The Dust is settling….

With Oranje’s and Louis’ first defeat behind us, the most important competitions have started… Eredivisie had weekend #2, the EPL has started (it takes time for me to get used to this…) and the Bundesliga and La Liga as well.

Game on!

Bring it on!

Breaking news: Alexander Buttner, the man who could have been Oranje’s left back at the Euros (ex-Ajax, now Vitesse), signed a 5 year deal with Man United!! Obviously, Robin van Persie’s signature overpowered the news of Buttner talking to the Mancunians, but Sir Alex (and Rene Meulensteen) believe Buttner is one of the best left backs in Europe. I’m sure he’ll be nicknamed Nicky ( after Nicky Butt).

The other BIG Dutch signing by Sir Alex: Buttner…

Interesting developments in Eindhoven, where PSV coach Dick Advocaat lost his first game, as a result of a lacklustre performance, and drilled a thunderous response from his team in the second game. But PSV might lose two key players before the end of the month, as Toivonen is put in the shop window and striker Matavz might go to Benfica. Good news for Wijnaldum if this happens, as the ex-Feyenoord talent will claim the number 10 position.

Ajax had an easy afternoon away at NEC, with the hosts gifting three goals in the first 30 minutes of the game. Impressive performances by some youngsters in the Ajax’ team (Ricardo van Rhijn, Mitchell Dijks’ debut) and a brace by new Swedish forward Sana.

Feyenoord and Joris Mathijsen look back at a disappointing debut together. Against Heerenveen, the ex-Hamburg defender got red-carded after a tackle in the area on the Heerenveen center forward. Despite Mathijsen playing the ball, the ref judged it to be a tackle on the legs of the opponent and gave Heerenveen a spot kick (and Joris a red). Earlier on in the game, the ref should have given Feyenoord a penalty kick for a blatant hand ball but didn’t. Ruben Schaken bulldozered his way through the Heerenveen defence in the last minutes and equalised so the match between mates Koeman – Van Basten ended in 1-1.

To quote my late friend Finnster: “A football player called Anita…??”

With PSV, Ajax, AZ and now Feyenoord dropping points, FC Twente leads the way as the only club with 6 points after two games. I saw all the top teams play this weekend and have to say: AZ looks REALLY good… They could won their game 9-0, with ease (only won 3-1 as it was). Altidore is a decent striker, he scores goals ( a brace this time) but misses a lot of opportunities as well. But so did Martens and Maher, to name two.

In Spain, excitement on day 1. Barca winning with Villa and Messi on target while Real Madrid ( sans Modric still) couldn’t get past Valencia. It’s game on there!

In Germany, Dutch goals. Luuk de Jong scoring against his own club in the European game vs Kiev… And Elia scoring for Werder Bremen last weekend.

In England, the first weekend is behind us and it does take some time for me to get used to Spurs without Modric, Van Persie in a ManU jersey and Liverpool without Kuyt. Everton doesn’t seem to miss Cahill and Drenthe, but I do… NY Red Bulls benefitted from Cahill’s goalscoring already and West Ham United apparently is out to sign Royston Drenthe.

Martin Jol’s Fulham and Newcastle (the new club of Vernon Anita) want to sign Twente’s Douglas while Assaidi received jersey number 11 at Liverpool.

All these movements will turn out for the best. Elia, Anita, Drenthe, Buttner…

I’m sure Oranje will benefit from all of this…

Elia in Bremen

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  1. Also Today vG picks his squad for the first 2 serious games… Newspapers also saying TODAY is the first day that Douglas can officially be called up. Will he or Won’t he ?

  2. This Buttner transfer is interesting. Especially as the head scout for the Netherlands area of United placed him at number 4 or 3 on his list for the left back position in the Dutch competition.


    Which says:

    ‘Every season the club calls on all its European scouts to send a list of players,” Van Stijn told Dutch newspaper AD.

    “They ask you to make a list for any position in the team with a top five of the best players in the league. On the list that I sent in at the end of last season I had Buttner at number three or four [for the left-back slot].”

    I am not sure it is smart of Ferguson to call him one of the best left backs in Europe, if the scout of the club for the competition thinks he maybe is not even in the top 3 of the Eredivisie, as it can lead to excessive pressure for Buttner by managing expectations to fans in a wrong way. Buttner’s quality’s are more in the attacking demands of his position, than the defensive one’s. At United SAF likes attacking backs, so he has done his homework with Buttner. Buttner will maybe also be able to provide some crosses. This last game of United against Everton on Monday, there were few crosses for the strikers, let alone a possibility for RVP to tap the ball in getting an assist from the side as he used to get a lot from especially Walcott. I also payed attention to Evra and he was maybe the worst player of United this last Monday. The guy looks past it and maybe the energetic Buttner, despite me thinking he is not good enough for United, could really start to compete with the Frenchman.

    It’s always funny to see a team winning one week in a convincing way the Cruijff Cup and the other day losing to RKC (again). RKC is at the moment maybe one of the best ran clubs in Eredivisie if it comes to being smart in attracting players for small money or by renting pretty good players. If Matavz would be sold I would love PSV go for their own youth. They have Locadia in the youth, they have a Depay that has a bit of a Suarez profile behind Mertens at left wing who could also maybe be played as a striker. Depay totally different than Matavz, actually resembles Lens, but Locadia is a big strong guy who can finish in the box. Would get maybe closer to the wanted profile to succeed Matavz. This would be good for Dutch football, if both players were given more minutes. If Toivonen is sold for the big money, I am curious if PSV will go after Maher. Next year he is maybe double expensive and Maher is the biggest Dutch talent in Eredivisie, certainly from his age group. Of course harsh for Wijnaldum, but PSV is very serious in becoming champs and the technical director of PSV knows Maher from his time at AZ, when Adam played in the youth of AZ and Maher has also said he wants to go this year to either PSV or Ajax. Maher has more vision than Wijnaldum and is probably defensively also a better option. Wijnaldum looks very energetic, but he does not put enough of it in defending. Think about Twente being able to overrun PSV at home last year. Maher has been brought up with fulfilling defensive duties as well. There will be enough games for both by the way.

    At Feyenoord the development of Bruno Martins Indi is for me and maybe others as well, pleasing to see. I think he is now not only that defensive rock, but also starts to become more than a decent footballer. Who was not surprised to see his two key passes in the recent Dutch friendly against Belgium that lead to the goals? He only should have given Mathijsen some cover when he get caught on the brake by Djuricic, but other than that he is developing rapidly.

    At Twente I love to see the chemistry between Tadic and Chadli. Luc Castaignos has to grow into his role as striker, but if I look at his character I have to say for now, that I don’t like the kid. I was already frowning when he was involved in that spitting incident at Inter last year and I found him in his last interview also a bit loaded. I like Fer and his smile far more, was also the best of the field last game and I really think he is going to score more than 10, maybe even 15 goals this season, which is a huge amount for a midfielder. This could be his year.

    At Barca, Afellay has received the message that he can’t count on many minutes. They are very warm towards him and treat him well, but playing time, he won’t get much. They want to cooperate with a loan and also with a sell. They put the ball in his corner and it’s his call what he wants to do now. He knows what to expect. He was also on the bench for the Dutch NT against Belgium. The weird thing is that I heard van Gaal sees him as a left winger only. I think he would be great in midfield for VDV’s spot. He played there as well in midfield for PSV and his rushes to the front, could get the Dutch striker much more involved in the game. RVP, and Huntelaar last game again, are so isolated. Somebody having his own action, being able to get passed his man and go for the 1-2 closer to the box, striker giving a wall pass would be good for a striker. Afellay is a jack of all trades, but his stamina is second to none, meaning playing him in midfield would make even more sense. Weird case, but van Gaal has his own rigid vision, not always for the best.

    Luuk de Jong is used wrong at BMG. At Twente he had Ola John (who also has a tough time at Benfica for now) providing him with one assist after the other on his head. This game I saw against Kiev de Jong does not get anything to work with from the sides. Then he indicates he wants the ball in his feet close to the box making himself big with a man in his back, are the midfielders going to shoot from distance. Even when he turns away and wants the ball chipped or get it by a through pass, they shoot on goal. This results in him not getting well in the game and that results maybe him having 2 horrible first touches. I have seen his first touch go right often enough to know that is not a big weakness with the guy (think Heerenveen game for example last year). The own goal was really bad luck and he will experience a lot of pressure now, especially with his price tag. Hope he bounces back. Dost in Germany is not going all that well either. Hope he plays in the first Bundesliga game and scores. That remains for a striker the best remedy for self confidence.

    Drenthe I heard he has problems getting out of bed and likes to sleep. WTF. He needs a coach that gives him a kick under the butt and work with him day in day out, like Verbeek does with Altidore. Altidore also was lazy and look at his progression. 4 league goals in 2 games. Still not great in playing along, but already a bit better, but more importantly, he looks engaged. Drenthe needs a coach like Verbeek and needs to pick a club where he can play from right midfield position or even the 10 position. I thought he looked great at Everton in that position or in any case, that space. He also has a great shot on goal. He has to forget about left back. Totally wrong for the kid. Defensive he is and will always be pretty bad. His quality’s are benefited from, when he can attack, do some running at defenders or play some possession football.

    On Douglas, I hope he goes to Newcastle, instead of Fulham. In case of Newcastle you would get a possible axis with Krul-Douglas-Anita. I noticed how at the Euro it where Italy and Spain turning up big. One reason for that IMO is that many players from those NT’s play at the same club together and have developed chemistry. Italy had a Juve frame work, Spain a Barca and Madrid framework. If we have 3 players at Newcastle, they could develop also chemistry and which is a good thing, especially in the axis. I see in Krul, Douglas and Anita all 3 first team potentials or at least, very useful subs.


    1. Yes, great post! I did not hear of the spitting incident of Castaignos – what happened there?

      “I noticed how at the Euro it where Italy and Spain turning up big. One reason for that IMO is that many players from those NT’s play at the same club together and have developed chemistry.”
      couldn’t agree more…

  3. Yep, here is the prelim squad for the Turkey game:

    Douglas (Twente), Schaken (Feyenoord) and Fer (Twente) are part of it.

    Goal: Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Maarten Stekelenburg (AS Roma), Michel Vorm (Swansea City).

    Defence: Khalid Boulahrouz (Sporting), Douglas (FC Twente), John Heitinga (Everton), Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Joris Mathijsen (Feyenoord), Ricardo van Rhijn (Ajax), Nick Viergever (AZ), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax) and Jetro Willems (PSV).

    Midfield: Vurnon Anita (Newcastle United), Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Urby Emanuelson (AC Milan), Leroy Fer (FC Twente), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), Siem de Jong (Ajax), Adam Maher (AZ), Stijn Schaars (Sporting), Wesley Sneijder (Inter), Kevin Strootman (PSV), Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham Hotspur).

    Attack: Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona), Bas Dost (VfL Wolfsburg), Klaas Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Ola John (Benfica), Luuk de Jong (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Jeremain Lens (PSV), Luciano Narsingh (PSV), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Arjen Robben (Bayern München), Ruben Schaken (Feyenoord).

  4. In my opinion, considering we are under a transition process, and we can´t pretend build a whole new team only in two months, the last list should be (I put the players in order: started and subs):


    RB (2): Ricardo van Rhijn (Ajax), van der Wiel (Ajax)
    RCB (4): John Heitinga (Everton), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa)
    LCB (3): Douglas (FC Twente), Nick Viergever (AZ),
    LB (5): Jetro Willems (PSV), Martins Indi (Feyenoord)

    Discarded: Khalid Boulahrouz (Sporting) and Joris Mathijsen (Feyenoord)


    Holding Midfield (6): Nigel de Jong / Jordy Clasie
    Creative Midfield (10): Wesley Sneijder / van der Vaart
    Mix Midfield (8): Kevin Strootman / Adam Maher

    Discarded: Vurnon Anita (Newcastle United), Urby Emanuelson (AC Milan), Leroy Fer (FC Twente), Siem de Jong (Ajax), Stijn Schaars (Sporting)


    RW (7): Luciano Narsingh (PSV) / Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce)
    CS (9): Huntelaar / Robin van Persie
    LW (11): Arjen Robben / Ibrahim Afellay

    Discarded: Bas Dost (VfL Wolfsburg) ,Ola John (Benfica), Luuk de Jong (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Jeremain Lens (PSV), Ruben Schaken (Feyenoord).

    I hope that with the time, LvG will give more time to younger players, and players like Clasie, Maher, Anita, Fer, Luuk de Jong began to settle on the team.

    Interesting omissions: Van Wolskwinkel, Wijnaldum, De Vrij, Buttner, Pieters (injury, Maduro (injury)

    1. i don’t know about boulahrouz, i saw him play right center back for sporting, and he was great. plus since he was a right back he would move up, he could provide some build up passing attack. It was bad build up as a right back, but as a center back, it’s decent enough.

    2. Good list. I think though that van Gaal is pretty fond of a right legged player on the right center back position and a left legged player on the left center back position, concerning the better build up you get in his view. Douglas is right legged IIRC. With the press conference or later on he said Kuyt did not answer to the winger profile he uses for the Dutch NT. Van Gaal sees Kuyt as a striker. Personally I think Lens was bad at the right wing against Belgium and Kuyt would probably not have allowed Vertonghen to score a goal, as he tracks back in a better way, but I don’t think he gets a chance anymore on the right wing from van Gaal after what he said.

      1. OHH!!! I thought Douglas was left legged player, but you are rigth. So, I think Mathinsen will play again and Douglas will take Vlaar spot as Heitinga sub.

        Maybe Kuyt can switch with Van Persie. Van Persie as RW sub, and Kuyt as CS sub.

  5. —————-Huntelaar————————
    —–Sneijder———————–Van der vaart—–
    Martins Indi—————————–Van rhijn—–

    1. I like your lineup, would change Kuyt for Naringh, Luciano was the best player on the field in the first half against Belgium, and insert Vorm, and De Jong is still a wall, but I like the versatility in Anita.

      Still concerned about Sneijder and Robben, this is the perfect opportunity for major transitioning, think Robben is great, but too selfish and reached his max and Sneijder was never the answer, let alone captain

  6. Mathijsen should not start at all. This is a very important game!

    I really want to see Clasie and Strootman together.

    Martins Indi should be given a chance at LB or CB after his impressive debut against Belgium with two beautiful passes that started both our goals.

    This is our first competitive game since Euro 12. I have a feeling that Douglas might not start right away. He may come in as a sub. This is his first appearance and LVG may be a bit cautious with him. LVG is more likely going to use his subs on a striker or midfielders unless someone is really messing up in defense.

    1. @SamDC

      Agree with you about Mathinsen, but the main problem is that we don´t have any experience left legged central back beside him. The only option right now is Viergiver, and he is too young. (I thought that Douglas was an option but he is right legged player).

      So LVG only have 2 options: Play an old left legged player (Mathinsen or Viergiver) or play a right legged player on LCB position (Douglas play LCB in Twente and Vlaar did it in Feyenoord)


      I have asked few times if there is a big issue play with a right legged player in Left Center Back. Is true that this affect so much the building up?? How much important or vital is playing with left legged player on LCB and right legged player on RCB?

      The fact is that for RCB we have plenty potions (Heitinga, Douglas, Vlaar, De Vrij, Gouweleeuw, Bruma, etc.) but for the LCB only Mathinsen and Viergiver, and maybe, in a future, Martins Indi and Pieters!


      And also I agree with you about the midfield. I would love to see Clasie playing as holding midfield beside Strootman as 8 and Sneijder as 10. But you think LvG will take this risk? Let´s, see. I think NDJ is not the right holding midfield if you only play with 3 midfields.

      1. There is not big difference between RCB being right legged and LCB being left legged. Holland teams has had a history of differentiating this but its more taste/perception than substance. Barcelona play Puyol – Pique/Macherano, Madrid play Pepe – Ramos and some England clubs are not too polarized as well. Let’s not get into something that is not yet proven. If you have a LCB that is right footed but is able to make long/short passes in any circumstances then it doesn’t matter whether he is right/left footed. Even when he is defending, it doesn’t mean that left footers are able to steal more possession than right footers.

  7. It is a good selection of players.






    *I think it would be good to have at least one defender with international experience and that’s why Van der Wiel could begin instead of Van Rhijn.

  8. Douglas and Fer included!!! Great news!!! Hopefully they will make the cut. I am sure Douglas will play some minutes to secure he plays for Oranje from now on since next game is official.

  9. Mathijsen is very error prone. You would think that at his experience level, and playing for a team expecting to be a contender in the World Cup, he would be more reliable.

    At this point, his inability at being effective and reliability in defense should be given more importance than the left footed/right footed issue. Defenders have to cover for one another against any opposing player at any part of the field.

  10. We have had this left legged centre back discussion before. I always observe if playersactually do use their “chocolate” leg and both Vlaar and Douglas do use their left leg regularly in fact Vlaar hasa tremendous left leg. vG will NOT experiment too much with important games. Furthermore its very unusual for centre backs to be substituted unless it leaks profusely.

  11. At the current moment if we have to choose between Vlaar and Mathijsen I would pick Vlaar. I would not use Van Persie as a winger. If we play 4-4-2 then we pair Van Persie with Hunter up front. Otherwise we should choose either Hunter or Van Persie (meaning the other on the bench). I would prefer Robben, Narsingh even Afellay to be wingers over Van Persie or Kuyt.

  12. The main concern I have is that those new players did not have much time to gel with the current players, and no more friendlies scheduled. We do not have the luxury of a Bayern or Juventus or Barca core so it is tough to play quickly as a unit. We are still 2-3 years away if we have any luck then we can count on Ajax, PSV, Feyenoord to be the core for national team, maybe longer (4-5 years).

  13. Vlaar was voted MOTM at Villa and immediately gained cult status when he came back on the field after getting an open cut wound and resumed with blood stains all around. Commentator said “I think Vlaar will become immensely popular here.” I think for both he and Buttner (maybe Douglas) The English game will sharpen them up.

  14. @Carlos
    I’m more optimistic about other younger defenders coming up through the ranks than Vlaar. He did get his chance during the Euros and he was slow to react and not very effective at all. That would have been an excellent opportunity for him seize the moment and solidify his a starting spot in Oranje. At 27, I hope he’s a late bloomer and eventually turn out to be reliable choice.

    Heitinga was voted player of the year at Everton last season. He had years of experience playing in the PL yet he’s still nowhere an elite and reliable defender.

    I’m glad Vlaar made the move. He will definitely gain more experience playing in a top league against world class competition. We need more competent options in defense than any other position.

  15. It is so sad to read about Finnister I didn’t know 🙁

    This has become like a huge international family and it’s sad to know something has happened to one of its members, especially to one of the leaders like Finnister was.

  16. Vlaar was left by himself to guard Ronaldo at EK2012… Where other teams double and triple team him. Plus the gaps between defense and midfield were in the size of 20-30 meters.

    I think Ron did pretty good considering the circumstances. I vote to give him another chance. He is pretty good especially compared to what we have. Plus he plays with grit 🙂

    1. No player has been given more chances with oranje under diff coaches than vlaar. He’s no international material mate. Better to have some unproven youngster who can develop than a dude who’ll be remembered as the ‘almost’ version of a staam.

  17. @Demi: Yes I agree. Plus Vlaar barely played under BVM so he didn’t have the time to gel with the other defenders.

    When you play only 2 center backs for 4 years in a row and give zero chances to play to other defenders that’s what happens if one of those 2 center backs gets injured (Mathijsen).

  18. Looks like Ajax is going to sign Christian Poulsen to fill in Anita’s role. He’s 32, so not a long term solution, but for now, I’d think he could be useful to them.

  19. Ok, so took the day off today to watch some footy..the big one (real barca will be on in a few) and can’t help but feel bad about eredivise sides thus far. AZ and Heerenveen down so far, here’s to hoping feynoord and twente proves me wrong…(sigh)

  20. Lol – dutch teams losing against nobodies.
    Turks of Bursaspor?
    Norwegians of Molde?
    Russians of Anzhi?
    The Czechs of Sparta Prague?

    Wow – were freefalling nowadays.

    At least PSV is managing against Zeta for now.

  21. Good looking out feyenoord, down 2-0, 2-2,

    it’s not that bad for AZ, feyenoord, and PSV,

    realistically herenveen at 0-2 down is bad, and twente is a toss up, if they score two goals, they got goal difference

    but az lost by one goal, feyenoord is down by goal differnce, and

  22. Feyenoord screwed up in the first half, but put on an impressive second half, lead by a sensational Clasie: they can still make it, will be quite difficult. Az was quite unlucky, Anzhi created virtually nothing for 90′ minutes, still a 1-0 win for the home team is very hard to turn over… Heerenveen is out in my opinion, while the greatest delusion of the day was Twente. They can pull of a good win in Enschede, the only thing keeping them alive is the away goal. Hopefully Psv doesn’t want to follow her “league-sisters” today.

  23. After cazorla came in, arsenal dont really need him.
    Inter too with the system they deploy also do not need him. I think.

    AC Milan is the only big club i can see him heading to at this point in time. He shouldve left a month ago to arsenal.

  24. My starters would be:

    Keeper – Stekelenburg
    Right Back – van der Weil (last chance, no improvement GONE)
    Centre Back – Heitinga (needs to step up and be the leader)
    Centre Back – Douglas
    Left Back – Willems (at least until Peiters is ready to return)
    Defensice Mid – de Jong
    Right Winger – Narsingh (Kuyt or RVP if his play drops at all)
    Box to Box Mid – Afellay
    Centre Forward – Huntelaar (if he scores he stays, if he slumps RVP)
    Creative Mid – Sneijder
    Left Winger – Robben

    If Vlaar gains sharpness in England then he should get consideration at CB or at least be the first cover.

    Vaart should get some touches as we will need him sharp for the long haul to Rio.

  25. I think there are few positions up for debate.

    RB – Rhijn over VdW
    LB – Willems should be 1st choice (pieters’ been injured for 35 years as far as I know)
    CB – When we played without Matthijssen last time, Belgium scored 4 goals. I think Matthijjsen and Heitinga need to go, but this can’t happen overnight.
    DM – Strootman over De Jong
    RW – Narsingh should have this position no questions asked
    S – Hunterlaar over Persie

  26. Well.. seems like Ajax and Real Madrid have been magnetically attached in Europe. >.< They can't seem to get away from each other. They're in the same group again, along with Man City and Borussia Dortmund.

  27. I just visited dutchsoccer and I haven’t been in for month, and I just read Finnster died. I feel very sad. He was a great guy I think. RIP dear Finnster.

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