KAA Gent – Match Report vs KV Mechelen 30/08/2020

KAA Gent got their first points after three losses in the Jupiler Pro League in a home game against KV Mechelen. The hosts were quite dominant and in the first half and opened the score in the 36th minute through Niangbo. In the last 30 minutes KV Mechelen mostly dominated possession, but they barely created any chances.

After Gent’s coach Thorup got sacked after only two matches this season Laszlo Boloni took over. Under Boloni Gent play the same 4-3-1-2 formation with the left central midfielder Niangbo acting like a left winger most times and second striker Yaremchuk also roaming on the flanks. Gent tried to press quite high in the first half, but didn’t manage to do it as much in the second half.

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, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Elisha Owusu

Player profile:

  • Nationality: French/Ghanese
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 07/11/1997
  • Current club: KAA Gent
  • Career: Olympique Lyonnais (Y), FC Sochaux (L), KAA Gent
  • Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Secondary position: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Elisha Owusu really impressed me against KV Mechelen. Owusu played as the most defensive midfielder and was positioned quite centrally. In possession he moved to the left or right depending on the positioning of his teammates. Physically he really stood out to me. The 6’0” tall midfielder is really strong on the ball and did really well under pressure. He protected the ball very well with his body and was surprisingly agile, dribbling out of very difficult situations in tight spaces. This really helped KAA Gent keep possession on numerous occasions.

Going forward, Owusu wasn’t that involved in the final third. His forward passes weren’t always good and he never really got in the box of KV Mechelen. Owusu seemed to have quite a limited passing range as he barely tried long passes and when he did they weren’t good this game. Looking at the rest of his technical abilities Owusu certainly has enough to offer. He often got the ball with little time to make his next move and played a lot of good first touch passes. He showcased good technique and was comfortable to carry the ball forward when needed.

Off the ball Owusu also showed a lot of quality. His defensive positioning is very good, he always moves with the ball making sure to cut off passing lanes in the centre. His job wasn’t to mark a certain opponent, but just stayed in his zone. When he saw an opponent making a dangerous run, without one of his teammates to follow him he noticed the dangerous situation and tracked back. Owusu didn’t often put a lot of pressure on KV Mechelen’s midfielders or commit to defensive duels, but just made sure they didn’t have a lot of space to move or play a pass to the centre. Most of the duels that he did commit to he also won, as well as his aerial duels in which he also did very well. I have my doubts about his work rate, since I saw him move back slowly a couple of times and now track back fast enough.

Rating – A1

Elisha Owusu is a great defensive midfielder and would certainly benefit from experience in one of the top five leagues.

Alessio Castro-Montes

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Belgian
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 17/05/1997
  • Current club: KAA Gent
  • Career: STVV, KAS Eupen, KAA Gent
  • Position: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Alessio Castro-Montes played as the right back for KAA Gent against KV Mechelen. The 23-year old full back is quite small standing at 5’10”, but this didn’t let him down is his defensive and offensive duels. Castro-Montes provided width on the right offensively and made numerous dangerous runs. Defensively Castro-Montes did a great job. He read the game very well and intercepted eleven passes on the right side. He liked to put pressure on his opponent quite early, not allowing them to turn. Castro-Montes also did very well in his 1v1 duels, always keeping his eyes on the ball very well. He was very aggressive in his duels, but only made two fouls with one of them being a smart foul stopping a counter attack.

The whole 90 minutes Castro-Montes kept making runs on the half of Mechelen. When he got the ball he would often dribble to the middle of the pitch, instead of staying near the sideline, which gave him more passing opportunities. After he played a forward pass Castro-Montes would almost always make a run to be able to receive to ball, often underlapping his teammate. These runs often caused a lot of confusion in KV Mechelen’s backline as left back Bijker and left centre back Bushiri were not communicating clear enough who should follow Castro-Montes. Below is the perfect example of Castro-Montes (#14) moving to the middle with the ball and making a good underlapping run.

His passing was okay, but he made his fair of mistakes with passes that he shouldn’t fail. He played a couple of good long passes, but didn’t get to cross very often this game. His only cross which wasn’t blocked was just a tiny bit too high for striker Kleindienst. With the ball at his feet he was very comfortable and he showed some good technique.

Rating – A2

Giorgi Chakvetadze

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Georgian
  • Age: 29/08/1999
  • Date of birth: 21
  • Current club: KAA Gent
  • Career: Dinamo Tblisi, KAA Gent
  • Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Secondary position: Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Giorgi Chakvetadze missed a big part of last season because of a knee injury and never really became a first team player again after coming back from injury at the end of 2019. The Georgian played his first minutes of this season against KV Mechelen and started as the attacking midfielder for Gent and got subbed off after 73 minutes. Chakvetadze is only 5’11”, but it was hard to get him of the ball with his low centre of gravity and his agility. He would often make smart runs between the lines the get the ball or move far to the flank to create an overload situation for Gent.

He worked very hard all game and covered a lot of ground putting pressure on KV Mechelen’s defenders and midfielders. He recovered a couple of balls on the half of Mechelen and did pretty well in his duels. In the 56th minute he put a lot of pressure on midfielder van Damme who then lost the ball to KAA Gent striker Kleindienst after a corner kick. In the 2v2 situation on the half of Mechelen Chakvetadze made a good run and got the ball on the edge of the box. He knocked the ball forward quite a bit knowing that his opponent would go for a sliding tackle, so he could get a free penalty kick. The idea was good and the first part was executed very well by Chakvetadze, but he started falling a little which resulted in a yellow card for diving instead of a penalty kick.

It was clear that Chakvetadze is a very talented player. He has great technique and showed that he has a great first touch with both feet. He completed most of his dribbles and used quick turns and quick bursts of pace to get past his opponents. He also showed some very good looking and useful skills to get past his opponents a couple of times.

Rating – A2

Chakvetadze really impressed me at times against KV Mechelen. I hope that he can stay fit and become a starter for Gent this year again so that he can improve before making a next step.

Anderson Niangbo

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Ivorian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 06/10/1999
  • Current club: KAA Gent
  • Career: OS Abobo, FC Liefering, Wolfsberger AC (L), Red Bull Salzburg, KAA Gent
  • Position: Striker
  • Secondary position: Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Anderson Niangbo played as the left central midfielder for KAA Gent, but acted more like a left winger. In the last few minutes before getting subbed off in the 87th minute he played more as a striker. Niangbo scored the only goal of the game for Gent. After a great run from Yaremchuk Niangbo positioned himself well in the box and finished with his right foot. Despite this goal I don’t think Niangbo had a particularly good game. The Ivorian was very sloppy in his passing and didn’t really offer anything offensively. His dribbles often failed and he didn’t put in a single good cross. He showed some alright technique and played a couple of smart passes, but it was clear that he didn’t feel very confident on the left.

Rating – C

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