FC Nordsjælland – Match Report vs FC Midtjylland 05/07/20

FC Nordsjælland lost 1-0 in a tight game where they dominated possession but failed to turn it into meaningful shots on target, with Jesper Hansen remaining largely untested in the FC Midtjylland goal.

FC Nordsjælland adopted their usual 3-4-2-1 formation with Mikkel Damsgaard deployed as a false 9 instead of an out-and-out striker. FC Midtjylland lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, going ahead through a heavily deflected free-kick early in the second-half before finishing the match with 10 men after Frank Onyeka received a second yellow card for an altercation in stoppage time.

Ratings

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Mohammed Kudus

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Ghanaian
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 02/08/2000
  • Current Club: FC Nordsjælland
  • Career: Right to Dream (Y), FC Nordsjælland
  • Position: False 9
  • Secondary Position: Centre or Attacking Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Left

Kudus was playing in a central midfield pivot rather than as the false nine where he has often been found this season, this allowed him to get on the ball and influence the build-up play more but reduced his goal threat which has been key for FC Nordsjælland this season. He started to push into more advanced positions late on and nearly scored the equaliser, hitting the crossbar with a shot from outside the box.

He is so effective at evading pressure and retaining possession using a combination of his low centre of gravity and impressive upper body strength that allows him to hold opponents off. His close control in tight areas is very good and he consistently used his first touch well to open up his body, create space and give himself a good view of the pitch and his passing options.

His passing was accurate and progressive and he displayed good vision on a number of occasions with precise long balls to the feet of his teammates. He is clearly playing with confidence at the moment as he was attempting, and executing, passes with high degrees of difficulty using both feet. This was particularly important as the FC Midtjylland midfield had obviously been instructed to get bodies round him when he was on the ball, limiting the space for him to dribble into and suppressing his ball carrying abilities.

Out of possession he was physical and aggressive in his defensive work but showed his naïvety a few times when being sucked into challenges and either giving away a foul or being caught out of position high up the pitch. He also drew a lot of fouls, though, and covered a lot of ground with his work rate and energy.

Rating – A1

Kudus is ready for the next step, he excelled both technically and physically in this game and it will be great to see how his skillset develops and improves at a higher level with Ajax who he has just signed for. We have a full player report on him here.

Mikkel Damsgaard

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Danish
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 03/07/2000
  • Current Club: FC Nordsjælland, moving to Sampdoria in the summer
  • Career: FC Nordsjælland, Sampdoria
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Secondary Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Damsgaard was deployed as the false nine in this game, dropping deep to get on the ball and link the play with the wingers who had pushed higher up the pitch. He is a very technically gifted player, showing great vision with well-weighted through balls in behind and displaying his skill and close control when skipping past challenges .

He is quite small in stature with a very sleight build so there is a danger he would struggle up against more physical players. However, his movement is so sharp and he is so good at moving past opponents that they couldn’t get close enough to him to cause him problems.

He was very effective at dropping between the lines and using his spacial awareness to receive the ball on the turn, either looking for the pass in behind or driving into space and attempting a shot from the edge of the box. One area for improvement is his crossing as he attempted multiple in this game but struggled to generate both pace and elevation and too often failed to beat the first man.

Rating – A1

Damsgaard has already agreed a move to Sampdoria this summer and it will be very exciting to see how he fares in Serie A, the pace should suit him and allow his technical ability to shine.

Ivan Mesik

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Slovakian
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 01/06/2001
  • Current Club: FC Nordsjælland
  • Career: Spartak Trnava, FC Nordsjælland
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Two-footed

Mesik played well on the left of the back three. He is a tall, physical defender who impressed with his aerial dominance and composure on the ball. He showed good positional awareness to cover the wide areas when Diomande had pushed forward from left wing-back but was slow in getting back into the team structure at times after possession losses.

On the ball he was calm and composed when playing out from the back under pressure but he gave possession away needlessly a few times with misplaced passes. In the second half he began to play further up the pitch, providing an extra attacking threat by making underlapping runs inside the winger. This caused problems for Midtjylland, with one such run leading to Mesik shooting narrowly over the bar from just outside the box.

He defended aggressively and liked to engage high up the pitch, winning the majority of his defensive duels by using his physicality to dispossess his opponent and giving Nordsjælland possession in advanced areas. He did well in 1v1 situations by keeping active and not planting his feet which allowed him to react quickly to his opponents movements.

Rating – A2

Mesik is doing exceptionally well considering he is still adapting to a new league, continued first-team football should see him develop into a top talent.

Kamal Deen Sulemana

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Ghanaian
  • Age: 18
  • Date of birth: 15/02/2002
  • Current Club: FC Nordsjælland
  • Career: Right to Dream (Y), FC Nordsjælland
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Kamaldeen played on the left of the front three, exciting and frustrating in equal measure in this match. One of his best attributes is his explosive pace which he used to good effect when making runs in behind the defence, these runs are almost impossible to track and his acceleration means he is able to start from in front of the defensive line and not on the last shoulder.

He is very direct with the ball at his feet, always wanting to run at people and take them on but he needs to know when to utilise this skill and when to release the ball. He has great balance and agility which allows him to skip past challenges and his ability to go down the outside towards the byline or cut inside onto his stronger right foot makes him very unpredictable to defend against. He is quite lightweight and was eased off the ball a few times but is still developing physically at just 18.

He worked hard and was committed to challenges but was unfortunate to give away the free-kick that led to the only goal of the game. He did well to track back in trying to help out the defence but got the wrong side of his opponent and made a rash challenge. This is something that should be encouraged and channelled, though, rather than criticised.

Rating – A2

Kamaldeen is another very promising player whose development will be interesting to watch, still quite raw but has the potential and individual talent to light up a game.

Magnus Kofod Andersen

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Danish
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 10/05/1999
  • Current Club: FC Nordsjælland
  • Career: FC Nordsjælland
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Andersen playing alongside Kudus in the midfield pivot and his defensive discipline was key in giving Kudus the creative freedom to impact the game going forward. He is not the most physical player but he held his position well and provided quiet protection to the defence which was effective in a game where FC Nordsjælland dominated possession.

He is very reliable in possession, completing almost all of his passes with mostly one or two-touch play that helped maintain the tempo of the game. He played a lot of lateral passes to the wing-backs but picked the right moments to play the ball forwards and was accurate when progressing it through the lines.

Rating – A2

Andersen is a calm and dependable presence in the centre of midfield and is very important to this team, looking increasingly ready to be tested at a higher level.

Peter Vindahl Jensen

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Danish
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 16/02/1998
  • Current Club: FC Nordsjælland
  • Career: Lyngby BK (Y), FC Nordsjælland
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Preferred foot: Right

Vindahl, had a very quiet game in the FC Nordsjælland goal, rarely being called into action and very unlucky to concede a deflected goal he had no chance of stopping. Despite his 6’5 frame he was quick off his line and had a very high starting position which allowed him to claim balls in behind with minimal fuss. He showed good confidence and the reduced crowd made it possible to hear him being very vocal with the defence, constantly communicating and organising.

In possession he positioned himself just outside his box, giving another option off the ball when building from the back, and he was calm and accurate with his short passing. However, his mid and long-range passing needs work as he was too often inaccurate when trying to play more difficult passes to bypass the high press. This can be quite limiting in a team committed to playing out from the back so must be improved if he is to making the goalkeeping position his own long-term.

Rating – B1

Very hard to judge a goalkeeper on a game where they did not make a save of note, though there was nothing to suggest he is not ready for regular game time at this level.

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