Five things from JPL match day 18
A match to forget: OH Leuven – Standard Liège (Bjorn De Cock)
After their 5-0 win against Lierse SK we all expected another win from the leader of the competition. Michy Batshuayi had to start on the bench for Standard Liège because he arrived three minutes too late for the game. Guy Luzon is very strict as he also benched defender Kanu once for the same reason. OH Leuven started quite well in this game while Standard started without spirit. Nothing special happened in the first half until the last five minutes. First, Cerigioni took a red card what was a harsh decision. Not much later, Bjorn Ruytinx made a nasty challenge on Mehdi Carcela. The latter stood up and smashed Ruytinx in the face. Rutyinx was lucky with his yellow card and Carcela deservedly received a red card. In the second half we never saw anything resembling a football game – nasty tackles and dangerous challenges but no attempts on goal. A match to forget quickly but one the media have a lot to write about.
Junior Dutra and Hans Vanaken are gold for Sporting Lokeren (Bjorn De Cock)
Sporting Lokeren had a great win against Racing Genk this weekend. Junior Dutra and Hans Vanaken both scored a goal against Genk but they did more than just scoring. Junior Dutra is a scourge for every defender with his pace, agility and technique. Hans Vanaken is one of the few real number tens in Belgium. You could compare him with the attacking midfielders from the German football school. Hamdi Harbaoui was on the bench this weekend due to disciplinary reasons. Junior Dutra is a different type of player but is a more unpredictable player than his Tunisian teammate, with Harbaoui more a target man. Peter Maes, coach of Sporting Lokeren, has a lot of possibilities in his selection and especially a lot of quality for a club like Sporting Lokeren. Play Off 1 is a must this season for them.
The Rednic effect is in full motion now (Luke Harvey)
Mircea Rednic’s beginnings at AA Gent had been pretty poor. He had failed to turn the fortunes around of the squad who promise so much on paper but fail to deliver on the field. However things have picked up for the Romanian coach and his team now have four wins on the bounce and thanks to some unpredictable results elsewhere they are now on the periphery of the Play Off 1 spots. It was unthinkable just a month ago for a team who have struggled to live up to expectations but for a while have been considered one of the ‘big five’ in Belgium. Rednic finally has them playing the successful football the fans expect. Wins against Sporting Charleroi, Waasland-Beveren, Mechelen and now Lierse would once upon a time be expected as par for the course but recently the lines have been blurred as to whether Gent are a capable side. Their last four matches show that they are, but next week’s match with Anderlecht will be the biggest test for the side yet.
Bob Peeters need some points with his Waasland-Beveren (Bjorn De Cock)
Glen De Boeck got sacked some weeks ago at Waasland-Beveren. General manager Dirk Poppe never had a good relationship with the former coach. De Boeck believed that a general manager should be closer with his team then Dirk Poppe did. Waasland-Beveren hired Bob Peeters, who trained Cercle Brugge and KAA Gent earlier in his fledgling career. You could say that Bob Peeters is quite a similar coach to De Boeck, so the decision for Bob Peeters was a bit strange as Waasland-Beveren wanted something else. Maybe they thought that the chemistry was gone between Glen De Boeck and his players. We now see that Glen De Boeck wasn’t the problem at Waasland-Beveren. They need quality in January if they want to avoid relegation. An uninspired Waasland-Beveren lost against Anderlecht with 2-0 this weekend which leaves them second bottom of the league with ten points out of eighteen matches.
KV Mechelen struggling (Bjorn De Cock)
In the last few seasons, KV Mechelen was a difficult team to play against in the Jupiler Pro League – never the best team of the league but some key players and a good coach was enough to even let top clubs struggle against them. This season is quite different. KV Mechelen have only gathered sixteen points out eighteen matches, that’s only six points away from the relegation zone. After their financial problems years ago, they’ve put a lot of effort to get back in the Jupiler Pro League. Harm van Veldhoven and his team urgently need some points if they want to avoid a difficult end to the season. KV Mechelen had the reputation of winning their games at home, thanks to the amazing support of their fans. This season KV Mechelen have only won two matches at the once fortress “Achter De Kazerne”. Maybe it’s time that the fans of KV Mechelen surprise their players with a good old KVM-tifosi in the next matches at home.
Team of the Week 18: