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Anderlecht running out of time to catch leaders

As we begin to close in on the end of the first part of the season it seems that some teams are almost ‘winding down’ but at this stage and additional points could mean everything come the end of the play offs – even if their worth is only ‘half’.

Friday Lokeren – Anderlecht

Lokeren can be reasonably assured of their place in the top six play offs, the minimum expectations from the side who just don’t have the quality to make a serious challenge for the title. Despite lining up with Hamdi Harbaoui and Hans Vanaken, the former an established out and out striker and the latter one of the best, in form players in the league right now, they actually owe their good performances to their capable and strong defence.

Copa may be a rather eccentric enigma, but Lokeren have only been breached 28 times which puts them equal third for goals conceded. A major part of this is Alexander Scholz, the Danish defender has been a revelation since his move to the club and his versatility means he can play on the left, right as well as the centre if the need arises. Dennis Odoi will be raring to go against his former club this Friday as well and with Anderlecht’s struggles you wouldn’t think Lokeren will concede too many.

Anderlecht are coming off the back of a relatively unimpressive 2-0 win over Mons where they did manage to get the three points but with none of the ease that you would expect from de Paarswit against the leagues bottom dwellers. They offered Mons a few opportunities to get into the game and perhaps a better team would have been more effective.

Lokeren will be looking to do an unlikely double over their illustrious opponents and if Vanaken can replicate his form, in which he scored two in a 3-2 win, then Anderlecht’s shaky team may be in for a rough ride. Although Guillame Gillet did miss a penalty to level the scores at 3-3 after previously converting a spot kick five minutes previous; Anderlecht’s penalty woes would require an article in itself though.

It will be an exciting match. Lokeren’s security in the top six will not mean they will ease off and they will be looking to cause Anderlecht more headaches. For Anderlecht they will be looking to close the gap with leaders and arch-rivals Standard Liége as much as possible in the next four games before the halving of the points.

Sunday Genk – Waasland-Beveren

There are not many teams left with something major to play for, but Genk and Waasland-Beveren are two who will be playing like their lives depend on it for the next month.

Genk are on the precipice of sixth place and hold a six point lead over Gent after last weeks great victory over Lierse thanks to a Julien Gorius strike. Had Genk lost that match then they would have been increasingly worried about dropping out of the top six at the end of the season, but three points virtually assures their spot in the play offs.

For Waasland-Beveren they managed to beat OH Leuven 1-0 and swapped positions with their relegation rivals and pulled themselves out of the bottom two for the first time in a long while. OH Leuven are hosting Club Brugge, and although stranger things have happened, it is unlikely the home side will get anything from the match so if Waasland-Beveren can go to Genk and even just get a draw then they will be well on their way to avoiding the possibility of relegation.

Waasland-Beveren took eighty minutes to finally find a way past Logan Bailly last week after the once-hyped Belgian made all the stops that people thought would one day be his bread and butter. It was Aboubakar Oumarou who scored his first goal of the season, and a more important one he may never score, who broke the deadlock and he will be hoping that form carries over to this week.

Genk are coming off a long trip to Moscow where they drew 0-0 with Anzhi in the Europa League and so the match will be played late on a Sunday – but a round trip from Belgium to Russia would take it out of anybody so Waasland-Beveren are primed to take advantage of the fact.

When these two teams met earlier in the season it was a 0-0 draw and in fact Genk have not managed to beat Waasland-Beveren in any of their competitive league matches since the side were promoted, so Waasland-Beveren will definitely take heart from that. If they can continue to attack like they did last week against OH Leuven then they may well be able to get at least a point from this match but ideally they need to start scoring more goals as soon as possible.

Full Fixture List

Friday Lokeren – Anderlecht

Saturday KV Oostende – Lierse SK
Saturday Sporting Charleroi – Zulte-Waregem
Saturday Kortrijk – Mons
Saturday Cercle Brugge – Mechelen

Sunday OH Leuven – Club Brugge
Sunday Standard Liége – Gent
Sunday Genk – Waasland-Beveren




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