Van Gaal makes his own rules…

The Dutch internationals stumble over each other when they need to talk about the “vibe” in the squad. They’re all mates, they play games together, go on holidays together and in these modern times, players of Ajax are best buddies with players of Feyenoord… Gone are the times when Cruyff and Co sabotaged PSV goalie Van Beveren and playmaker Van der Kuylen… This unity doesn’t result in invincibility, as the Montenegronians (??) have experienced, but Norway has noticed that after one slip, the homogene character of the squad can be re-established swiftly.

Everything that went wrong in Podgorica went well in De Kuip. Wijnaldum told of text messages stating that he “should quickly forget about that dreadful match and move on” but Gini didn’t want to know about it. He was very happy with the focused and frugal performance of his team. Mature, he called it. Result before beauty.

Van Gaal made his entry into the squad some three months ago, knowing that the players initially didn’t want him. He decided to listen. To open up to the wishes of the players. What system did the players prefer? What positions do they want to play? That worked in his favour. Players felt heard. And after his first international weekend, Van Gaal did what he always does: he went his own way.

Bergwijn told Van Gaal he didn’t want to play on the right wing. Fine. But Van Gaal used him on the right versus Norway, and the Spurs forward was Man of the Match. Lang told Van Gaal he was able to play right winger but the Brussels star was tested and Van Gaal immediately added him back into the queue for the left wing.

Van Gaal knows that the players want 4-3-3 but the wily coach knows that Oranje isn’t good enough and additional securities are needed. Also, when you do have three top notch central defenders while doubting your forwards, the 5-3-2 is a logical go-to scenario.

Van Gaal introduced a new term (for the Dutch at least): “Provocative Pressing”. Which means: dropping back a little, allowing them a feel of comfort, give them some time on the ball, but when they get into a particular situation (for instance, an opponent gets a hospital ball, or is played in badly, or is isolated), the Dutch pounce on them like a pack of wolves. This as opposed to counter football (…) or the high press (Man City, Ajax, Liverpool).

Van Gaal believes that the result was key, in this qualification campaign. He started with a deficit, as Oranje lost under De Boer away in Turkey. “I will worry about the quality of the performances later, now it is all about results.”

Van Gaal did what he needed to do. Firstly, he got the confidence of the players. Secondly, he brought a bit of vibe back which seemed lost under De Boer. He did so by listening to the players and giving them initially what they wanted. Van Gaal will have seen however, that this Oranje struggles against weaker opponents (limited spaces) and plays well against stronger teams ( Italy in Bergamo, under De Boer or England in the nations league under Koeman). When there is space, we have the goods. We have speed and vision to work with that. But our world class is at the back, with Van Dijk, De Vrij, De Ligt and De Jong.

Van Gaal has a window in March and in June to play and work on his team. In March, it’s friendlies and in June it’s the new Nations League campaign. And before the Qatar WC, there is one week of prep. “I know exactly how I will use that time and I have already informed my players.”

So what to expect? When the Norwegians went looking for a goal at 1-0, Van Gaal switched to a 5-3-2 (bringing Ake) and immediately space opened up for Memphis and Bergwijn. Van Gaal can indeed gel two or three systems in the team. With the arrival of Gakpo and Danjuma, more options open up. We can play with forwards who want the ball to feet (Berghuis, Gakpo) or with forwards who will go deep (Bergwijn, Danjuma). With Memphis as #9 and Weghorst as pinch hitter, there are options.

Towards the World Cup, there are some decisions to be made.

The goalie. It seemed Bijlow was the #1 but with Cillesen becoming available and pinching the spot ahead of Flekken and Krul it is interesting to see how both rivals will fare in their upcoming matches.

Blind seems to be Van Gaal’s pick for the left back position but it seems Malacia and Wijndal will slug it out for the other opening.

On the right Dumfries is the main man, and Van Gaal used “inner circle” subs to replace any other candidates, leaving Rick Karsdorp out in the cold. That might well chance, depending on the development of Rensch.

In midfield, there will be a spot for Van de Beek should he return to weekly football as he does have something special. Klaassen seems to get closest to that particular profile but in my view, Donny is a tad better than Klaassen.

On the wings, as said before, Louis is able to match and mix a bit, with Lang and Malen also still options.

Do we see any other players now that are so remarkable that they should have a shot? Kenneth Taylor? Pascal Struijk? Bakker of Leverkusen? Geertruida as right back? Let me hear your thoughts…

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  1. I watched Villarreal and United and must say VDBeek is not the answer to NT midfield. Once he was replaced in the 2nd half, the game instantly changed with Bruno fernandes showing his class. Bruno is more complete midfielder than VDBeek who thrives in passing game only. I dont think VDBeek will be able to dethrone fernendes as no 1
    and may end up playing second fiddle to him.

    When you picture this in NT I dont think he will be an upgrade to klaassen or wijnaldum who are all pretty much in the same boat. They seems to be only clinical in the box and in tighter games tend to fade away with link ups only and this was exactly what happened to VDBeek in the game. Was just involved in links up and that was all.

    Im in the opinon the next big thing the midfield has to be xavi simons. Looking at Fati, Gavi and pedri development at Barce, you just have to bite you tongue and except his timing was wrong switching to PSG.he could have been a starter in NT if he would remained at Barce like to that of spanish contingent

    As for others I dont think De Wit, Ekelenkamp in JO have the cutting edge to make it big in NT.

    There is still nobody in the mid field who can actually score from long range or outside of box which again shows the deficiency in that department. I had high hopes for Gravenberch but after the Montenegro games that all vanished. I really dont know how his fiture will unfold in NT given he plays the same position as Frenkie.

    1. Frenkie and Gravenberch don’t play the same position. Frenkie is a 6, a regista like Pirlo or Xabi Alosno, Gravenberch is an 8 like Lampard.

      Frenkie plays as an 8 for Barcelona because of the presence of Busquets, but that’s not his best position, managers just value him so much they’re trying to squeeze him into the team even if someone else is playing his position.

      1. Its van gaal who is trying to force him at 6 ( point back). He thrives best in point forward and on that left side behind AM. If you look back at his days back at Ajax. Him, VDBeek on top and Schone on the right were devastating. Under koeman era as well with wijnaldum on top and De Roon to his right.

        If you look at current Ajax setup. Gravenberch has the same license to go forward while Alvarez slots in to cover for him with Klaassen further high up. With berghuis now in the picture, things have changed though but the set up still is same. The only difference is schone was more attacking minded than what alverez is and both frenkie and him used to move back and forward together. This is probably what you want to see in NT. A second frenkie on the right. Carel Eiting is one player that fits that resume but his situation at Genk doesnt seem to be looking good. Stuck on the bench with game time hard to come by. Not such whether its stiff competition or he still hasnt adopted to the beligan league yet. Injuries has also hampered his development. Can you image the midfield of frenkie, VDBeek and Him (eiting) if all them would have hit big.

        1. No that’s not true. He was a 6 when he was signed and spent the majority of his games at Ajax playing as a 6. In fact he probably spent more time at CB than CM.

          Koeman was the first to play him as an 8 after his double pivot experiment failed.

          He is a 6 by quality of attributes, his flexibility in position is a great strength, but his best role is as 6.

    2. I like Simons but he needs to get out of PSG, will have no opportunities to see the bench. He’s in talks with Milan, who have more space in the squad and it’d be nice to have a Dutchman back in Milan.

    3. Don’t judge Donny on one game. He played great that second half v Watford. He should never be compared to Fernandes, even if people do. He’s a different player. Box to box. Great runs with and without the ball. Frendandes is a real “10”.

      Koopmeiners is a good distance striker as is Gravenberch. I agree on Simons, he’s exciting. An other midfielder I really rate is Kenneth Taylor.

      A certain Ihattaren is also a good distance striker of the ball.

  2. I yet to catch the replay, but do agree with what Wilson said on VDB’s play in general. He isn’t the dynamic kind of player like Bruno Fernandes or our Sneijder who dictates attacking play…similar to what Klassen and Wijnaldum. That’s why these players will end up invisible in games and not showing much. Guessed this is the common “complaint” we had for them.
    Maybe LVG knows how to bring the best out of them, just like what he is for Berghuis.

  3. LVG has his ways and can be eccentric but is also a great tactician and quite smart. I would really be surprised if he doesn’t mould this team around defensive solidity. That midfield doesn’t have the imagination, brawn or creativity to go toe to toe with the big guns.

    If I were LVG, I would start experimenting and drilling a double pivot vision into this team. But then we have the small problem of players who can be fitting for this role. Ake comes to mind and could be good potential for that role. But who else? Hmmm

    1. I’ll agree with Orangutan on this one. Van Gaal played with Frenkie as the single defensive MF in front of the defense and Klaassen and Wijnaldum as offensive minded runners into the box because of the teams he was playing in the Qualification Group. Hard to play that against the Frances’s, Argentinas, Englands, etc. of the world. He’ll go back to his WC 2014 formula, and try to make the defense airtight. Whether its 4-2-3-1 or 5-3-2 remains to be seen.

      It is hard to know who will end up playing next to Frenkie. Could be that Wijnaldum drops back and plays more in his Liverpool role, could be Keupmeiners depending on how he develops, could be Ake as LVG isn’t averse to playing a someone out of his regular position if he fits his vision (He made Wijnaldum a holding mid in the 2014 WC, and up to that point he had always been seen as an attacking mf), could end up being De Roon—there is a year between now and then to sort it out.

      As for the 10, well, there is no Bruno Fernandes type in the set up right now, nor does it appear there is one in the one year horizon. I wouldn’t rule VDB out if he gets playing time, could be Wijnaldum for his defensive capabilities—remember, in the 2014 WC, he had Sneijder doing an awful lot of defensive work from that position, and Koeman had Wijnaldum doing the same from that spot—or it could be that he gives Lang a shot there.

  4. Nice article Jan. It’s true that the team has more options now and could go for different formation with the available players. For the new players, I think there are two important factors. First factor is the formation, if we go for 5-3-2 then more CB need to be called up, like Strujk, Botman, … Second factor is form, other than Rensch/Timber over Karsdorp/Frimpong for the RB backup, I think his current selection is the best possible based on form. But form will change, I don’t think we should stick to the same group as we did before even if their form change. Someone will drop their form and someone that is not currently called will have a surge in their form. That always happen.

  5. If we switch to a 5-3-2 then the player selections will change drastically. I think then we can look to have Karsdrop enter the team, but it will be at the expense of a winger. If we play with 2 up front Depay, Weghorst and Danjuma are sure things to me. I think Malen would get the nod ahead of Lang, as Lang is a natural winger.

  6. Just finished watching Ajax’s win over Besiktas. The starting mf was Gravenberch, Klaassen and Berghuis, with Gravenberch taking on the most defensive role. Usually, he plays with Alvarez, and he runs around like a colt in a pasture, free and easy, going where he wants. Today he was much more focused on his defensive responsibilities, and impressed (me, anyway) in that role. Under the right instruction from LVG, I think he could play next to De Jong in a 4-2-3-1.

    1. Especially Danjuma is more annoying while play,He doesnt bring dymism,workrate or speed to table…He kills the flow…Gakpo and Malen should be our first choice above him…Malen gives incredible speed and movemnet and Malen is live wire on left…Sad he had to prove in in right wing while Danhumma given left…DaNHUMMMA S vILLREAL WAS SCHOOLED BY A below avergae Manu,who plays like school boys……
      Lang is laos no where near Berghuis or Berjwin,neither he is not better than Gakpo and Malen at left…However He brings workrate and certain level of flow…his team also schoooled for 5-0….i watched villreal and Manu closely…Danjuma was annoying…

  7. There is world wide misunderstanding is that We did excellent with 532 at world cup that was not TRUE AT ALL…We struggles with BMI and Van gaal had to hide BMI against many teams…We switched to 433 or 442 in every game to win that match….Though we are stacked with defensive world class talents its better to go with 433 or 4231 or4213..
    LVG started playing Gini as holding mid was a shuge sucess at Wc..its high time we need to try Ake as DM,Timber as DM…We must move on from koopmeiners,Wijndlaum and De roon.. koopmeinres has holes in defense and Gini and De roon lacks the creative spark… get 532 implemneted we need more CBs on bench…i think Botman and Pascal struijk and shuurs are closeest rivals for Deligt-Devrij-Virgil trio…
    Malacia-Blind/Geetruida for LB
    Virgil,Deligt,De vrij,Botman for CBs
    karsdorp-Rensch for RB…
    Frenkie,wijnaldum,klassen,Ake,Timber,De beek
    Gakpo-Malen ,Depay-Weghorst,Berjwin-Berghuis
    these are our Top quality 23 dutch players…
    for additional 2 men for 25 man squad
    i would add Toonstra,Lang..

  8. Vitesse have given themselves a chance of progressing with a great comeback. Down 3-1 tied it up to take a point, as Tottenham lose to bottom team Mura. Tottenham and Vitesse are now level, both go home for the last fixture but Tottenham play the top team, and Vitesse the bottom one.

      1. PSV manage an easy win to put themselves one draw away from the next round.

        AZ slump to a draw but it’s enough to lock up first place.

        3/5 Dutch teams guaranteed in the next round, 1 has a decent shot, and the other has not a bad chance.

  9. We are gaining ground with France and Portugal in UEFA Coefficient. While we can’t catch them (likely) this year, next year the 5th place league is up for grabs.

    Based on current standings, we would start next season virtually tied with Portugal and about 1.2 points behind France. However, we still have all teams alive and can make up more ground. Hope they keep crushing it.

  10. One year from World cup, I want to mention that we can still be in Pot 1. This depends on which ranking FIFA use for the draw next April. It can be this November’s ranking, it can be the year end ranking(which should not change much as there is no regular international friendly window next month), or it can be next year’s March ranking after most of the playoffs are done. KNVB really need to think about it and plan ahead. For November’s ranking, we are No.10 which means we are definitely in Pot 2. If December ranking will be used, KNVB can try to squeeze a non-international day friendly, which might help us move to No.8 meaning if Italy fails to qualify we will be in Pot 1.However, I doubt KNVB will work that hard. If next March’s ranking will be used, KNVB really need to find 2 high ranking opponent that we can beat which can help us move to No.8. Again, we would need Italy to fail. On the ranking, we are very close to No.9 Denmark and not far from No.8 Portugal. However,No.7 Spain is out of our reach.

  11. For next year’s squad, here is a summary.I would put them in three tiers.
    Tier 1:most likely will be selected
    Tier 2:contenders
    Tier 3:outsiders that might be used if we got hit by a lot of injuries in that position,or youngsters that make sudden breakthrough.

    GK (3)

    Tier 1: Jasper Cillessen, Justin Bijlow
    Tier 2: Tim Krul, Marco Bizot, Mark Flekken, Joel Drommel
    Tier 3: Sergio Padt, Jeroen Zoet

    For GK, we are in an ok situation, not great but not bad. Cillessen and Bijlow will fight for the starting spot and Krul, Bizot, Flekken, Drommel will fight for the other backup spot. Considering Krul’s performance on saving penalties and his experience, he might just have that edge for the third GK spot.

  12. CB (4-5)

    Tier 1:Virgil van Dijk, Stefan de Vrij, Matthijs de Ligt
    Tier 2: Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, Nathan Aké, Jeremiah St. Juste, Riechedly Bazoer, Pascal Struijk, Sven Botman, Jurrien Timber
    Tier 3: Nick Viergever, Bram Nuytinck, Bruno Martins Indi, Stefano Denswil, Terence Kongolo, Wesley Hoedt, Karim Rekik, Philippe Sandler, Danilho Doekhi, Justin Hoogma, Rick van Drongelen, Jordan Teze, Perr Schuurs, Micky van de Ven, Melayro Bogarde, Sepp van den Berg

    CB is one of our strong spots, Van Dijk, De Vrij, De Ligt will almost certain get their place. Ake is very close to getting a spot as well. That means there is at most 1 spot up for grab. Jurrien Timber seems to have the edge now, however, I want to see Van Gaal give either Struijk or St Juste a chance as both can be pushed to DM which we lack players. Struijk especially, played some good games at DM this season and I don’t want to lose him to the Belgians.

    1. I think you can forget about Bazoer. He’s still volatile and can erupt. His defensive play is weak. He’s just strong on the ball. Perfect for a 5-3-2. But we have good ball players for these roles without the ego (Blind, De Vrij, De Ligt, Van Dijk, Ake). I think personally that Botman also lacks top class. Too clumsy and lacks handling speed. I believe Struijk is a strong contender, as is Perr Schuurs. Sandler, Van den Berg, Doekhi potentially for the future.

  13. LB (2-3)

    Tier 1: Blind
    Tier 2: Tyrell Malacia, Owen Wijndal, Mitchel Bakker
    Tier 3: Erik Pieters, Patrick Van Aanholt, Mitchell Dijks, Jetro Willems, Daley Sinkgraven, Ian Maatsen

    LB is one of our weak spots, Blind is almost guranteed a spot and we all know his good (offense, passing, build up) and his bad (slow and weak in defense). Plus he will be 32 years old next year. However, we just do not have a player that can take his spot yet. Out of Malacia, Wijndal, and Bakker, they most likely will fight for the back up spot at LB. Peformance wise, Bakker seems to be the one that has the advantage but his build up play is just too weak, with Dumfries currently holding the RB spot, I just can’t picture Bakker playing at LB. Our build up will be so limited unless we switch to 5 at the back.However, if Karsdorp manage to take the RB spot, Bakker might be a good fit for LB. We really need one of Malacia, Wijndal, Bakker to make some huge progress from now to WC.

  14. RB(2-3)

    Tier 1: Denzel Dumfries
    Tier 2: Joel Veltman, Hans Hateboer, Rick Karsdorp, Kenny Tete, Lutsharel Geertruida, Jeremie Frimpong, Devyne Rensch
    Tier 3: Bart Nieuwkoop, Kevin Diks, Deyovaisio Zeefuik, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Ki-jana Hoever, Solomon Bonnah

    For RB, we are also in a decent situation,we do not have a super star here but we do have a lot of good options. Dumfries is almost guranteed a spot. The back up spot is really up for grab. Personally I think Karsdorp deserve the startup spot more than Dumfries, and I also hope Van Gaal give Frimpong a try as his form this season is really good. Rensch’s development is also key, Mazraoui is very likely to leave Ajax next summer, which means more playing time for him. I also want to point out a couple Tier 3 players. Some are under the radar but really having a good season. Nieuwkoop’s team though just promoted, is currently top of Belgian league and he is their starting RB. Diks also playing very well for Copenhagen both in league and Europe until he got injured.Solomon Bonnah is a upcoming star to watch, he might be our real deal at RB. At Ajax he is highly regarded then choose to move to Lepzig, he just made his Champions league debut at 18 and he might start to get more playing time next season.

  15. Midfield (6-7)

    Tier 1:Frenkie de Jong, Marten de Roon
    Tier 2:Davy Klaassen, Guus Til, Georginio Wijnaldum, Tonny Vilhena, Jerdy Schouten, Donny van de Beek, Ryan Gravenberch, Pablo Rosario, Azor Matusiwa, Teun Koopmeiners, Joey Veerman
    Tier 3:Jean-Paul Boëtius, Bart Ramselaar, Dani de Wit, Zian Flemming, Jurgen Ekkelenkamp, Mohammed Ihattaren, Ruud Vormer, Jens Toornstra, Kevin Strootman, Davy Pröpper, Marco van Ginkel, Adam Maher, Quinten Timber, Kenneth Taylor, Xavi Simons, Jorrit Hendrix, Jairo Riedewald, Gustavo Hamer, Carel Eiting, Ferdi Kadioglu

    For Midfield, we are also in a decent situation. We have a super star in Frenkie De Jong but we lack creative midfielders, and strong defensive midfielders. We have a lot of good runners. And that is why I put Marten De Roon in Tier 1. He is the only reliable DM we have. This means we have 4-5 spots up for grab. I think even Gini needs to fight for his place. Currently it looks like Wijnaldum, Gravenberch have an edge. And I think we only need one of Van De Beek, Klaassen, Til in the squad, or else we would have too many similar runner type of players. For the last 1-2 spots, it depends on what type of player Van Gaal wants, if he wants a deep play maker, Koopmeiners is the one. However, I do hope he test another DM just to back up De Roon, and that person can be one of Schouten, Rosario and Matusiwa. Also I want to point out a couple players in Tier 3. Ihatteren was the one we needed the most, the creative playmaker, however, his development is now in tatters. There is still one year till WC but time is ticking. After losing Nouri, I would hate to see we lose Ihattaren as well. Riedwald was decent last season and was moved to the DM role, however, he seems to lose his spot at Crystal Palace, if he can get time to play and find his form, he can be a contender for DM role as well. Kenneth Taylor suffered from the lack of rotation in Ajax, he is talented and might get more playing time if Ten Hag leave next summer. Xavi Simmons is another very talented youngster that made the wrong move at the wrong time, if he choose to stay for less money at Barcelona, he would be playing now and might even already get a call up in oranje. His next move is very crucial, if he can move to a team that he can get regular playing time to develop, he might surprise a lot of people and even get on the flight to Qatar. Another super talent if developed right that can help Oranje a lot in the future.

  16. Winger (4-5)

    Tier 1:
    Tier 2:Quincy Promes, Arnaut Danjuma, Steven Bergwijn, Cody Gakpo, Noa Lang, Justin Kluivert, Steven Berghuis, Anwar El Ghazi, Calvin Stengs,
    Tier 3:Javairô Dilrosun, Jayden Braaf, Naci Unuvar, Gyrano Kerk, Crysencio Summerville

    Winger is a position where all spots are probably up for grab. We have a lot of good options but no player’s performance has been superb enough to lock down a spot. Plus we have more options on the left but limited options on the right. Bergwijn is probably the strongest contender of all. Played both wings in Orange and played well, but he needs more playing time at the club. Danjuma is probably next on the list, however, I think he lacks chemistry with this team and he is a player that needs the ball a lot in his feet which does not make him a good fit when Depay is leading the front line. I think for this Oranje team his best fit is an impact sub from the bench. Then it is Steven Berghuis, he is one of the few true RW player we have. Just like Blind, Berghuis has his good (passing, creativity, lethal left foot) and his bad (soft, tends to lose his impact against tough teams, lacks speed as a winger), I don’t think he is our answer for RW but he can be a nice to have player on the bench.After that we have Cody Gakpo, his development went really well until he got injured, played decently well in Orange, if he can find back his form after he comes back from injury, I think he deserves a spot in Oranje and even start. If all those 4 take a spot, then we would only have at most 1 spot left. Noa Lang needs to prove himself on a bigger stage, a move seems to be needed. Justin Kluivert had a great start this season but got injured, if he can find back his form he can be considered. Promes played well again after moving back to Russia but he needs to avoid jail. El Ghazi needs to move to a club where he can be trusted and establish himself again. Rumour says he might move to Roma this winter. Stengs need to establish himself in Nice, after coming back from injury he is still adjusting. Also, a couple names need to be pointed out in Tier 3. Jayden Braaf just started showing himself on loan in Udinese last season but he got a bad knee injury soon after that. He is a very talented winger and is close to coming back, hopefully Man City will loan him out again this winter to a club where he can find regular playing time to develop. Naci Unuvar is playing well for Jong Ajax, he had a dip in form last season after coming back from injury but this season he is playing super well. He just need more playing time in the first team. Summerville started getting minutes at Leeds. He is a very explosive RW talent. If one of these young player make a breakthrough in the year to come, it is not impossible for them to get a spot in Orange.

    1. I believe Promes will not be part of the squad due to the court case. Bergwijn and Berghuis seem to be faves and LvG clearly likes Gakpo too. If Danjuma and Lang keep consistently producing the goods, they’ll be in too. I don’t expect a lot of surprises here. El Ghazi and Stengs and co really need to start performing.

  17. Striker(2-3)

    Tier 1:Memphis Depay
    Tier 2:Luuk de Jong, Wout Weghorst, Donyell Malen, Joël Piroe, Myron Boadu, Joshua Zirkzee, Brian Brobbey
    Tier 3:Bryan Linssen, Sam Lammers, Ernest Poku, Mohamed Sankoh

    Striker is a position where I think the squad is very stable. Depay is guranteed a spot. Weghorst and Malen are most likely sub options from the bench. Boadu needs to adjust himself at Monaco. The same goes for Brobbey at Lepizg. Zirkzee needs to work on his work rate and get in the penatly area more. In Tier 3, I would like to point out Poku and Sankoh. Both are very talented upcoming striker. Poku might gradually get playing time in first team starting from this season and next season we might see him breakthrough. As for Sankoh, he is just so unlucky, his talent is probably the same level as Brobbey and this season was supposed to be his breakout season, scored at the beginning of the season then got a season ending knee injury. He was supposed to get so much playing time at Stuggart this season, now we might have to wait till next summer which means he would only have half of season to get back his rhythm and prove himself before the WC begins.

    1. Forgot to talk about Piroe, he is on fire at Swansea, he is an all around striker, strong, good shot with both feet. However, he probably needs to move to a higher level before he can be seriously considered. If he can adjust to the next level with ease like Danjuma, then he might be going to WC. He needs to make the right move next summer.

  18. For next year’s WC, I believe the top contenders are Brazil, France and England. Then it is Argentina, Spain, Italy, Netherland, Germany, Portugal, Belgium. Denmark, USA and Serbia might be the dark horse. We are not one of the top contenders, but we would have our chance. This is almost certain Van Gaal’s last show, and I believe he will build a very strong team for us to contend.Lastly, let’s hope all Dutch players stay healthy for this WC.

    1. I think you can never rule out Germany. They’re amazing tournament players. As opposed to England. Spain will be at the top too. Italy or Portugal, they won’t both go.

      For me, it’s Spain, France, England, Germany, Italy (if they make it), Brazil, Argentina, Belgium as hot faves. Holland is dark horse for me.

  19. Agree on serbia being the dark horse. They have all right ingriedents, I would say and if they click they will be a suprise package in qatar.Certainly no big names but some of their players are in top form right now. Tadic (Ajax), vlahaovic (fiorentina hitman), Mitrovic (Fulham), Milinkovic-Savic ( lazio), Milenkovic ( fiorentina rising defender), kostic ( Eintracht frankfurt).

    Add others to this list Jovic (Madrid), Matic ( united), Gudelj ( Sevilla/Ajax), Pavlovic (Marseille- if you have watched this guy), Spaijic ( krasnodar/feyenoord). This could well be their dream team.

    I have Argentina as favourites this time around. they have a very balanced team including their GK Martinez. Brazil with Neymar is like England with Southgate. France should be in top 4 as well.

  20. For the Dutch I will say it again. The midfield holds the key to them becoming contenders. They need sneijder and vaart esque midfielders which they dont have.

    Was watching the 98SF few days back and man you can keep watching that game again and again. You need a dream team like that to win the WC.

    The thing about WC like we saw in the euros as well is all teams come fully prepared and that puts the stakes even higher. Competition wise, you expect it to tight given how teams like england, Itlay germany and even spain are improving. Its gonna be the team that has best package that will win. Brazil, Argentina and France are those team at the moment.

  21. I know it’s very anti-dutch and anti-van gaal, but if we set up with the mindset of conceding as few as possible, we’d have a chance of stealing this world cup. Blind, de vrij, van dijk, de ligt and dumfries as a back 5 with frenkie just in front. In possession it turns into a 4-3-3 with one of the wing backs going forward, out of possession, a back 5.

    Have Danjuma and Memphis run hard on counter attacks and win every game 1-0.

    1. When you play 532..your Rb should be karsdorp or Rensch…Both are way better than Dumfries…..Then you will totallly SU233KCKK..IF YOU PLAY dANHUMMA/..pERIOD…Donyell Malen is faster,better dribbler,bettter footballer than static non working Danhumma..

  22. Portugal and Italy drawn into the same playoff so only one can go through to the world cup. Gives Holland a better chance of Pot 1, but I feel like we’ll miss out still.

    The best case scenario is we’re in Pot 2 and draw Qatar, Group A is always weak.

  23. I watched Club brugge and RB Leizig and must say I like what I saw of brobbery. He started with silva up front in 4-4-2 and was a absloute monster. He used his big physic all along to his advantage and made brugge defenders look weak as an second best. The built up to first two goals started from him. For the first goal, he was sandwiched between two defenders but still managed to win the ball and set it up for forsberg whose blocked shot on goal was pounced on by Nkunku. The second penalty was directly him fouled in the box. He was also dropping deep and made busting run on the flanks which is unusually of him. Ran out of gas in the second half and was subbed.

    Brugge started with lang on the left and Dost upfront and to be honest they looked medicore and shadow of the team which drew with Psg and beat Leizig in the first leg. They sort of woke up after being 3-0 down and their only brightest spark I would say was lang but still he kept taking on one to many defenders. At times he was successful and at times waa easily defused. Missed one good chance when one on one with GK to beat. His angle was cut off of by the defenders and he had to shoot with his weaker left foot which was saved. His work rate as usually was excellent popping up all over the park but overall the team was just not up to par and looks like are on a decline. They seem to be struggling in the league as well.

    1. Danhumma was a flop against Manu…A weak Manu..Danhumma should get dropped and Lang could be the stand bye for left or right wing after Gakpo-Malen and Berjwin-Berghuis

          1. Danhumma could not do a SHI##T vs Manu defense,very weak defense..No work rate,No speed…M an united got raped by watford,liverpool etc…Danhumma could do a SHi@#3t against them…there was time i also bashed berghuis,didint support Berjwin…etc and supported Danhumma…No i regret it,He is no where close to Malen or Gakpo at left and pathetic compared to Berjwin and berghuis.. PERIOD…
            .Ohhh man this guy was scouted by liverpool and they understood that He is not liverpool level hence dropped signing him..

  24. I’ve been watching a lot of this Cambuur team this season, sort of like the Atalanta of the Eredivisie. Jamie Jacobs looks like a decent prospect as well, can’t imagine he’ll be there next season.

  25. @Jan

    LvG could easily pick Daley Blind for that position next to Frenkie. I wouldn’t put it past him.

    That would be a terrible mistake and counterproductive. You go the two route primarily for defensive cover and solidity and then decide to go with the least capable defender in Blind? FDJ already leaves a lot to be desired physically. The last thing that two spot needs is an unathletic and immobile personnel with just a footballing brain. If you are incapable of recovering, the big teams will expose you, guaranteed.

    Ake would be my first choice and depending on the stage of the competition and opponent, I would play de Vrij there, with de ligt coming in to shore up his spot.

    This positoon, in my humble opinion, should be the most experimented. But I won’t be surprised if LVG has settled for Blind already.

    1. I agree with you. I don’t think Daley should be in midfield anymore, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this coming period will be his last as starter.

      But Wijndal… I saw him play for AZ again this midweek and he’s blind. Not Blind. That would be Daley. But blind, as in no vision. Doesn’t see the man in the box. Shoots blind balls low into the area but there is no intelligence. His finishing is poor too. I think Malacia will beat Wijndal for the top spot.

      1. I do not follow Portual clubs closely but I am confused why we can close the gap on them. At this moment, Sporting is almost qualified for next CL round. Benfica is heading into next round also unless Barca can create an upset at Bayern. Porto is leading the race for second pot in the group. So they could potentially have 3 clubs qualified for CL playoff. Could someone follow the coefficient ranking explain to me the reason?

        1. The biggest reason is that the coefficient points from 5 years ago will be dropping off. Holland did almost nothing that year so we only drop 2 points while Portugal is dropping 9 or so points.

          Also, they rate wins in all competitions the same, so the fact that Holland have 5 teams in Europe and Portugal only have 4 is to our benefit.

  26. Ok guys thanks that answer mu questions
    So it’s 2 plus one play off

    It’ll be a really really nice to see three Dutch teams lin the champions league

    @jan btw are you able to block some of the people here ? Here are some people who are just keep messing around and with no respect and purposely spelling the of oranje players names wrongly continuously

    Sometimes you don’t have to be nice to some people

    I’D strongly suggest you to block or disqualified these people to bring back some peace to this blog

    I welcome debating discussing and even argument

    But to some people who don’t even have the least respect why would you tolerate them ?

  27. Watched Bacrelona and Villarreal. Depay had two great misses and scored one. Danjuma also had two great misses as well and had one assist.

    Villarreal is still missing Gerrad Moreno who is their no 1 striker while emery is forced to deploying two wingers up front in 4-4-2. Danjuma and Pino. For danjuma when he drifts outside he creates chances, but then he leaves that void in middle which no body is there to fill up and hence there is very minimal threat in middle and this allows defenders to double tag him drifting together out. This is fast becoming a problem for Emery as they anticipate the ball to reach the two strikers/ wingers in clear upfront from where they can finish off or build up to assist. Which again hasnt worked out to much of a impact with moreno injured . When he is the picture he provides that treat from the middle while danjuma can drift out and in. with Pino providing that additional threat from right playing out from the wings. That 4-4-2 changes to 4-3-3 in attack.

    This was the same story vs United. Dalot and Wan Basaka double tagged Danjuma as he drifted out and while they couldnt break the defensive line, the super subs for United came on and killed the game off.

    1. Villreal plays 442…The problem with Danjuma is that his poor work rate and lack of speed upfront..that left wing back of villreal is super guy who covers a lot at left,He is excellent..i would not be surprised Danjuma will be relegated to bench for the team sake and better performance…in addtion to that he is missing lots of chances not just Vs barca. ..okay that can be pardoned or excused..everyone misses..SO FAR DANJUMA CONTRIBUTIONS TO NT IS LESSER COMPARED TO BERJWIN,GAKPO,MALEN AND BERGHUIS…thats the fact..He makes team static ,his strentgh is lack of selfishness and good acurate cross…He fails in every other department.. HE DOESNT TRACK BACK WELL…thats not suitable for moderen day footballl unless your Messi,CR7 or Roben..

        1. @nah..wilson Less likely….What i said is that Danhummma is not better than Gakpo,Malen,Berjwin or Berghuis..To get a call and start game for NT…unai emry is failed caoch at Arsenal. where they sack you untill unless are terrible….unai emry has not have any other choice ,He has to start Danhumma the overrated guy..As i said Liverpool was behind Danhumma for some time and they found he is not the guy for Trophy competeing club…May be bottom table team or championship team Danhumma can walk in…also in NT we lack quality…when Gakpo,Malen gets injured Danhumm a can compete with lang to get in team…

          1. @wilson….””””depay, dumfries and now danjuma. we will see soon”””””””….
            1-Depay moved to center,he out performed dooosbast(overrated ),Weghorst,luuk,,,,Depay works his Butt off for the team..his work rate got him to better situsation now..any one who works hard cannot be blamed much..
            2–Dumfries is not better than Rensch and karsdorp…i dont like that at Depay he also works hard..when i see person works hard to complement his weakness i must shut criticizing him.. thats what i did both casees…
            Danhummma lacks that workrate,will he chanage????He has not given a clue about that…will he>>>/??untill then he should sit out of NT…
            B/W…due to his bigmuscles and it requires oxygen,Depay seems tired at second half..barca people doesnt want that…they might sell Depay as well…Villareal is no way close to Barca..

  28. Looks like Ajax is interested in selling Nered this winter and replacing him with Bergwijn.

    Also looking at bringing in Brobbey on loan, as Danilo hasn’t been a suitable backup to Haller. Brobbeys starting games now for Leipzig so we’ll see what happens.

  29. I hope PSV drop down to the conference league. They have no real chance of doing anything in Europa, and at least in the Conference League they could win some matches. Since all wins in Europe count the same for coefficients it would be better for the Eredivisie and PSV if this were to happen.

  30. Koopmeniners scored his first goal for Atalanta. Atalanta smashed Venezia 4-0. If he can continue with his current rhythm, he could be the missing puzzle in tbe midfield for NT. Playing in 3-4-3 also is good for him given he can adpot to different role compared to his DM/CM ( point back) role at AZ. If him and frenkie can form a formbiddle partnership in future, it will be a huge upgrade in the midfield. Koopmeniners already looks to be upgrade to De Roon..

  31. Berjwin is not in plans of another assembler coach conte… He must leave ASAP.. I think van gaal will go 343…
    — ——–Cillessen—-
    –De ligt—De vrij—-Virgil—-

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