Football has done a long time without the plethora of stats that seem to dominate other sports, particularly American sports like American Football and Baseball. But stats have crept into the game and are getting more and more important to see patterns and understand how teams play.
It’s relevant to use stats alongside the usual insights, useful to look at your own team and players, and useful to analyse the opponent.
I don’t think Van Gaal and Co (or me for that matter) will go overboard on stats, but it’s a fact that most of our younger players (Danjuma, Malacia, Noa Lang, Frenkie) are all known to be very involved in analysing their own game using the numbers.
— simon zwartkruis (@simonzwartkruis) November 22, 2022
These are the stats that FIFA came out with recently from the Senegal game. Interesting indeed.
Two key results: our forwards do not play well together and Daley Blind is the key man for the press.
Steven Bergwijn was on the pitch for 79 minutes and only played the ball to a fellow attacher once! The Ajax forward himself never received the leather once, from a striking partner!! In the fourth minute, Gakpo almost assisted a tap-in for Bergwijn, but the ball was intercepted. There were only four passes between the forwards during the whole game.
|From \ To||Bergwijn||Janssen||Gakpo||Depay|
Another remarkable statistic: Gakpo made 59 runs in order to receive the ball and was only found four times! One of these four times was the cross by Frenkie, resulting in the 1-0. 30 of the 59 “offers to receive the ball” were runs in behind the Senegal defence and he was more than not ignored, because the team mate with the ball didn’t see the run or didn’t dare to play the ball. The only good thing is that these runs usually result in space for an opponent.
Steven Bergwijn was the quickest Oranje player, with a top speed of 34,6 kilometers/hour.
|Player||top speed (km/hr)|
|Virgil van Dijk||32,8|
|Matthijs de Ligt||32,7|
Yes, Daley Blind was the slowest of the team, but he did have the most sprints of all (59), just behind Denzel Dumfries (60).
Frenkie de Jong had the most kilometers with 11,4 kms with Daley Blind second (11,2 km) and Cody Gakpo third (10,7 km).
Daley Blind was the press king, with 39 press moments and he had the most tackles (5). Frenkie had the most interceptions (2) and re-possessions of the ball (9). Frenkie also had the most passes and the highest pass accuracy and was able to break through an opponent line the most too (16 times).
What does this mean for Van Gaal? Who knows :-).
I think he will use the same eleven vs Equador, with the exception of De Ligt, who will make way for Timber. There is a chance that he rests Daley Blind and will use Malacia against the physically strong South Americans.
Equador is a tough team to beat. In the last 7 matches, they didn’t concede. They’re strong, athletic and resilient. Their coach has a simple philosophy: football is played in blocks. There is High, Midline and Low. Equador will put compact blocks against the way the opponent wants to play and with lots of positional changes and hard work, they will want to wear the opponent down.
Coach Alfaro likes to talk his team up. He plans to defend like Spain does: high up the pitch. And he is proud that he has the youngest squad of the World Cup. Alfaro uses zonal defence, where ever on the pitch and the distance between the players is always very small. There is not much known otherwise, as all public training sessions were cancelled and there is rumour of some key players (among them Valencia) being injured. I think these guys can all play though.
Here you see the aggressive press by the team in yellow vs Qatar
Key for Holland will be the running in behind. Their stern defence likes to push up and the way to deal with it, is by dirty runs. Gakpo did this constantly and I believe Bergwijn and Dumfries will need to do the same. Van Gaal might even consider bringing Klaassen on #10 for this and use Gakpo as forward in place of Janssen.
The offensive strength of Equador is limited. Their forwards play in mediocre teams, Valencia in Turkey, Ibarra in Mexico and Plata at Valladolid, mid tier in Spain. The left side of Equador has the most threats and we might need a more defensive option for Berghuis as the communication between full back and midfielders will be key, for Oranje.
Another aspect is their behaviour when they lose possession. They aggressively want to get the ball back asap and they will use physical strength and duel power to get the ball.
This is the option to run in behind for Bergwijn and Gakpo, as shown by Argentina
As they already have 3 points, I don’t think this will be a game where Equador will want to take the game to us, and play open. I think this Equador will play a bit more compact and deeper than against Qatar and use their counter strength to take us on.
For the Dutch, we need to make sure our passing is crisp and accurate, as we can pass our way through their system, but if we are sloppy, we might get hammered on the counter.
I’d like to see this line up. I think Equador will want to absorb pressure and counter against us. So Janssen can play a role up front. I’d play Koopmeiners for Berghuis and Malacia for Blind. Timber for De Ligt is a non-issue I think.
Do I believe LVG will play like this? I think he’ll probably use Blind instead of Malacia.
Either way, I can see another 2-0 win for us. I hope Bergwijn will score, which will lift him up a bit and who ever scores the other one, I don’t care :-). I hope Memphis, who will get another 30 mins I think.
Tell me your predictions!