Latin flair has Club Brugge on the rise

“Are you watching Anderlecht?” was the chant that rang around Stade Le Canonnier from the travelling Club Brugge fans after Tom De Sutter put the side 3-0 up in a dominant display.

Nicolas Castillo would add a fourth, his sixth in the league, and Nicolas Perez would score a consolation for Royal Mouscron-Peruwelz but the matter had long been decided. Anderlecht fans may smile somewhat knowingly, their rival fans singing songs about them when they aren’t even present – but the smartest Anderlecht fan would have been watching, and perhaps even worrying.

Anderlecht had dispatched KV Kortrijk the day prior but not nearly with the same kind of panache that Club Brugge managed. Kljestan had seemingly settled the contest with a late third goal to put Anderlecht 3-1 up but Pavlovic’s late goal caused some tense moments amongst the travelling support as Anderlecht held on. After 13 rounds Anderlecht lead the way by 2 points from Club Brugge – but it’s the latter who are in good form.

The Brugge team last lost in the league all the way back in August when a 3-1 defeat to Mechelen seemed to have most believing Anderlecht had no serious challengers to the league this season. Since then they have won 4 and drew 4 of their next 8 league games rocketing them up the table. There has been a certain Latin flair to Club Brugge’s games with South American duo Nicolas Castillo and Felipe Gedoz terrorising defenders while the ageing Victor Vazquez continues to demonstrate his class – his defence unlocking capabilities transforming this Brugge team into a more fearsome mould. Jose Izquierdo enters late on from the bench and the Colombian’s tenacity destroys what is left of the defender’s confidence.

The victory against Royal Mouscron-Peruwelz, who haven’t won in September or October in all competitions, was as eye-opening as it was routine. At the start of the season the newly promoted team may have had designs on upsetting the apple cart and seeing off the illustrious Club Brugge – but those dreams were clearly folly as Club Brugge dominated from the outset.

The control of the ball was exemplary, there was just an air of assurance from the away team from the moment the game began. It wasn’t a mesmerising game. There was no fast paced ball moving that you may see in the Spanish or German leagues, Club Brugge seemed to hold onto the ball and wait for the right time to strike. The attacking front three of Castillo, Gedoz and Refaelov buzz around and look for space as Victor Vazquez effortlessly finds time and is protected by Timmy Simons and Ruud Vormer like an offensive line protect their quarterback.

On the rare occasions that goalkeeper Mat Ryan was called into action he was alert and agile, proving himself as the best goalkeeper in the league. Club Brugge seem to be a well oiled package. They have a sturdy defence while also contributing the most goals so far this season. Last season ended up as a disaster but with Standard a complete mess and Anderlecht unable to stop the rot this could be Club Brugge’s best opportunity to make a realistic tilt at the title.

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