Anderlecht v Benfica Preview: Last chance for John van den Brom and his men
Anderlecht need three points if they still want to play in Europe after Christmas. Same thing for Benfica, where the pressure to succeed is higher than in Brussels, if they want to qualify for the next round in the Champions League. John van den Brom and his men could use a good performance in Europe after their defeat against Charleroi in the Jupiler Pro League.
John van den Brom was announced in Belgium as an attacking coach, one of the main reasons Herman van Holsbeeck signed the Dutch coach. Second important thing was that the talented youth players would be given more chances. John van den Brom only managed to fulfil the latter. To be honest, combining those two is a very difficult task but Ajax showed yesterday that everything is possible, as long as you believe in it.
Anderlecht played against Charleroi with Luka Milivojevic, Sacha Kljestan and Demy de Zeeuw. 0% creativity! Dennis Praet, the only real number 10 in John van den Brom’s possession, played as a winger. Despite winning some league titles, former Anderlecht coach Ariël Jacobs got booed by the Anderlecht fans after he played with a defensive formation. Is John van den Brom scared to lose his job?
In John van den Brom’s defence we have to admit that missing players as Matias Suarez and Ronald Vargas doesn’t really help to get some creativity in your team. The Dutchman’s only positive news from this weekend’s game against Charleroi will have been the return of Ronald Vargas. The injury prone Venezuelan was brought on in the second half and created immediate danger. John van den Brom also needs to put Dennis Praet back on that number ten spot and use two real wingers instead of central midfielders or a left back like Fabrice N’Sakala.
That number ten position is also very important for the Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. The €5.000.000 transfer from Anderlecht will only pay off when John van den Brom starts supplying him. He had a terrible game against Charleroi but that wasn’t only his fault. Despite Dennis Praet’s crosses he didn’t receive one good pass from the three central midfielders. Today, some media also reported that Aleksandar Mitrovic’s grandfather died not long ago. Keeping this in mind and knowing he’s only 19 years old should give the Serbian talent much more credit from fans and press.
In the first match of the Champions League Anderlecht played Benfica and lost 2-0. Benfica didn’t need their best game to win the match and the early goal from Djuricic, who scored after 4 minutes, certainly didn’t help Anderlecht. The Jupiler Pro League champion of last year had a better second half where they should have scored at least one goal. Finishing is a concern in this Champions League campaign for Anderlecht. They’ve only scored one goal in four matches.
John van den Brom and Anderlecht should play their own game, something you would always expect from a club like Anderlecht. John van den Brom holds on to his midfield with water carriers and defending midfielders. Demy de Zeeuw is a little bit of everything but Dennis Praet is really necessary if you want a link between the midfield and the attackers. Sacha Kljestan is suspended this evening, that means that Youri Tielemans or Guillaume Gillet will get a chance. I would go for Youri Tielemans, John van den Brom will probably go for Gillet.
Fabrice N’Sakala is another question mark for this evening. He deserves to play after his good start with Anderlecht. Though, the left defender took a red card in the Jupiler Pro League and was suspended for three matches. Olivier Deschacht came back in the team so John van den Brom will have to take a decision. The experienced but slow Oliver Deschacht or the attacking and fast Fabrice N’Sakala.