

After reviewing the performances of the first league players, we introduce a list of the best team, complete with both starters and substitutes, during the first half of the season.

Stats such as games played, goals, assists and clean sheets, along with tracking the actual games, determined which players deserved a place in the team. The formation that best suited the starters is a 4-3-3 with one defensive midfielder and two attacking midfielders. Keep in mind that players had to start in at least half of the possible games (meaning 9 of 18) to be considered. Furthermore, it was important to take into account a suitable position for each of the starters instead of playing some players out of position.

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Macedonia Kostadin Zahov (Shkendija) M18 GC18 CS8 Y1 R0 1.620′
Kostadin Zahov had one bad game against his former club Vardar, but apart from that he performed a great half-season with a lot of spectacular saves. Furthermore Kostadin despite playing as a goalkeeper is an important part of Shkendija’s offensive play. Zahov has a great ball control and is a precise passer, so he is able to stay calm even when there is pressure on him.

Macedonia Darko Velkovski (Vardar) M10 G0 A1 Y2 R0 832′
Darko Velkovski didn’t play much because of some injuries inbetween, but when he was on the pitch he showed that he is on a high level. Darko is a former midfielder, thus he is a versatile player with great passing skills, but he is already also a great defender who is physical and smart at once. His weakness is that he is unchallenged in this league, therefore sometimes he seems to lack motivation.

Macedonia Visar Musliu (Vardar) M11 G1 A0 Y1 R0 871′
Like his teammate Darko Velkovski, also Visar Musliu missed several games because of injury, nevertheless we took him as a starter. Visar has some shortcomings in his offensive play, he is more of an old school central back, but for that he is a strong defender who rarely loses a duel.

Macedonia Kristijan Toshevski (Pelister) M15 G0 A4 Y0 R0 1.318′
Pelister is battling against relegation and played a miserable first half of the season, but right-back Kristijan Toshevski nonetheless was in form and continued with outstanding performances like last season.

Macedonia David Atanaskoski (Akademija Pandev) M14 G0 A0 Y4 R0 1.249′
The competition on the left-back position was weak. Actually the best player on that side is Rabotnichki’s Sebastián Herrera Cardona, but the Colombian didn’t collect enough starts as he was injured. Therefore David Atanaskoski from Akademija Pandev is our choice, he was the best of the rest and played constantly on a solid level.

Macedonia Armend Alimi (Shkendija) M18 G4 A3 Y3 R0 1.561′
Armend Alimi is a regular member in this category. The midfielder is undoubtedly one of the better players in the league and constantly a threat for the opponents despite playing in defensive midfield.

The best 11

Brazil Juan Felipe Alves Ribeiro (Vardar) M18 G7 A5 Y2 R0 1.608′
The Brazilian is a virtuoso on the field. Always very creative Juan Felipe sometimes looks more like an artist. Put on good numbers during the past months, but the attacking midfielder is much more than the summation of his goals and assists.

Macedonia Ferhan Hasani (Shkendija) M16 G17 A11 Y1 R0 1.380′
Another outstanding player that is able to play in a by far better league. Ferhan Hasani towered statistically with his 17 goals and eleven assists in 16 games, but Shkendija’s captain is also a leader on the pitch.

Armenia Tigran Barseghyan (Vardar) M17 G5 A3 Y2 R0 1.195′
Tigran Barseghyan’s stats are not as good as he is as a player. Tigran was not in the best shape, he looked tired, but it’s obvious that he is on a higher level compared to most of the players of the 1.MFL.

Brazil Stênio Marcos da Fonseca Salazar Júnior (Shkendija) M16 G6 A6 Y3 R0 1.027′
Stênio Júnior is not a very spectacular player, but he is constant in his performances and a team player with a good work attitude, therefore he is regularly a part of this category.

Macedonia Besart Ibraimi (Shkendija) M18 G12 A10 Y3 R0 1.595′
Besart Ibraimi was as always a threat. Shkendija creates a lot of chances and experienced striker Besart is able to use this chances. Furthermore he is not very selfish and knows when he has to pass the ball.

Bench:

GK Macedonia Filip Gachevski (Vardar) M14 GC12 CS6 Y1 R0 1.260′
Filip Gachevski looked shaky in some games, like most of the Vardar players he wasn’t in the best form, nevertheless Filip had a good half-season and deserved to be at least on the bench.

GK Serbia Milan Mitrović (Sileks) M18 GC18 CS10 Y2 R0 1.620′
Last season Milan Mitrović lost his spot because he was sidelined for a longer period due to an injury, but the goalkeeper returned between the posts and accomplished a convincing half-season.

CB Macedonia Stojan Stojchevski (Sileks) M17 G1 A0 Y6 R1 1.488′
Sileks has a great season so far and central defender Stojan Stojchevski is one of the reasons for the success.

CB Macedonia Ardian Cuculi (Shkendija) M17 G0 A1 Y4 R0 1.525′
Ardian Cuculi maybe is without some outstanding qualities on the field, but he is an experienced team player and an important part of Shkendija’s team.

RB Macedonia Blagoja Todorovski (Shkendija) M16 G1 A6 Y3 R0 1.201′
It’s not easy to imagine a team of the half-season without Blagoja Todorovski. A big fighter who is always very active until the final whistle. Furthermore he is not just good as a right-back, Blagoja is also effective on the right-wing.

DM Macedonia Jani Atanasov (Akademija Pandev) M16 G3 A3 Y4 R0 1.416′
Jani Atanasov turned 18 two months ago, but despite his young age he is one of Akademija Pandev’s most important players. Jani logically lacks experience due to his young age and is not very constant in his performances, nevertheless he contributes on the field.

AM Macedonia Kristijan Stojkoski (Shkupi) M16 G5 A3 Y2 R0 1.341′
Kristijan Stojkoski is a fine attacking midfielder. He played a good 2016/17 season with Makedonija Gjorche Petrov and continued his good form at his new club Shkupi.

SS Macedonia Stojancho Velinov (Rabotnichki) M17 G0 A11 Y3 R01.275′
Some years ago Stojancho Velinov was an athletic but raw player, but he gets better from year to year. He lacked a goal during the past half-season, but provided eleven assists and shined with his high work rate.

W Macedonia Ljupcho Doriev M12 G4 A2 Y1 R0 880′
Ljupcho Doriev was on
fire at the start of the season, but an injury stopped his run. He came back after some rounds, but it was obvious that he was brought to early, thus he wasn’t in the previous shape. Let’s hope that he will recover completely during the winter break.

W Brazil Lucas Ferreira Cardoso (Pelister) M15 G6 A2 Y2 R1 1.203′
Lucas is class, a great player who stood out in this seasons lackluster Pelister. It seems that he is able to do much more once he moves to a better club.

W Macedonia Kire Markoski (Rabotnichki) M15 G6 A1 Y3 R0 1.061′
Unfortunately Kire Markoski had some minor injuries inbetween, otherwise probably he would have accomplished an even better half-season. Still Kire was able to provide good performances. The winger is an athletic worker who never stops running, additionally to his role in the offense he is also important for the team defense.

CF Nigeria Chinedu Charles Geoffrey (Rabotnichki) M15 G7 A1 Y3 R0 1.186′
20-year-old Chinedu Charles Geoffrey came out of nowhere. Rabotnichki signed him in the summer and the center-forward surprised with refreshing outputs.

Legend: M – matches; GC – goals conceded; CS – clean sheets; G – goals; A – assists; Y – yellow cards; R – red cards.

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