2016, the Oranje year in review

Oops, I should have posted this already in January… It’s one of those things. The Oranje Year 2016 in review. Well, always nice to have an Oranje debate (broader than just Memphis, Daley and St Juste). I’ll add my own 2cents and after this I have some amazing posts coming up…  Good interview with Peter Bosz, Ronald Koeman, Rafael van der Vaart, Stefan de Vrij and much much more….

I: Vincent Janssen, Oranje’s striker for the next decade?
‘So cool, really amazing, I’m going nutso on the inside!”. Janssen can’t really fathom what’s happening when NT manager Danny Blind takes Janssen up in the prelim selection for Oranje. When the AZ striker hears that he made it to the final squad, he “was definitely on Cloud #9 for an hour!”. He doesn’t even dream of his actual debut, but a month later, Janssen is allowed to make his first appearance in the friendly against France (2-3) which is mainly played in the memory of Johan Cruyff, who passed on before the game. A couple of days later, Janssen is a starter vs England at Wembley. And he impresses. He’s fierce in the challenges, works and hussles, keeping the English defenders busy. And when the ref gives Oranje a spot kick in the 50st minutes, it’s Janssen who collects the ball. Janssen, becoming the Dutch topscorer for AZ that season, scores a beauty. Half an hour later, the striker has the assist for the winning goal by Luciano Narsingh and the whole of the nation is sold. This man went from Almere City to Wembley within 12 months. Oranje has a new goal scoring hero.

Vincent Janssen maakt zijn debuut voor Oranje in de verloren oefenwedstrijd tegen Frankrijk (2-3). Dat duel staat in het teken van het overlijden van Johan Cruijff. Zo wordt in de veertiende minuut een indrukwekkend eerbetoon gehouden voor de legendarische Nummer 14.

Note Jan: As of a couple of months, Vince is struggling at Spurs while Dost and Van Persie seem in great form. I think Janssen will struggle in the NT to keep his spot. Between you and me: Wout Weghorst is NOT a candidate for the NT. Yes, he scores goals, but that is in the Eredivisie against weaker teams. I don’t see it in him.

II: The End of a Golden Generation?

The rise of Vincent Janssen in Oranje has had an impact on the Oranje career of Klaas Jan Huntelaar. The Schalke striker was convinced that when Robin van Persie would be thanked for his services, he finally would get his chance as leader of the line. But Blind wants to test younger players: Luuk de Jong against France and Janssen vs England. When Huntelaar refuses to come onto the pitch at Wembley, a row is born. The striker: “It’s not exactly like that. I didn’t say I wouldn’t come off the bench. I’m happy to start on the bench and come on to make a difference. But not in the last two minutes!”

The friendly vs England is remarkable, as it is for the first time since August 2010 that The Fab Four are missing. Sneijder and Robben are injured, Van Persie and Van der Vaart not needed. The absence of the Fener striker causes a national discussion. Blind makes a clear statement that “a fit and in form Van Persie will have a place in the squad” but at this stage, it’s a little bit “too hot and too cold” with the former Feyenoord man. Throughout 2016, Huntelaar and Van Persie are not in the picture.

Robin van Persie kiest er eind oktober zelf voor om de gouden schaal voor zijn honderdste interland naar Istanbul te laten opsturen. De KNVB wilde de spits van Fenerbahçe niet huldigen in een vol stadion. 'Dat zou de schijn kunnen wekken dat zijn loopbaan als international erop zou zitten.'Van Persie is awarded the rare Golden Shield for 100 caps for Oranje. The KNVB does not want to honour him in a full stadium “as to not give the impression that we are organising a farewell for him”… Instead, the European post collects the shield and cap and medal in Zeist and transports it impersonally to Istanbul.

Note Jan: The NT is over for Van der Vaart. But Sneijder, Robben and potentially Van Persie are still valuable. The latter is making a difference for Fener and seems fit. Huntelaar is still struggling with fitness. At this stage, I don’t see the Hunter making a return.

III: Oranje impresses as sparring partner

In May, Blind states that in his view the NT has not given the farewell to Van Persie and Huntelaar. But a Robben and Sneijder need to let the end of season trip pass, Oranje will go to Lagos for their trainings camp without the big guns. Dick Advocaat, moonlighting a bit with Feyenoord, is added to the technical staff of Oranje, at the request of Danny Blind. Like with Feyenoord, there is an Advocaat effect with Oranje. As sparring partner for three Euro nations, the NT shows an ascending form. A draw vs Ireland results in biting criticism, but winning vs Poland and Austria results in the question what Oranje might have been able to do at the Euros if only… Kevin Strootman: “I can see a good trend developing. We can see a team forming and a winning mentality.” Virgil van Dijk: “We might not be world class but if we are prepared to work our socks off, we can make it hard for any opponent.”

Steven Berghuis wordt tot verbazing van velen opgeroepen voor de oefentrip aan het einde van vorig seizoen. De tribuneklant van Watford wordt gebeld door de bondscoach als hij in New York loopt. Eenmaal terug van vakantie bereidt Berghuis tegen Polen de 0-1 van Vincent Janssen voor.

And to the surprise of most, Danny Blind selects benchwarmer Steven Berghuis for the friendlies. He’s on a holiday in New York when he receives the call from Blind. On the pitch, he creates the Janssen goal for Oranje vs Poland.

Blind: “We had Steven in our group earlier and he impressed with his vision and delivery. I know he hasn’t played a lot at Watford, but whenever he came on as a sub, he created something. A through ball, a distance shot, a cross. He has a rare talent and we lack good wingers, so the options are few and far between.”

Note Jan: It’s all about team. Not the individuals. Messi never won a big trophy with Argentina. And even C Ronaldo was not present in the finals of the Euro vs France. It’s the team. If the mentality and tactics work, and we can add the special qualities of Sneijder and/or Robben, we can play a role at any stage.
IV: chaos at the Dutch football Federation

Advocaat’s return to the KNVB has a good effect. We see it more often: a seasoned assistant supporting an inexperienced coach (Spijkerman > De Boer; Brood > Cocu; Wouters > Van Bronckhorst). But suddenly, in August the serial club hopper says goodbye to the NT. The “challenge” (paycheck?) in Istanbul can’t be ignored. Blind and the new TD Hans van Breukelen are dumbfounded and unpleasantly surprised when Advocaat books a ticket to Turkey.

What develops in Zeist in the weeks after seems to be written by the Monty Python team. New director Van Breukelen fights a public bitch fight with Ruud Gullit, who doesn’t want to work with Van Breukelen as he is “untrustworthy”. General Manager Van Oostveen also takes a hike and the chaos is complete. Popular team manager Hans Jorritsma is forced to retire, without the consent of Danny Blind. When Marco van Basten is lured away by FIFA, the chaos is complete. To Van Basten’s credit: he stays with Blind until he has found a new assistant in former Ajax goalie Fred Grim.

Blind is eind september maar al te blij dat hij met Frans Hoek (opvolger van Arno van Zwam) en Fred Grim twee assistenten heeft die hem wel trouw blijven. Dat zij allebei keepers zijn, vindt de bondscoach geen probleem. 'Met Grim en Hoek moeten we de nul wel kunnen houden.'

Blind adds Van der Hoek to the staff as well, two assistants who will remain loyal, Blind expects. The criticism that he now has two ex goalies as assistants and an ex goalie as his boss is laughed off by the legendary Ajax skipper: “at least we won’t be conceding too many goals!”

Note Jan: Since this debacle, the consultancy team brought in by Hans van Breukelen has been exposed as a bunch of frauds and the KNVB chair has acted on that by cancelling all their contributions to the Dutch Federation. The very media focused Van Breukelen has been quiet and the next discussion centered around the football development approach, with Van Breukelen’s “mental angle” directly opposing Wim Jansen’s (and others) “skill angle”.

V: Pressure on position Danny Blind

At the press conference prior to the Greece friendly and the key WC qualification game vs Sweden, Blind has to respond profusely on the KNVB chaos. The exit of Van Oostveen, he calls “bad timing” and he hopes the run to the exit doors of his staff will end soon. He also tells the media he received a lucrative offer from Asia. The only man who is loyal to Oranje feels the noose around his neck when a sloppy Oranje loses the friendly vs Greece. If Oranje loses vs Sweden, Blind will be out, the media claim.

The results aren’t too good and after Blind took over from Hiddink it also doesn’t seem that the football is improving. After a failed experiment with 5-3-2 vs France, Blind falls back on the traditional 4-3-3 but dictating a match is not on the cards. Eyebrows are frowned also when he picks a young talent from the Eredivisie over a big name abroad or when he decides to fall back on a benchwarmer. Blind refuses to resign should Oranje lose vs Sweden.
Danny Blind kreeg een belletje uit het Verre Oosten. De bondscoach ziet er de humor wel van in. 'Daar zijn clubs nog weleens geïnteresseerd in Europese trainers. De Nederlandse trainers liggen blijkbaar goed in de markt, dus er is nog hoop voor mij.'

Note Jan: Blind is still being criticised by the consensus in Holland is, that with the material we currently have for the NT, any coach would be in trouble. Yes Blind is inexperienced, and yes he may have made mistakes, but is there a guarantee someone else would have done better?
VI: No Justice in Sweden 

Oranje returns home from Sweden, chin up and chest out. It played a decent game, got a draw and should have had the three points. In the second half, Oranje played it’s best half of 2016. Sneijder corrected a rare mistake by Strootman but Klaassen and Dost fail to bring Oranje the full loot. Blind: “We should have won 1-3 or 1-4. We created enough but lacked the sharpness.” And when Dost does find the net late in the game, it’s the referee who spoils the fun, believing Dost fouled his opponent.
Oranje feels aggrieved with this decision but has luck that France draws 0-0 vs Belarus. But Blind isn’t sure what it means for his future. “What will this mean for me? I have no clue”, he quips. The team manager has reasons to complain about his lack of fortune. He inherited a team lacking confidence, and lacking results. He also had to deal with a continuous flow of injuries amongst key players.

Bas Dost lijkt Oranje tijdens de WK-kwalificatiestart in een rol als stormram aan een verdiende zege te helpen, maar hij zou tegenstander Victor Lindelöf hebben geduwd. 'Daar zat de scheidsrechter ons inderdaad in de weg', zegt Blind na afloop. 'Dat was een ongelooflijke fout van hem.'

Bas Dost scores the winner as the pinchhitter vs Sweden, but the ref claims he pushed Lindelof in the process. Blind: “Here it was the referee stopping us from scoring. This was a bad mistake.”
VII: Arjen Robben, eternal problem child

Of all the injured absentees, Arjen Robben is missed most. Every time Blind announces his squad, prelim or otherwise, Robben is the topic for the media. And when he returns to the fold in Munich, in October, Robben even becomes a hot topic. The team manager puts his trust in Bayern coach Ancelotti (“A good guy, he’ll do the right thing”) but he only sees his skipper return a month later, vs Luxembourg. The world class player scores immediately but leaves the pitch after one half.

There is no criticism on the KNVB coming from Munich anymore. This was different in the past, when Robben forced himself for Oranje, but Bayern had to deal with an injured winger. In 2016, it’s Roma that is aggrieved. AS Roma coach Spalletti claims that Strootman was butchered by the NT. A day later, Blind hits back. “We are conscientious with our conduct. We are responsible people.” Spalletti confirms later, grudgingly, that Blind is correct.

Arjen Robben verschijnt op 13 november voor het eerst sinds een jaar aan de aftrap bij Oranje. Waar de 32-jarige aanvaller zijn rentree in november 2015 nog opluistert met twee goals tegen Wales, scoort de sterspeler nu één keer. Na rust keert Robben door een lichte blessure niet terug.

Note Jan: Robben, when fit, will play for Bayern as Ancelotti adores the winger. And he’s still super good.

VIII: new stars shine

Blind is correct more often. In the run up to the Belarus and France qualifiers, the NT manager has to explain again why he keeps on selecting Quincy Promes, who seems to be struggling in Oranje. The coach: “I see him play every week for the full 90 minutes and he is one of the key players every week. Clearly you don’t watch him. The lad is really good.” Days later, Promes repays the trust by scoring two international goals vs Belarus.

It’s the new generation that pull their weight in 2016 in Oranje. Van Dijk is a rock at the back. Janssen is important with four goals in 10 games and is Rick Karsdorp with his strong performances vs Belarus and France the best candidate for the right back position. Blind allows eight debutants to wear the orange and when he recalls Memphis in November as a result of more injuries, it is the former PSV winger who decides the Luxembourg game.

Quincy Promes steelt de show als Oranje voor het eerst in tweeënhalf jaar weer eens in De Kuip speelt. In zijn vijftiende interland vindt de aanvaller van Spartak Moskou eindelijk het net. Oranje boekt daardoor de eerste zege richting het WK in Rusland.Quiny Promes is the man when Oranje plays in De Kuip . In his 15th international game, the Spartak Moscow forward finally scores twice. The first victory for Oranje on the road to Russia.

Note Jan: Promes is returning to full fitness. De Vrij is returning to full fitness. Berghuis is playing better and better, Wijnaldum is improving, Ake is back at Chelsea… With a more 3-4-3 approach (with Karsdorp on the right and Willems/Van Aanholt on the left), we might be able to utilise the special qualities of Robben/Promes/Memphis up front, Chelsea style…

IX: Goal keeper musical chairs

One spot in the team which symbolises the changes in Oranje 2016: the goalie. Cillesen starts the year as the regular starter but after his transfer to Barcelona, he currently is third choice. He loses his place in September vs Greece to Jeroen Zoet, who also was between the sticks vs England and Austria. Blind: “This doesn’t mean that Zoet is my first choice for the WC campaign.”

And so it is. A month later vs Belarus is Maarten Stekelenburg the number one in goal. The 34 year old Everton goalie “makes a better impression”. But Blind also confirms it was a tough choice to make. Naturally, Blind cops criticism for this choice. What if Stekelenburg screws up? And that is exactly what happens. The experienced goalie misjudges a stoppable attempt from Paul Pogba, from distance. “Maarten should stop that shot, and he knows it,” says Blind. Who also says he doesn’t regret making the choice.

Maarten Stekelenburg ligt verslagen op de grond als Paul Pogba hem na een half uur verrast met een poeier van de afstand. Oranje komt die klap niet meer te boven tegen de Fransen, die eigenlijk oppermachtig zijn in De Arena en maar zelden het idee geven dat er iets te halen valt.Stekelenburg defeated by Pogba. Oranje wouldn’t be able to turn it around, although Memphis does try late in the game with an audacious turn in the box.

Note JR: Cillesen is not making a big impression, Stekelenburg is back on the bench, Krul just started playing, Vermeer is not 100% match fit…as it stands now, Jeroen Zoet is the only logical candidate for Oranje.

X: Arena cursed for Oranje
Stekelenburg’s mistake causes Oranje’s defeat vs France. The mighty French are the fifth to win in the Arena on the trot. The stadium seems cursed for Oranje. A month later, Belgium is the guest in a friendly and could make the series six in a row. The Red Devils are better than Holland and get close to a win, after Klaassen’s opening goal and Carrasco’s late equalizer.The debate re: Oranje’s safe haven and home is further fueled when Oranje for the first time in 860 days plays in Rotterdam. The atmospheric football temple is the ground where Oranje has an emphatic win over Belarus. The first home win in 1,5 years. This says as much about Oranje as it does about the Arena. In 2017, Oranje starts as the number 22 on the FIFA ranking, just behind Iceland (!) and just in front of Ireland (!). There is much more going on than a mere stadium curse and the WC is definitely not in reach yet.

Davy Klaassen zet Nederland in de Derby der Lage Landen op 1-0 uit een strafschop, maar België is in het restant van de wedstrijd de baas. Het oefenduel in De Arena maakt ondanks de uitslag eens te meer duidelijk dat Oranje niet langer tot de mondiale top behoort.

Note JR: Like all the international players and football experts, I believe the vibe in a venue and the quality of the pitch should be leading. If the players feel most at home in De Kuip, play there. Screw the sponsors.

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  1. actually, Cillessen is quite good in his last game vs Atletico. particulary in first half when Barca was forced to defend in most part of the half. I also read in one forum of Barcelona, their fans are starting to like him.

    let’s hope that Luis Enrique also keeps playing him in Champions League games.

    1. true ..though he cannot stop penaltys….he is a decent keeper in regular time…Remmeber He and Vermeer kicked out
      stekelenberg from Ajax first team..Blind took stekelen vs France..

      1. on his last year as Ajax player, Stekelenburg is player of the year (end of 2010/11).

        Cillessen came 3 weeks after Stek left for Roma.

        conclusion: bullshit.

        1. i thought Cillssen was third choice that point of time,couldnt remmebr properly as i strongly remmeber Vermeer gets the nod over Stekelenberg…under Vanbasten i think,Stekelenberg was not the first choice anymore for Ajax when he left..
          Memory can be erased,but not for ever…

          1. No, de Boer was in charge not van Basten.. and Verhoeven played 2 matches before Vermeer played the last 6…

            conclusion: Tiju makes things up rather than simply checking himself

  2. Nice recap Jan.
    For me the two most exciting things of 2016 were:
    1. Virgil Van Dijk developing into an absolute stud
    2. Janssen looking like the striker of the future for NT.

    Obviously there is some doubt over #2 since his move to Tottenham but I still believe in him and I can’t remember a bad performance from him for Oranje.

    I’m also excited that a core group of players who are automatic selections are starting to emerge (Van Dijk, De Vrij, Karsdorp, Promes, Wijnaldum, Strootman, and obviously Sneijder and Robben). Very few questions left to be answered, mainly GK, LB, and striker. I think the team will really benefit from consistent selection and will definitely qualify for the World Cup.

  3. Watched Zivkovic for Utrecht vs Heerenveen. Missed two sitters. Wondering if Tiju still believes he should be replacing Memphis in the NT?

    Goes to show: good talents in the Eredivisie popping up with some nice moves, doesn’t mean too much.

    Tiju as NT manager would be interesting. 11 new players every game.

          1. I’m on it. Danny co-authors my posts so easily done.

            Willems is better goal scorer than Luuk de Jong and Klaassen. The stats prove this. Right?

    1. Every one misses chances,thats part of game.but when you will have gut feeling that this guy cannot finish anymore..or this guy is not great finisher..Zivkovic doesnt give me that feeling.Memphis also doesnt give me that feeling.I did had such kind of feeling with Dost,kuyt,Luuk(partially)..But i never doubted their intelligence and Air dominence.
      I dont like Memphis due to helacks the pace to suceed as top layer winger,His work rate is pathetic,He is a block in final third to have a fluid game..Technically promes might be a lesser player than Depay,But promes involves in game..He works his butt off and hence contributing to team..

      1. You are truly talking out of your arse. Memphis was top scorer for PSV in the Eredivisie and has scored at World Cup, EPL, CL and EL. Now in La Liga as well.

        Zivkovic scored at Groningen, WIllem 2 and now Utrecht, occasionally.

        No comparison.

        We know you don’t like Memphis. We get it.

          1. Van Ginkel is great. No one criticises him. He’s a Chelsea player. That says enough.

            Zivcovic was sent away by Ajax and Willem 2 and is fighting to restore his position. And he’s ok, but nowhere NEAR NT material at this stage.

            Messi scores a lot of goals too, I believe. This statement is as relevant as your Van Ginkel comment.

    1. Lens to me, i rate him over Narsingh but don’t really know what exactly happening be-hide the scene with him recent year, i hope that he can get back his form & level like when he played for AZ & PSV

      1. we need pace upfront,Lenz has it Roben has it.i mean qulaity and pace together..But Both are not playing Nt regularly for some how reasons..So we are struggling when they are absent..
        There is no one to receive and difesne splitting pass from Sneider or Clasie..
        To finish the move we have Janssen..but wings are futile..

    1. Sorry Ronald Koeman..if So ..Leory Fer should be our no1 striker…what Lukaku can do Fer will do..Fer is goal scorere when you are/team struggling to find a goal.
      Fer was little unluck that he plays as Holding or runner spot..

  4. Not sure what clip was that re: Zivcovic… Was it the one where Barazite laid it off? I like Barazite. You all know he was developed at Arsenal right?

    Once a huge talent. Ziv missed two real chances, not counting this one.

    As for wingers with pace, we do have them for sure. Elia, Promes, the problem is that against weaker teams there is no space for them, only for upcoming full backs who use the element of surprise. Against stronger teams we have issues retaining the ball and waiting for the right moment.

    1. Promes is a contributor,if he fails in offense he contributes in defense…He is okay ..Elia is inconsistant..At times he shows something…
      All i think about Zivkovic is that Bazoer,Sneijder,Strooman and Klassen,Blind can give killer pass towrads goal,but u need a pacy winger to catch that to make max utilisation of that..if promes can do i am okay.i know Roben does it,Lenz does it.But who else??this is wherre we need Zivkovic/a Pacy winger..
      Blind has Antonyy martial and Rashford for that.
      Snijder had eletrci Smaual Eto with him at his prime,then in Nt he had Roben..
      I am sure Williams can do that,i like his first touch,Defender is foraced to foul him always or else Williams will run away with ball,will end up in pinpoint pass or cross…that makes williams deadly..

  5. Blind started for United and was really good in the first half, but beaten by Niang a couple times later in the second half, although did not affect their clean sheet 2-0 win. Janmaat on the bench for Watford but came on for the second half and played LW, missed a big chance to tie it up, was eventually moved back to RB – too bad, would’ve done much better v Martial than poor Cathcart imo. Materazzi reminding himself (and showing Tiju) why not to play multiple players out of positions! 😉
    De Roon played 90 in a 0-0 draw with Everton, Steks was on the bench.
    Pieters and Martins Indi (first half header cleared off the line) had a 1-0 home win, Afellay came on the bench, versus van Aanholt and Palace.
    Obvs no van Dijk for Southampton, but Clasie left out as well – is he hurt?

    Robben rested ahead of CL, but played the last 15 and scored a second 90 min goal in a late 2-0 win v Ingolstadt.

    Memphis came on from the bench for Lyon, but could not help them get an equalizer v Guingamp.

    Lens played for Fenerbahce in a 1-1 draw, but van Persie was suspended for bad behaviour after last match.

    PS Wijnaldum is having a brilliant match v Spurs rn..

  6. Jens toornstra getting a rare start in the midfield ahead of kuijt and guess what. He scores.
    HT Feyenoord 1-0 Groningen. Second of my players who should be starting in NT.7 goals and 8 assists for him now.

        1. Well it goes to prove the critics wrong after being benched by GVB. Today’s performance will definitely give GVB something to think about.his last outing for NT was under Van Gaal in the Asian tour.

          Also I think Feyenoord will win the eredivisie this year. They have a very good depth in the team which is always a key component and I don’t think they will drop points with teams apart from Ajax and PSV if any,or maybe Heerenveen.

          1. Well the ball is in their court and its all up to GVB now as whats in the best interest of the team. injuries could well be a hindering factor if any from now.

  7. Another two goals for Tom Boere of FC Oss over the weekend. 26 goals now for the season. Amazingly his conversion rate has had a very little effect on the teams overall standing.

  8. Kevin Diks gets his first start for Vitesse.

    Buttner still deemed not fit for First team. Will again feature Vitesse 11 and clock minutes to get back in shape.

  9. Wijnaldum starts for Liverpool as usual, and also as usual Janssen was on Spurs bench.
    Wijnaldum was great, nice vision even for the through ball assist on the Mane opening goal.
    Perfect on tackles, loads of recoveries, and 32/36 on passing. I think his comfort and confidence, esp under Klopp, gives him a spring that results in more creativity than usual too, with some nice little plays in the midfield against a top side. Really good form atm, hope it runs through into March and Blind and Oranje can capitalize on it too.
    Janssen got 10 mins, I dont think he touched the ball..

    Huntelaar back on the bench for Shalke!
    made an appearance in injury time – will he be a starter again? He hadn’t started the last 3 Shalke league games having only scored 1 league goal this season before he was injured.

    For Lille, El Ghazi started again and played 80 mins, and Kishna was on the bench and played the last 30. Neither able to create much.
    They lost 1-2 to Angers.

    1. Once again when it comes to NT,Its a totally different story.if you look at the liverpool formation, alot of Wijnaldum work is cut out by coutinho who operates and covers that left central wing area as he always cuts in from that left flank. This further gives him time to go back and forth and this is where his running game and finding spaces has being quiet effective especially when inside the box.

      Now if you look at what happens to Coutinho when he is playing for Brazil, he doesnt have the same luxury of doing things and playing the same style like at Liverpool jus because of players around and in the end it overall affects his performance.this is something thats being happening to Wijnaldum when in NT. Increase workload in his case and hence it affects his performance contray to what’s he does at Liverpool.

      I think danny to his partially to be blamed for this as he has been deploying Wijnaldum out of position and concentrating more on klaassen.

      1. I agree only that Wijnaldum is not always as good for us as he was today for Liverpool.

        Blind has also played Klaassen out of position (assuming that you are meaning out of position that he plays with his club, and not some other weird alternate definition than English again).. responsible players have this happen to them sometimes.

        I believe Wijnaldum has played mostly as a box to box CM for us, not that unlike what he does at Liverpool, with maybe a few games in a more advanced role and a game as a DM, no?
        I don’t see how Blind has concentrated more on Klaassen.

        So do you want Blind to take on Klopp’s style or Conte’s? 😉

        1. ” Really good form atm, hope it runs through into March and Blind and Oranje can capitalize on it too” by playing him where BTB? He will only end up doing what he has being doing so far for NT. May be average or above average performance given the quality of opponent. But given will he be able to replicate his current liverpool form in NT.I doubt and a big question mark especially if Danny deploys him at BTB.

          As I said the players around him at Liverpool has a huge effect on how he plays and the form he is now .come NT there are players who restrict this ( sneijder)and he ends operating within closed proximity which can’t bring the best out if him either.

          lm not saying he can’t play at BTB but eventually you have to accept the changes it will bring to the overall performance.

          1. Haha again you turned my update comment on Wijnaldum, Janssen, Huntelaar, El Ghazi, Kishna, to more rambling rants on Klaassen and Blind – as if they have anything to do with me.
            great work!

            I didn’t ask any question about Klaassen.
            There is no question for me, Danny Blind does not concentrate on Klaassen more than Wijnaldum. That is shit.

            Stop making things up.

          2. My bad, yes there was no question but you did mention ” I don’t see how Blind has concentrated more on Klaassen”

            Prior to that you also said “Blind has also played Klaassen out of position ….” Why?

            This was basically it.

            Danny has tried his best to put Klaassen into positions where he can gets goals jus like he does at Ajax. He switched him to CM,LW,RW so that he finds those pocket spaces from where he is good at scoring jus like at Ajax

            For me that is concentrating simply because he hasn’t done that to any other player.

          3. No sorry, not fact – what if I remind you Wijnaldum has started in 3 different positions for our NT as well, and has played more — plus Blind has even made an example of him in the media.

            Your Klaassen favouritism story which I do not. believe still has nothing to do with Wijnaldum, Janssen, Huntelaar, El Ghazi, Kishna playing today!

            You go on at length bringing up Klaassen and your pointless assumptions of Danny Blind’s preferences.. don’t make me look up the definition of rant for you.

          4. Was Wijnaldum playing at Liverpool when he played at 3 different positions in NT.this jus sucks. When wijnaldum was at Newcastle he played a number of position and in different positions. In NT only during injuries was he shifted around other wise it was a midfield of Sneijder,him and Strootman.

            You know what I did put exception of wijnaldum in my above post, but then I deleted it knowing that danny publicly apppolized for starting him out of position.


            Did danny also apolozie to klaassen for playing him out of position. no,there was a motive behind that.

          5. Pliz don’t say it was because of the injuries that Danny deployed him in all those different positions.

          6. and he keeps going with his rant! hahaha

            buddy, you are simply wrong with this rant on Klaassen so just stop.
            I really dont care what motivations you are guessing about, or what stories you can make up..

            When you see that Tiju turns someones comments on some player into being a tangent about some memphis-bashing fantasy rant, do you think “great work Tiju – I should try this with Klaassen and Blind!”???

  10. Gini Wijnaldum, and Daley Blind both played for Top clubs in England..Though Wijnaldum is an automatic starter blind is not…Blind did play well but terribly exposed for Pace,but he didnt get punished,Physical Pogba and usainbolt Martial was at help for him always,when ever Blind stayed up front Pogba covered that side..But attacking wise that side was really hell for opponents,there was some top class movements from that side.
    Then Wijnaldum case ,Wijnaldum delivers you better when he is offered freedom to go up…In NT He is instructed to protect the back line…Under klopp he feels more free..thats the difference i think.
    Is it the high time to go the Conte formula 343??

  11. Watched Ajax hosting lowly Sparta today, Ajax needing lots of goals as well as full points to keep up with Feyenoord.
    Traore scored on his return, just before half time. An okay move but pretty weak from a defensive standpoint, with the shot going through a defender and wrong footing the keeper after a corner kick play… was just Ajax’ second shot on target after 75% of the possession in the first half.
    I thought Veltman looked pretty good at RB, great defensive #s and some nice forward moves as well, albeit v a low eredivisie team but it’s always good when players play well.
    Good setup from Ziyech for Dolbergs early second half goal after a turnover..
    Again total Ajax domination in the second half, but probably not translating into as many chances as they’d have liked. Not the most effective type of game for Klaassen, not his usual spark. imo he is better when there is more of a midfield battle than having to break down a stubborn opponent.
    Nice to see Riedewald get some time, coming in for Singkraven, but then goes to CB and Viergever.
    Also cool to see Kluivert continue to get opportunities – not to mention 5 mins for Frenkie de Jong! I thought Riedewald and de Jong both showed their quality and I’d love to see them get more playing time – though I wouldn’t expect Bosz will change much to his starting lineup since they keep winning.
    2-0 today, with 2 big misses could have been a deserved 4-0 win too..

    I see AZ beat Heerenveen 1-2 at home to jump back over them in the standings into 3rd.
    AZ welcoming Haps and Weghorst back..
    Seems as though Heerenveen really miss their captain Schaars in the DM, but maybe their results will improve now that van Aken and St Juste have shrugged off their injuries and get their CB partnership back to full strength.
    PS – Jan, I see St Juste was 6/9 on areal duels, so that’s an improvement and lots of interceptions.. Unfortunately had a yellow then a straight red in injury time.. anyone see what for?

    Ake stayed on the bench for Chelsea.

    Bazoer started in DM again for Wolfsburg, Bruma left out. Wanted to watch the second half, but Bazoer had been tactically subbed off…:/
    And is Bruma injured too?

    1. Bruma is sitting in bench for last games at least 2..He is not injured..
      Bazoer is Top quality ,so its just matter of time and hardwork..
      Klassen???i see Klassen runs in to the space..But Apart from that he doesnt look like a winner..
      St Juste is just good as Daley Blind,both has limts in height..i see St juste as DM more..
      Veltman is trying to attack with his maximum skills..it worked little against top team..But Not a match for top class RB of modern era..

      1. Wrong, Bruma did not play because he was suspended for yellow accumulation.
        The cup match v Bayern midweek was the first and only time he was on the bench so far this season.

        Is anything you say true?

        On Wednesday you said if Bazoer gets one or 2 chances he will grab it, but today he just needs time and hard work?
        Unfortunately for him, they were losing when he went off and turned it around to win without him

        1. including last game Bruma sat in bench for last 2 games …whether its red card or yellow card i dont know…
          Bazoer cannt sit alone and expect goodthings to happen…He has to work hard,He has the goods ,he will be back…Bazoer is already grabbed it,that you will see in coming days..

          1. Sorry, but no – if you are suspended you do not sit on the bench!

            And spare us your childish name calling.

  12. Somehow missed that Sneijder left a match last week with a thigh strain after 6 minutes, no word yet on how long he will be out.. today I notice Galatasaray fans lamenting his absence, saying they are missing the brain of the team and are crippled without him.

  13. PSV v Utrecht
    PSV lucky not to be down 0-1 after a good Barazite goal ruled offside.
    Nice job from young RB Troupee keeping Willems quiet and off his left foot much of the match.
    Zivkovic was alright, got the better of Brenet a couple times early but then sort of disappeared. I wanted him to impress me more, and this is probably the kind of game he needs to show his best in but iirc he has only scored on Twente or bottom feeder teams.
    van Ginkel good penetrating runs, and again Propper seems to be much improved over his first half of the season.
    Bergwijn in for the second half over Pereira – turns out to be a pretty good sub for Cocu as PSV would take over. Luuk de Jongs weak header from a Propper header finds the goal after a good Bergwijn move went out for that corner and then Bergwijn with a nice goal from a good de Jong cross, even though maybe the keeper wants it back.. Great for the youngster though!
    Hendrix in on the LW for Ramselaar seemed strange to me, see him has more of a DM.
    I assume noticed because corrected with the Zinchenko sub.. This season Hendrix has not seemed very effective in an advanced role to me. Hope to see him play more anyway.
    My link failed right at the end so I missed van Ginkels goal in injury time 🙁 – 3-0 final for PSV, pretty convincing in the end!

    Interesting stat – only Ziyech has more assists in the eredivisie than Luuk de Jong since he returned going to PSV.

    1. From twitter @optajohan:
      5 – Davy Pröpper & Marco van Ginkel are the only players with a goal or assist in all 5 Eredivisie games in 2017. Harmony.

      Can these 2 be as effective for Oranje in front of Strootman?
      Maybe worth a try for Bulgaria.
      But lets see how the next month of games goes..

  14. Fer started for Swansea again for their 2-0 win v struggling Leicester. Did not watch but statistically Fer was very good as a right sided CM. Narsingh was used as a sub in injury time, van der Hoorn left out of the squad.

    Strootman playing away with Roma at Crotone, leading them with the most tackles, most interceptions, most ball recoveries, as well as most passes in the attacking third and 2 chances created! 👌

    Letschert had a 3rd minute red card for Sassuolo who went on to lose without him.

          1. Cool they must be reading my advice 😉

            but patience, because they have only 7 games together this season (2 clean sheets) because of de Vrij’s injury issues and Hoedt not starting consistently until recently, but now Hoedt’s 3rd start in a row, it’s good!
            Hope they keep it up 🙂
            But unfortunately for their partnership, lots of rumours all January have de Vrij leaving Lazio.

  15. Decent game today for de Vrij and Hoedt, with their 4th start in a row together.
    Strong start with both making good defensive plays, maybe de Vrij lucky not to get a hand ball in the box. Hoedt totally robbed with a great save around 30, then Milan cutting through very easy maybe with the concentration down a bit.. Lazio get a pen and end the half 1-0. Milan took a bit more possession and improve a little in the second half, but still unable to do much until the last 5/10 mins. Suso able to run into the middle and score, Hoedt just a bit late to close him down but was a nice move. Up to then Milan able to create 0 big chances, and only manage to put 1 shot on the Lazio goal.
    Lazio should feel left down with the draw, they are left in 6th when they could have moved to 4th.
    Still, some positives: Hoedt had the most tackles, de Vrij had the most interceptions. Hoedt 41/44 on passing and 2 chances created, de Vrij 37/48, not his usual accuracy.. both clearly instructed to pass the ball long and across Milan who were keeping a high line, with decent effect.

    I saw the article in VI (shared above on a different subject) where the writer loosely suggests Blind has been ignoring this partnership – but even though a good argument is that they will play together at club level, they really haven’t much (yet) thanks to de Vrij again having injury problems and Hoedt not always being preferred.
    At the last international break, they had only played together 3 times this season.

    Anyway, here is their record together up to now:
    8 games played, 9 goals against and 2 clean sheets
    5 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss

    So a good partnership brewing, the more time the better. I appreciate that both like to play the ball on the floor into the middle and through the lines when they can.

    1. Would have really like to see them with Bacca,Bonaventura up front for Milan. Either way if both de Vrij and Hoedt play together till march,I don’t see why both souldnt be starting vs Bulguria. I’m not sure of Bruma though. His form at Wolfburg.

  16. Danny Should lock the defense selection with
    Kevin diks VS karsdorp Vs Tete Vs Janmaat for RB
    Bruma Vs Devrij Vs Mensah for RCB

    Virgil Vs Mensah Vs Blind for LCB

    kongolo Vs Haps Vs Mensah for LB
    Annholt and williams must be promoted to LW..

    1. i think this is the high time to use 343 like Conte..As our star players are defenders now..
      ——-Bruma—–De Vrij–Kongolo—–
      Stand bye
      St juste

      1. Yes, it is 2016. Total football is not new. Everyone is playing total football. We need to invent new system to be on top of the world.

        Let have all players start at RB/LB and then promote them if they do well. My 2nd cents:

        RB/LB -> CB (Chief of Back) -> CM (Chief of Midfield) -> CF (Chief of Forward) -> GK (General Keeper)

        What do you think?

    1. Classical Robben goal. This remind me of his goal against Fiorentina in CL a few years ago. He played a good game today. I watched the second half. Bayern is so much better than Arsenal. They absolutely dominate the match with 75% possession.

      1. You got it! Bayern is that much better than arsenal. And Robben really does get better with age, and that’s good for the National team at the moment:) he could always play the full 90 minutes, but it’s Bayern taking precautions for one of their best players… If not, the best.

  17. Robben is back!!!. I read not long ago many people saying Robben is too old, he wouldn’t come back from injury into Bayern’s XI again because they had Costa, Ribery, Lewandowski, Müller.

    I’ve always considered Robben being as good as Ronaldo or Messi (or even better).

    Tonight’s goal was fantastic, a real beauty. 🙂

    1. The workload at Bayern is low though when compared to When he is playing for NT and this is where he can be vunerable to injuries.also Bayern do have quality and depth on the bench so it doesn’t really matter whom they play.over his past injuries they have never looked like feeing his absences but at NT level it always a factor when he is not playing.

  18. Yea Robben was very good, against a pretty naive and jaded Arsenal side.
    Robben almost had another too but was robbed by Gibbs hand, also instrumental in the second goal.
    Great stuff for him – has just signed a 1 year extension to stay in Munich too, by the way!

  19. AZ is up against Depay and Lyon in Europa league .this are games you would expect Depay to have his scoring boots on. Also good game to gauge Haps especially with lyons start started forwards,Lacazette,Valbuena,Depavalbuena is injured I think.should be a good game

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