Impact van Gaal on Oranje

If all goes well, we only have one more month to wait before we can celebrate our WC ticket for 2022.

NT manager Louis van Gaal worked his magic. As he always says of himself: I am direct and I only speak the truth. Although, he also said he lacked wingers. Danjuma and Noa Lang: “Hold my beer!”.

Lets look at some LVG changes, per line.


Only 30 minutes after Bijlow’s key save in the dying minutes vs Latvia, Van Gaal proclaimed: “The goalie situation is still an open question.” And in the same sentence, he hailed he absent Jasper Cillesen, who seems to be back in the starting line up at Valencia.

Mark Flekken’s sudden entry into the squad (and Drommel’s subsequent banishment to the stands) clearly shows that Van Gaal is stirring the pot. Bijlow has played 5 steady internationals for us, but next month we will get more clarity whom Van Gaal picks as his goalie for the time to come.


Van Gaal spent a lot of time talking to Mathijs de Ligt, during practices. Sitting on the dug out bench, which is symbolical and fitting, as the Juve defender has to accept a benchwarming position. This happened to him at Juventus too, at the start of the season. He did make an impression on Van Gaal: “Mathijs is returning from the darkness. He is clearly getting to the point where I can assess him as a first team player. But he has an extraordinary rival in De Vrij who was my Man of the Match twice now.”

In his ideal system, Van Gaal would play three central defenders. Louis prefers the 5-3-2 but his players asked for 4-3-3. Van Gaal might tweak it once we secured our ticket. He will have time in the coming calendar year to try out new things. Should we fail to qualify, the time to experiment is way less. Louis expects the central defenders to play an active part in the build up. Versus Latvia, Van Dijk and De Vrij played the ball square a walloping 73 times! That is a record for 230 international games! While Van Gaal’s principle is: first ball deep. De Vrij did demonstrate his cross pass just like Van Dijk can. Daley Blind is a a player with the vision and passing skill to accelerate the game and since Pat van Aanholt and Owen Wijndal have not secured a spot under the former Man United coach, it’s Malacia who is Blind’s understudy.


Davy Klaassen was in the sticks for 3 years and made his return to the NT under Frank de Boer. But he didn’t get a second of playing time at the Euros. With Louis, Klaassen is a key player. Van Gaal wants to play with two “number 10s” to further support Memphis. And Klaassen ticks all the boxes: he has forward thrust, legs and lungs of a horse, a nose for the position and he can score a goal. And just like colleague Wijnaldum, Klaassen has a good sharp radar for the turn around. He can play all roles in midfield, including the holding position. Against Latvia, he scored and made a crucial goal saving block.

Marten de Roon seems to be the big loser. The Atalanta midfielder was first choice, mostly under Koeman and also under De Boer. He played a mere 17 minutes under Van Gaal. Teun Koopmeiners has passed the former Sparta player in the hierarchy, as De Roon had to take to the stands against Gibraltar.

Frenkie is the only controlling mid now and Van Gaal was highly critical on the Barca player. “The coach wants me to play in the Busquets role but he doesn’t want me to drift too much. As a central mid, you need to always protect the axes. Should I dribble now, I will leave a huge gap. The coach wants me to pass the ball quicker and not be too much of a post delivery man.” Van Gaal: “Frenkie plays on the position where I played and you really don’t need to run much on that position. I also think he can improve his game, someone with that talent needs to have a higher yield.”


From the start, Van Gaal lamented the lack of real wingers, so he couldn’t play his beloved 4-3-3. Since Robben retired, the coaches used 17 (!) players on the wings up front. “It’s not that we don’t develop right wingers, but the difference is the way we play today, with players and their contra foot on the wing. In my time, I had Roy or Overmars on the left and Van ‘t Schip or Finidi on the right. Today, we use the wingback to fly past and cross the ball in,” said Van Gaal.

He also points to the development trends in football. “We play 4-3-3 in Holland so we do develop wingers, but in some countries, the wingers are players who dribble inside and go for goal. In Holland, when players turn 16 years old, that is when we start introducing other systems.” Van Gaal only considers Berghuis as a real right winger. Bergwijn told the coach he doesn’t want to play there. Gakpo and Malen have not impressed on that flank. Noa Lang told Van Gaal he could play there and was happy to play there but 10 minutes into the Latvia game, the cheeky Brugge player switched flanks with Gakpo.

Under De Boer, Oranje played with Memphis on the left flank and a real #9 as striker (Weghorst, Luuk de Jong). This has immediately been rectified by Van Gaal: Memphis is the central striker and Weghorst and De Jong are Plan B players. And how it worked. In 5 internationals under Van Gaal, Memphis scored 7 goals and had 4 assists. Van Gaal: “When I see the data and the stats of Memphis, wow… I never had a striker like him. The work rate, the miles he runs. He does so much work for the team, he is constantly on the prowl. He is amazing.”

Asked where Oranje now is, he said: “We don’t know. We don’t have really top nations in our group, so it’s unclear. Should we qualify this November, I can organise friendlies against top nations and then we will see. On paper our midfield is European Top but… are they really? We can only tell when confronting European Top and that will have to come, still.”

For now, the winners are Justin Bijlow, Stefan de Vrij, Cody Gakpo, Mark Flekken, Davy Klaassen.

Louis van Gaal is also a winner, for getting Danjuma and Lang as white elephants.

Losers: Mathijs de Ligt, Marten de Roon, Joel Drommel.

Re: the Euros squad: there will be a way back for Owen Wijndal, Donny van de Beek, Joel Veltman and Quincy Promes. I am not sure about Pat van Aanholt and Marco Bizot, while Maarten Stekelenburg already retired from international football (and is currently seriously injured anyway).

I’m quite happy with LvG’s choices up until now. All logical and thought-through. The only big omission for me, is Rick Karsdorp as right wing back but he will get in the squad if he keeps on playing like this for Roma.

Another positive trend that deserves mentioning is the corner kick, under Louis van Gaal.

We would have won vs Gibraltar without corners, of course. But we scored the first from a corner like we did against Latvia. This is remarkable, as the yield from corners in Oranje was typically very low before Van Gaal. We took 20 corners at the Euros and only 8 reached a Dutch player and only 2 ended up as a chance to score.

The only nations worse than us in corner kicks: Sweden, Hungary and Finland.

Against Turkey away, we even conceded two goals (!) from corner kicks. Our corner kicks!!!

Van Gaal started work on the dead ball situations immediately. During his first spell, when Covid was a serious member of the squad, he even practiced this inside, in a conference hall, with chairs, tables and without a ball!!

The first corner versus Latvia was a success. The coaches had seen that Latvia doesn’t really have an overload at the far post, so the plan was to have the air force go to the near post, attracting all the defenders, while Memphis would curl the ball towards Klaassen at the far upright: 0-1.

This is by now means a magical trick, but a very effective, simple way to use a corner.

Against Gibraltar, same story. But the Gibs used man marking, so Oranje executed it differently. This time, our four strongest headers were around the penalty spot and using De Vrij’s block, Virgil came in front of his man at the near post and had a tap in (with his head).

From the other side, similar concept. This time, it’s Dumfries attracking the attention, allowing De Vrij a clear header, which was blocked by an arm. Penalty. Missed by our top scorer for 2021, but hey… He would get another chance.

During Koeman’s reign, considered successful, Oranje scored 7 goals from a corner in 20 matches. Under De Boer, it’s 3 goals in 15 matches and under Van Gaal, 2 goals in 5.

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  1. LVG is a master tactician. And if the world was to forget what he did with the Ajax team of the mid 90s, he reminded us with the Oranje performance of 2014.

    But with genius also sometimes comes eccentricity. Like his insistence on calling the 4-3-3 formation, 1-4-3-3😊. Or the bizarre decision of calling up 4 goalies in a WCQ squad that has a few unanswered questions in other areas of the pitch. But then we are reminded that he sees the goalie as an extra man and is somewhat justified to pick out the best of the bunch. Notwithstanding the glaring absence of a World Cup semi-finalist goalie who just several months past was the undisputed #1. And however much LVG wants us to think there’s a raging competition for goalie, the position has been decided. Biljow is what we’ve seen and assessed. #1. The news conferences and name dropping of other prospects is just performative. Goalie decisions are rarely see-saws.

    The problem areas for the Dutch have always been the wings; both offensively and defensively. Only in the Dutch book of football will Berghuis be considered a “real winger”. In every other tradition, he is the antithesis of a true winger. Not quick enough, can’t really beat a man and doesn’t assist enough nor score. That “situation is still an open question” Demand answers Louis.

    Demand more of Blind in terms of his assists and chances created. If he seems physically incapable(which he clearly is) to put himself in such situation to produce the goods, move on. Nothing sorrier than seeing the wheels fall off a beloved player.

    Good decision on de Roon taking the stands against Gibraltar. That’s where he belongs. If your only contribution to a team that aspires to be as technical as Oranje is destroyer, you better be Gattuso. And he is not close. LVG should start entertaining younger, upcoming enforcers with some semblance of skills once we qualify.

    Cody Gakpo shouldn’t be given the benefit of the doubt,which Berghuis has enjoyed. Both Danjuma and Lang have shown more. May the best man win.

    1. Don’t forget that Van Gaal does everything he says and does on purpose. There is always a thought behind it. Calling up 4 goalies is also to demonstrate to the other players that no position is truly fixed for one player. Bijlow gets applause from the whole Dutch football world: Louis makes a gesture to say “He is not, he should not get comfortable!”.

      Drommel is too late for lunch: you go to the stands!

      Again, Louis making a point. Would he have done this with Virgil as well? I don’t think so.

      The 1-4-3-3 is Louis’ way of saying: You forget the keeper! The keeper is important!

  2. “Asked where Oranje now is, he said: “We don’t know. We don’t have really top nations in our group, so it’s unclear. Should we qualify this November, I can organise friendlies against top nations and then we will see. On paper our midfield is European Top but… are they really? We can only tell when confronting European Top and that will have to come, still.”

    Quiet true and also where the curtain will raise on some players with respect to their competency and deficiencies from a overall team perspective.

    Few talking points in the midfield. The lack of creativity or creative midfielder is still remains a question mark. Somebody with the cutting edge who can dictate the play from the middle. I see this as game changer and also critical to winning on big stage.

    Again there has been alot of talks about klaassen but I would still say he is the same klaassen which he has always been. when its gona get tough, high tempo, in high intensity games, thats when the dust will settle down as to how high he can raise the bar and not in soft schedules thus far making him standout in NT

    Even at Ajax, not in all games but in games where they are evenly matched you will find him to fade out to being average like vs Utrecht last week and vs Heerenveen yesterday.

    Its not that he has become better after returning to eredivisie. Like I said he is still the same klaassen. He thrives on free pockets spaces in the box and with good defensively backline I cant see him making the same impact like what he has been showing lately. Dortmund and Ajax is coming up mid week. Good game to anaylaze both him and Berghuis.

    Frenkie playing Busquet role is also a gamble which I feel Van Gaal is taking and again this could backfire vs big teams. I watched the Norway and Nerthlands game again and Norway really caught them out on that right hand side especially on counters because frenkie occasionally drifts on that side. He likes to Marshal along the upper and lower left quadrant drfiting not far from left to right. Once he gets caught high up the pitch on those quadrants, there is a big gap that opens up in the right central midfield area. The Norwegians really exploited this in that game with Timber also caught out upfront.

    This phase of play is also something to look out for vs big teams. Playing with two 10s is good but then you need a good CM who can protect the axis throughly as mentioned above not just on one side or stronger side.

    Another option which could be feasible would be to push Frenkie up and accomdate Koopmeiners at the base.

    1. Van Gaal doesn’t agree with your “creative midfielder” ideas. He wants the creativity and forward passing to come from deeper (Frenkie, Blind, De Vrij, Van Dijk) and he wants runners higher up in midfield to support Memphis who is playing like playmaker and striker in one.

      He wants Klaassen and Til or Wijnaldum and Klaassen in those roles as they do the work and can score goals and take the heat off Memphis.

      He won’t play Berghuis on 10 or Veerman on 10. At least, not for now.

  3. People have short memory under FDB we looked handy capped,he made us look so stupid to bring in luuk and Weghorst as tall striker starter spot,where Memphis excelled and carried us in his own shoulder…it is called epitome of stupidity to remove and place Memphis to left from striker spot…THE REAL STRIKER MEANS…. the striker can score from half chance not just standing 6 feet with immovable legs..Memphis is the real striker ,Malen is the real striker,not Weghorst or Luuk….
    i did enjoyed the arrival of lang and Danjuma…but what the hell????they played against gibralter and looked great…but gibralter who????STEVEN BERJWIN HAD stunning game vs Turkey….He made Depay free and this helped Depay..i hope LVG understand this and Play Berjwin as starter with Memphis…Danjuma and Gkapo can come as substitue.only question is who has more venom???Berghuis or Lang???i am confused….i mean who has the better ability break a hard opponent???Berjwin ,Malen,Memphis has it…Danjuma too have that knife on their boots..i doubt that with lang,berghuis,Gakpo…
    Two draws in next month will take us to WC…thats bare minmum…We cannot loose both match…Play off is hell fire…i hope swede kicks out boring Tikiki F@@$$@$k spain…

    1. Weghorst is not real a striker??? Are you ok.

      As much as its true bergwijn did make a difference upfront, the defense with the return of van dijk also was instrumental in keeping Yilmaz and Calhnoglu quiet.

      Bergwijn is not a clinical finisher but can score goals. His strength is only his speed. He cant manoeuvre himself in heavy traffic. He easily gets dispossessed. Being said this he can be a good impact player

      1. i like the strikers like Romario,Bebbeto,David villa,Depay,Van persie ..they score goals in Tons…while Weghorst ,luuk they need 10 chances to score 1 or two goals…My defnition for real striker is that they should be able to score at difficult times at highest level,ie champions league,World cup ,should be part of Top 4 in any Top 4 leaguse…weghorst or Luuuk is no were near that…
        Berjwin played stunning game against montengro as has nothing to do with Virgil van dijk…Berjwin works like kuyt,his skills on ball is also above average..He is a menace when combined with Depay…than Danjuma and lang..Tim krul was crap to concede vs yilmaz..Any other GK would have stopped 2 turkish goal at away game..

  4. Watched Ajax and Heerenveen. Though Ajax dominated the game and were superior on the day wining 2-0, heerenveen did put up a good fight.

    Veerman faded in and out of the game as Ajax dominated possession. Had few break downs and was always lively when on the ball. He started as attacking mid though. Again the argument of him being not able to cope with pressure at top level is just ridiculous. If you watch this game you will see how he had to ig deep given ajax dominated possession. He could fade out for one and two minites just running here and there and then with one touch and pass would open up the play catching ajax out.

    The highlight for me though was of Anthony Musaba who is on loan from Monaco at Heerenveen. Think he was also called up for JO. Good talent but still inexperienced. was a live wire on Blinds side and did cause havoc. Finishing wasnt there and let him down.

    Also watched lyon and Monaco. Watched because of boadu and must say feel sorry for him. He just keeps running trying to bring himself into the play. Once he gets the ball, the defenders bully him off the possession. Arieally was massacred by Denayer. Lyon won 2-0.
    Cant see him surviving there long unless he starts scoring which again looks high unlikely with the way its going

  5. @Wilson

    Re: The lack of creativity or creative midfielder is still remains a question mark.

    This is something I do worry about too. There is an over-reliance on FDJ and he hasn’t shown in the past(including the Euros and I daresay Barca) that he can deliver. And this is no fault of his, nor a knock on his game. I just feel that his plate is too full and he’s being asked to do more than he can handle rendering him ineffective against decent sides.

    As you said Norway had some joy with him being caught out of position. So would all the top teams. And this is no fault of his but the way the midfield has been so moulded around him. Charged with screening the back four and starting and being involved in every single attack is a lot.

    What we need is to find a way to integrate someone technical enough who can sit and maybe push FDJ higher(as you suggested) or vice versa.

    But FDJ’s workload not only makes the team predictable but at times, vulnerable. LVG is an excellent coach. I am sure he is aware of these things. His willingness to adapt and see that there other ways might be another question.

    1. “Re: The lack of creativity or creative midfielder is still remains a question mark.

      This is something I do worry about too. There is an over-reliance on FDJ and he hasn’t shown in the past(including the Euros and I daresay Barca) that he can deliver. And this is no fault of his, nor a knock on his game. I just feel that his plate is too full and he’s being asked to do more than he can handle rendering him ineffective against decent sides…[para.] Charged with screening the back four and starting and being involved in every single attack is a lot.”

      Couldn’t have said it better. Being deepest midfielder (the Busquets role) seems conflicting to him. He is caught between having to play deeper and more conservative or chance getting caught out if he plays to his instinct to drive forward, beat players off the dribble or with a pass, and cause an imbalance in the defense. Completely agree with you guys that he is better when he plays further up the field.

      LVG has mused about how the midfield will fare against the top sides. I imagine trying to get the best out of De Jong is part of LVG’s is thinking when he talks of trying out a new system. (After the Italy draw, De Jong commented that he felt freer playing with the extra CD behind him.) In that type of system, Wijnaldum can play next to him, and both are available to push forward, each one reading off the other to make sure there is cover. And lets suppose Malen ends up having a big year for Dortmund. Picking the attackers out of Depay (a given at the moment), Lang, Malen, Danjuma, Klaassen seems pretty exciting. But then there is the issue of width. Will Dumfries/Karsdorp on the right and Blind/Malacia??? be enough.

      Either way, they have to get the midfield sorted out. Maybe in a years time, Koopmeiners will be ready to be that partner, either in a 5-3-2, or a 4-3-3. I notice that he started in Atalanta’s most recent match.

      Lots to look forward to over the next year. (But need to qualify first.)

  6. Watched Bayern Munich vs Leverkusen. 5 goals in first half was pretty much how quick they sealed the deal. BL would wanna forget about this game and move on.just couldnt handle the bayern onslaught. Were simply to good in build up and link up was phenomenal. BL were though missing some of their key players who couldnt make it back after the south American WC qualifers especially in that Midfield.

    Frimpong again had a torrid time with Davies on his side. Not much he could either. Was often sucked in to cover the defense and as result Davies found a lot of space to work and cross. Was also an attacking outlet for BL on the right and once he got subbed, BL just had to park the last 15- 20 minutes.

    Bakker, this was a good game to look at at his progress. The score line may not tell the true picture but he did quiet well given he had Gnabry on his side. Was robust in his tackles, ariellay had some good interventions and ventured forward occasionally during BL attack. Again cant recall gnabry beating him on the outside but he didnt track gnabry inside runs which proved to be decsive. Not entirely his fault as it was 2 vs 1 in most linkups and the cMs also failed to provide coverup in these situation.

    My assessment on him. He has really improved if I have to compare him from his PSG outings. He looks more confident now and by the end of this season given he has become a regular starter will be knocking on that door come Nations league. Whether it opens or no is another story.

  7. Also watched Juventus and Roma. Was a good high tempo game. Roma lost 1-0 but dominated the game through out. Roma though missed a penalty and lost Zainoli to injury, other wise they were the better of the two sides.

    Karsdorp, as usual was marshalling up and down with Mourinho also instructing him from the sidelines what to do. It a shame though that he has been overlooked given the form that he is in. There is also a very important aspect to note about him at Roma. The set up in the midfield complements his style of play ( 4-2-3-1).He plays a very high line with Zainolo and when caught upfront, the midfielders are there to cover him up . This could becomme problem for him in NT given the current situation. I mean frenkie at 6. He will might have to balance his game to the meet the requisites of the team and would require consistent outings to get into rythym. This is why he should be Dumfries back up or vice versa and getting minutes.

  8. @ Jan

    “Van Gaal doesn’t agree with your “creative midfielder” ideas. He wants the creativity and forward passing to come from deeper (Frenkie, Blind, De Vrij, Van Dijk) and he wants runners higher up in midfield to support Memphis who is playing like playmaker and striker in one.

    He wants Klaassen and Til or Wijnaldum and Klaassen in those roles as they do the work and can score goals and take the heat off Memphis.”

    He won’t play Berghuis on 10 or Veerman on 10. At least, not for no”

    Van gaal may not agree with my ideas but what you are saying above we have all seen it under koeman and how the trajectory took off during the period of Nations league and then declined instantly . this was with wijnaldum, the dutch were always missing that creativity factor in big games and he would always fade out as well.

    another question you have to ask here is, is it a winning formula, again a question mark, it a tradition Dutch style. Italy won the euros, france won the Nations league, they dont play from the deep. they midfielders pull the strings keeping the ball at feet. there is where I see football from modern day perspective and not what gaal thinks should be done or from the philosophy of total football.

    when was the last time NT scored from outside of the box. disregard set pieces here.

    what you are saying or have mentioned van Vaal wanting Tils, Klaassens and others to do will not yield with good defensive klaassen, Til, Berghuis better that of wijnaldum at 10. wijnaldum also scored alot of those poacher goals when playing out of there. I remember back then he was labeled the second best player behind Memphis because of that but then in big games he would subside.

    being said this, with the arrival of Lang and Danjuma, things could possibly change but still you have to size other big nations and see where the deficiencies in the team lies and as mentioned this will only come in spotlight when they play them. you simply cant squeeze all the way up to the final of a World cup and and expect to win it. it will not happen.

    if you ask me the question now who will win the world cup. I will say either Argentina – (copa America), Italy (euros), France (Nations league) or always favorite Brazil

    if the dutch has to make a statement , it will have to be in the Nations league but then the final for that tournament will be palyed after the world cup.

  9. Five Oranje Observations

    1. Oranje have to be able to play and thrive outside of their comfort zone/football philosophy for them to do well in Qatar (SEE Euro’88 wc’10-14)

    2. Oranje can implement their philosophy successfully(beautiful style) if they necessarily have the personnel(see WC’98) They do not with this group.

    3. Van Gaal will fail if he persists on the FDJ role as it is in this WCQ. Too rigid. Too predictable. Not fluid enough. I believe he will have variations. But how familiar will the team get with it before the big day?

    4. Not giving chances to players who clearly deserve their run might also be an hindrance. If LVG is preaching against a goalie getting too comfortable as #1, the least he can do is look at the case of Berghuis and Gakpo from a clear, unbiased lens. Please Blind too Louis.

    5. Oranje play best when their game is based on a more physical approach (again see WC10-14) Abundant physical prowess mixed with the Dutch school of football is a deadly concoction. But brawn, I feel, is viewed with suspicion. Too ugly.

      1. “Can someone share more light on build up to 88″. Was it better than 98s. Or was it all because ofthe big 3. Im more 90s kid”

        Sorry for the late reply. The qualification for the 1988 Euros was a mess. Some reasons: Ajax and PSV had a fierce rivalry. Cruyff was Ajax coach and he basically instructed his players to be a force and to get Menzo in goal in stead of v Breukelen. This was probably one of the reasons Michels started to despise JC. Our midfield didn’t function so Michels tested some new players, one being the 30something Arnold Muhren.

        Oranje had problems breaking down defensive teams (Poland) and in the key last match v Cyprus, Bosman scored within a minute but some idiot threw a bomb on the pitch. The 8-0 win became a 0-3 loss. Which meant Oranje was out. An appeal resulted in a re-match which we won 4-0 and Bosman scored a hattrick.

        Van Basten was heavily injured in the run up to the Euros and almost decided to stay at home. It was Cruyff who pushed Marco to go after all.

  10. Tonight Haaland is facing our little king Jurien Timber…Timber is areailly weeak..but hard nut top crack….When Turkey faced Norway,they were lucky not to face Haaland…most likely we will be facing haaland again in november..

  11. Depay,Berjwin,Danjuma,Lang,Malen,Weghorst—6nos
    Frenkie,Gini,klassen,koopmeiners,Gravenberch,van de beek–6nos
    Malacia,kongolo,Ake,virgil,Devrij,Deligt,Timber,Rensch–8 nos
    Bijlow,cillessen,krul(only for shootouts)
    Additional 2 men…

  12. Ajax is dominating. Martinez has done very well versus Haaland. Timber got treated like a rag doll by the big Norwegian, lucky we didn’t concede there.

    Antony is slowly becoming a world class player, it will be tough for Ajax to hold onto him.

  13. I just finished Ajax – Dortmund. Just curious, are there still people here who think that Berghuis and Blind can’t perform at this level? Goodness me, everything Berghuis does is intelligent and skilled and if his team mates would have found him earlier (as they do in Feyenoord) he would have a hattrick.

    And Daley Blind… Man of the Match, so…..

  14. Saw a good portion of the Ajax-Dortmund game. Ajax were excellent but not as good as Dortmund made them to be. Ajax at all times had acres of space and waltz all through the game. And they are not that great a team to carve out such ridiculous amount of space. Just that the pressing(if even there was any) of Dortmund was atrocious, dire.

    Berghuis was still average as far as I’m concerned. Tadic, Gravenberch were miles better. Blind played well too because he had tons of space(even on the overlap a few times lol)

    Point is, we don’t see this kind of performance from this duo when they are with Oranje. Hell, Blind barely crossed the halfway line against Latvia. Maybe 1 or 2 goals from Berghuis in 30-33 games. 2-3 assists maybe. Proof is in the pudding as they say.

  15. I also just finished watching the game. My take.

    First of all Ajax deservely won as things fell in right place and in the right way for them.

    Dortmund started with Three strikers. Malen, haaland and Reus and none tracked back. There is where Ajax consistently opened them on the flanks. Reus and Malen instead of going out were drifting in while inviting the fullbacks to overlap. With fullbacks playing a highline, tadic and Antony were always free waiting to pounce on the counters.

    This is another reason why Blind and Mazzouri had the luxury of going forward. There was on so many occasions where you could see Malen jogging back in the background with Ajax running riot on the flanks. Even on the right Meunier had to keep track of Tadic and with Reus not tracking back, gave room for Blind to join the party as well.

    The midfield I would give to Dortmund. This was their stronghold Jude Bellingham was was their best player by all means pulling the strings from the middle but was just not enough. Again with both malen and Reus drifting in.

    Gravenberch was good offensively, had 2 0r 3 clean shots on target. Dortmund goalie came up with good saved as well. On the other side Pasveer as well on Haaland.Alvarez did well also breaking down the play and disrupting Dortmund movement from the MF.

    Berghuis, my eyes was glued on him and again like I always say not high intensity game guy. Took him 28 minutes to really come into spolight with first major intervention springing a shot wide from close range. Other wise was was just running, waiting for passes to link up. rightly subbed for klaassen.

    For Dortmund when you have striker of Haalands calibre and he has only 2-3 shots on the target in the whole match , then something is wrong in the team. Like I said if malen and Reus would have drifted out stretching the defense, things could have being different. Malen is simply not the answer to sancho

    Not to mention of ajax front line here as well, they are world class in their own rights and thats where the teams will have to match them if they want to win and its high likely it will be the knockout stages.

    @ Jan

    “Just curious, are there still people here who think that Berghuis and Blind can’t perform at this level? ”

    This has never been the case and you know it very well.Blind has being active in Ajax for the last 3-4 seasons playing at CL level. But still his performance fluctuates with the qualiy of the can always argue that Dortmund is a quality team but when you look at the game itself, with Meunier on side and Reus drfting in. Conditions were favourable for him going forward freel flow and he he always thrives in these types of conditions or games. Dont have to remain what happens when its not.

    1. So i watched the whole match, but here’s what I’m getting from your analysis.

      Dortmund’s front 3 didn’t track back, so the fullbacks could attack.
      Despite Dortmund’s front 3 spending their time in Ajax’s third, they were still limited on offense.
      So Blind was able to spend his whole time in Dortmund’s half WHILE limiting the Bundesliga’s 2nd best offense to only 2 shots?

      What more could you ask for?

  16. Haaland had two…three? chances?
    Ajax could have had 7 or 8 goals. How many times did their keeper save them?

    Brilliant team performance… our aging daddy’s boy left back (wilson shout out) scoring a beauty volley, and just before that, sending Bellingham skipping by with a feint that lead to another save.
    Berghuis too, such a good game. Haller, Alvarez, Mazrouei, Timber, Tadic…. and on and on.
    Even Pasveer… keep it up man…

    So good. Even Wilson can’t bring me down

  17. I’m a blues fan(Chelsea) but opted today for the Manchester United-Atalanta game with one thing in mind; “scouting”

    Wanted to see some Koopmeiners and also give de Roon a fair shake just in case I’ve been affected by confirmation bias.


    His performance was promising and I can see him and FDJ interchanging with ease if LVG ever decides to play both. He played high and was involved all game with the attack, forcing some long range blocks and showing some pinpoint accuracy. He also dug in defensively and made some interceptions. And he doesn’t seem to be as slow as I thought. I would give him a solid 6, 6.5 on a full stomach.

    De Roon

    De Roon was played out of position as the right CB in a 3. And with all things considered he did ok. He was caught out a few times including one of the goals. Besides that he was a regular, old cog in the machine. What’s astounding to me is that three coaches in a row did not pick up on how ordinary he is.

    I look at the defensive midfield role Christensen plays for Denmark and can’t help but wonder if it has ever crossed FDB, Blind or Koeman’s mind that Ake could have replicate that with ease instead of being hung up on de Roon. FDB/Blind I understand. But Koeman surprised me with that decision. And also the call on de ligt. Merci LVG. We move. Oh it’s a 5/10 for me.

  18. Watched Villarreal 4-1 Young Boys. As much as ths score may dipict a one sided game but it was not. Young Boy are a very good team, like Ajax I would say. If they would have clinical in front of goal the scores would easily had been 7-4 or 8-4. Not suprised at all they beat Man United.

    Danjuma had two good chances. One was a clean break which the goalie made a finger tip save and the was the build up to the third goal. While set up clear by Alberto Moreno, his shot hit the cross bar and fell back to Moreno again and he then scored.

    Was heavily marked as well. 4 to 1, 3-1. Im midst of this the Villarreal were too slow in getting up to him and their passes would be intercepted in the midfield.

    Still remains the attacking outlet for emery.

  19. In my projection for 2024-2026 NT winning,I have Xavi simons as an important piece in the midfield and by then he will have made a break through. But not at PSG though. If only he would have stayed little bit longer at Barce till the arrival of koeman, he would have in the same boat as Fati,Gavi,Pedri and Puiq now. Mbuyamba as well who is now at chelsea. Has being been getting good reviews though. Has already been called up and training with the first team and is scheduled to go out on loan in Jan.

    Another player whom I think can be a perfect and natural partner for Frenkie going into future is Carel eiting. His breakthrough in ajax was hampered by injuries and while he was loaned out to huddesfield in championship he did pick up valuable experience and now is building upon it at Genk.

    His injury record is not good but then he is prone to it just because thats how plays. Doesnt shy away from going into duals/ tackles. Robust typo.He is a good ball playing midfielder like frenkie as well. He can also play both at 6 and 8

    At Genk he has recently played full 90 in 3/10 and while its still early stages, he still hasnt hit hid best form since his injury return. Defintely somebody to look out for and if he can remain injury free, he will live up to his expectation and be a contender in 24-26.

    Between him and Koopmeiners he seems to be more flexible in terms of operating on either side and in turning as well. Koopmeiners only drifts from right to left

  20. Xavi Simons and Brian Brobbey are prime examples of making bad career choices. They were at two of the best youth academy, Ajax and Barca. And they prefer money over development at young age.

  21. I watched the Ajax vs Dortmund game. Blind actually played very well, could have had two assists if Haller was more effective. I hope he can replicate this form in NT. Gravenberch need to improve his finishing skill, he had two chances, one time he shoot straight at the keeper, the other chance, he did not even give a decent shot. The first shot remind me of his chance against Latvia.

    I also watch Inter vs Sheriff, Dumfries is being Dumfries. He is another player who should practice shooting a lot more. He could have had two goals for himself if he was good at shooting. He had an assist and involved in another goal so good performance overall.

  22. Nice to see feyenoord and vitesse both winning their games in Europe

    So that’s 3 Dutch teams already won this week . Let’s hope PSV also get some good results

    Very good for the coefficient rankings!

  23. Speaking of coefficients, if Ajax puts on a decent run this year they could be moving towards the top 10 of UEFA’s rankings.

    With the standings as they currently are (before Europa games), Ajax is in 17th. But the next set of points to come off is 2017-18, in which Ajax only recorded 1.5 points. If we take out all of the clubs 2017-18 points, Ajax would move in 11th in Europe. Obviously there’s a lot of variables to consider, but it’s looking much better for Dutch football.

    In terms of league coefficient, a similar situation. In 2017-18, Holland was 28th in terms of points scored in Europe, below Macedonia Azerbaijin and company. Those points all come off next year which would see the leagues as follows:

    France – 34.695
    Portugal – 36.622
    Holland – 34.000

    If Dutch clubs do well this year, we’ll have a chance of passing both so by 2024-25 we could have 2 CL spots.

  24. If anyone’s watching PSV-Monaco, Armando Obispo has made 3 world class last ditch tackles to stop Myron Boadu.

    I don’t know much about this guy, but I hope someone’s watching. I’m impressed.

  25. Well we had a bit of a learning curve this past week I think.

    Lets accept it like that and lets not see this comment as another attempt to polarize (which I don’t intend).

    We have had lots of pleas to see Danjuma and Lang play in the NT. And a lot of criticism on players like Blind and Berghuis.

    Lang and Danjuma did ever so well versus Gibraltar!! and immediately the crowd yelled for more of that and less of Berghuis and Gakpo (or whoever).

    This mid week CL round has shown some interesting things.

    Lang played City, Danjuma played Young Boys. Lang was invisible. Danjuma was ok, but missed some great chances and went for his own success at the wrong time.

    Whereas Berghuis and Blind both slaughtered Dortmund, with a sensational Berghuis in the first half and a very good Blind (goal and assist) overall.

    What do we learn?

    1. one swallow does not make a summer (Dutch expression)
    2. Gibraltar is not Man City or Young Boys
    3. If players with weaknesses (Blind) play in a team and system aimed at covering for the weakness but at the same time ready to utilise the strengths, players like Blind can be World Class.

    When you are player of the week in the CL, you are European top. When you are European top, lets face it, you are also World Top. Beyond Argentina and Brazil, there is not really much more World Class outside of Europe, right?

    Btw, I am not bagging Lang and Danjuma. They’re tremendous talents. But lets not forget they demonstrated their class versus Gibraltar. We need to see them tested against tougher opponents.

  26. Dutch teams r now the best one in Europe

    Points for this year:
    1- Netherlands 8
    2- England 6.7
    3- France 6.4
    4- Spain 6.2
    5- Germany 5.9
    6- Portugal 5.7
    7- Italy 5.7
    8- Austria 5.6

  27. see that Karsdorp overlooked for the latest provisional squad announced. @Jan, any insiders to why Karsdorp just not considered by the NT coaches, past and present?

    1. I truly have no idea why Karsdorp is overlooked.

      Can be several reasons.

      Karsdorp clashed with some of the key players previously.
      Karsdorp has had a clash of some sorts with LVG
      Karddorp is Mourinho’s fave and Louis despises Jose
      LVG simply thinks Rensch is better

      Rensch was part of the Euros squad and plays with his Ajax colleagues daily. That might just edge it.

      Dumfries weaknesses: defending, passing, ball skills
      Karsdorp weaknesses: defending, heading
      Rensch weaknesses: ??? experience???

  28. 27 Man Squad…Pissed off to see Winjdal at squad..He is below average crap..i thought we got rid of him.fed up with his atrocious crosses and lack of fluidity at attack. but this indicates LVG is having problem with Left back..No karsdorp…Lushtreal geetruida would have been fantastic call..He can play LB and LCB,RB..hope Rensch dismiss winjdal..

  29. @ Jan I truly have no idea why Karsdorp is overlooked.

    What we need to do is to stop making excuses for these guys and call a spade a spade. Dutch management decisions are far too much dictated by personal feelings and ego. As you yourself speculated, LVG’s snub might have to do with Karsdorp great relationship with mourinho(quite foolish but believable) or some sort of personal disagreement with him and other players.

    These are all petty reasons and quite undermining in the grand scheme of things. But in the world of Oranje these things and situation are alive, real.

    Also, Rensch is not better than Dumfries in a million years. This claim of Dumfries not being a good defender is ludicrous. He might not be the most cultured as a player but he is useful and very reliable. That’s good enough for me.

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