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The Cooling Down: Talents à Grande Vitesse – Bosz mixes it up

In foreign media, Vitesse have become known as part of a running gag more than an actual football club from Arnhem. Whenever Chelsea sign a young, promising player, people suggest that the youngster in question ‘will be a great addition for Vitesse Arnhem’. A total of 19 players have been shipped from Chelsea to FC Hollywood on the Rhine since 2010 and the current squad contains five owned by the Blues. It saw the Willem II vs Vitesse game last week described mockingly as Ajax II (Willem II have three players from the capital on loan) against Chelsea II.  Vitesse’s success over the last few years is seen as a by-product of being part of the loan farm that is Chelsea.

But on Friday, against Roda JC, Peter Bosz’ men showed (again) that the club is so much more than that. Ever since the coach’s appointment in 2013, the Arnhemmers have been one of the most entertaining sides in the league. A lot of young players are given a chance and yes, some are on loan from Chelsea, but is it such an issue that youngsters you cannot buy or produce yourself are being loaned from another club?

How the two combine was shown perfectly in Vitesse’s first Eredivisie home game of the season at the weekend. The goal of the game was the late strike by Nathan to make it 3-0. The Brazilian Chelsea-loanee came on as a sub and made an immediate impact with his trickery, before dribbling past a player and curling the ball into the far top corner from outside the box. Nathan looks a great talent, similar to Lucas Piazon a couple of years back and one of a class that Vitesse usually wouldn’t be able to attract.

The assist of the game however came 12 minutes earlier and was courtesy of right back Kevin Diks, a Vitesse academy product and one that last season made his break through at the expense of Chelsea loanee Wallace. The through ball by the 18 year old underlined his vision and ball playing quality and in the Apeldoorn-born defender, Vitesse have a future Dutch international. Diks is an example of how, in the end, the quality of a player will always prevail.

The mix of Chelsea-loaned talents and homegrown/acquired players ensures Vitesse of a squad of a constant high level. Players like Eloy Room, Guram Kashia, Kevin Diks and Valeri Qazaishvili give the Vitesse fans players to identify with. And if one of these players leaves, as happened with Davy Pröpper this summer and Marco van Ginkel a few years prior, and a successor is hard to find, Vitesse can rely on a loan player such as Lewis Baker to ensure that the overall quality of the team doesn’t drop off too much.

Over the years, through this way Vitesse have had players like Piazon, Nemanja Matic and Bertrand Traore playing for them. While every club dreams of 11 local players of star quality playing week in week out, this might be a great surrogate of building a successful and entertaining side that the fans will love to watch. After all, however tribal football might be, don’t we all like to win once in a while?

It’s not over ’til it’s over: FC Twente continue in misery

If there is one club that would welcome a bucketload of loanees from a European powerhouse right now it is FC Twente. After years of success, Twente have been brought down back to earth and the way in which is brutal. It was only in 2010 that Twente were Eredivisie champions, with players such as Bryan Ruiz and Theo Janssen in their ranks. At the moment, admittedly only two games in, FC Twente sit in 16th place.

The only constant over the last few years has been the presence of a gifted left-footer in the squad, but first Dusan Tadic and now Hakim Ziyech (who has been involved in 20 of the last 21 FC Twente goals) have been unable to put a break on the downfall of the Enschedeërs. Due to financial mismanagement, FC Twente  have been forced to sell a lot of talent and the shirt is the only recognisable aspect of the force that emerged a few years ago and promised to threaten the Traditional Three.

This weekend, a new low was reached. ADO Den Haag picked up three points in Enschede for the first time since 1967, beating the Tukkers 1-4. It was hardly a surprise. Only until November 2014, FC Twente had been unbeaten for 27 home games, but since then things have unravelled. FC Groningen (1-2), Excelsior (1-3), Vitesse (1-2), PSV (0-5) and AZ (0-2) have been thankful visitors over the last year, as FC Twente have lost six of their last 12 in De Grolsch Veste. The synergy between the club and its supporters seems lost too, as the players were booed and captain Hakim Ziyech on his turn criticized the crowd for not supporting the team until the bitter end.

Only a year ago, Schreuder was the celebrated, promising new head coach of the club. After years as assistant-manager, the Barneveld native had gained the trust of the club management to such an extent that from 2013 on he was groomed to become the new manager. That trust was underlined with the five year contract the debuting coach was handed in 2014. FC Twente felt they had made a masterstroke.

Now, the coach is the unwanted symbol of Twente’s downfall. The drop off of the club has been spectacular since that summer in 2014. The financial mismanagement became apparent and points were deducted, a lot of FC Twente employees were fired and the team performance dropped. The latter led to fan groups calling for the sacking of Schreuder in the last months of the season and even the first training session of 2015/16.

In one way or another, Schreuder needs to lose the negative label he has and even though his squad is not nearly as strong as it was a year ago, an upturn should be possible given what is still there in terms of talent.

Cheerful times for El Ghazi …

Last week, a clearly frustrated Anwar El Ghazi refused to celebrate his two goals against AZ, putting his finger to his mouth, silencing the critics. This time out, there was an actual smile. El Ghazi did not play his best game for Ajax, but scored another brace against Willem II and is the top goalscorer of the league for now. As he said himself, he won’t be scoring at this rate for the course of the season – although we would’ve liked him claiming he’d go for over 60 this year – but El Ghazi should enjoy his rich goalscoring form while it’s there. In the end, it is the best way to answer his and Ajax’ critics.

… and Ousmane Tannane

After six months out of the team, Heracles’ favourite wonderkid was finally back in the starting line-up of the black and whites. And in the renovated Polman Stadion, he immediatedly made his mark with a sterling performance. Tannane opened the score with an outrageous free kick and constantly created havoc in the N.E.C. defence. The 22 year old reminded everyone what he is capable of. After a tough six months for the short-fused kid, who has had professional help to deal with his emotions, Tannane is now back and ready to take the Almelo team by the hand.

Linking up with gifted players as Iliass Bel Hassani and Brahim Darri, Heracles’ wonder trio showed no mercy against N.E.C., as the Nijmegenaren were swepped away 3-0. If the three can keep this form up, Heracles could be a pleasant surprise this season.

Vitesse 3 – 0 Roda JC
De Graafschap 0 – 3 PEC Zwolle
Ajax 3 – 0 Willem II
FC Twente 1 – 4 ADO Den Haag
Excelsior 2 – 2 AZ
PSV 2 – 0 FC Groningen
SC Cambuur 0 – 2 Feyenoord
FC Utrecht 1 -1 sc Heerenveen
Heracles Almelo 3 – 0 N.E.C.

# Team Games Points +/-
1 Ajax 2 6 6
2 Feyenoord 2 6 3
3 ADO Den Haag 2 4 3
4 PEC Zwolle 2 4 3
5 Vitesse 2 4 3
6 PSV 2 4 2
7 sc Heerenveen 2 4 2
8 Heracles Almelo 2 3 1
9 Roda JC Kerkrade 2 3 -1
10 N.E.C. 2 3 -2
11 FC Utrecht 2 1 -1
12 Excelsior 2 1 -1
13 SC Cambuur Leeuwarden 2 1 -2
14 FC Groningen 2 1 -2
15 AZ 2 1 -3
16 FC Twente 2 1 -3
17 Willem II 2 1 -3
18 De Graafschap 2 0 -5