FC Groningen – Match Report vs PSV Eindhoven 13/09/2020

FC Groningen lost their first game of this Eredivisie season at home against PSV. Danny Buijs’ side played a very defensive 4-2-3-1, playing with five and sometimes even six defenders when PSV was in possession. Gronigen would sit very deep into their own half when the visitors had the ball and tried to hit their opponents on the break. For Arjen Robben it was his first official game back at his old club. The Dutch legend unfortunately came off with an injury after 29 minutes.

In the 34th minute PSV opened the score through Cody Gakpo, who did very well with a lot of FC Groningen defenders around him. The hosts came back into the game into the second half after a big error by PSV’s goalkeeper Mvogo, but quickly conceded again. In the end it was Cody Gakpo who scored the 1-3 after a good pass from Noni Madueke.


  • 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

Daniël van Kaam

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 23/06/2000
  • Current club: FC Groningen
  • Career: FC Groningen
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Secondary position: Defensive Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Left

Daniël van Kaam played as the left defensive midfielder alongside Azor Matusiwa this game and even though not everything he did worked out, he really showed that he is a really talented player. Seeing that he used to play in a more advanced role as an attacking midfielder or right winger it wasn’t a surprise to see that van Kaam’s main qualities were when he had the ball.

The 20-year old midfielder liked to pick up the ball deep into his own half and often carried the ball forward. However he maybe didn’t do this enough, as he was quite invisible some parts of the game. Van Kaam displayed great technique being able to turn quickly with the ball at his feet. Van Kaam wasn’t scared to take on his opponents and used quick body feints and short bursts of pasts to dribble past the PSV midfielders. There weren’t a lot of opportunities for him to do so unfortunately, as PSV tried to press high and offered very little space in the centre of the pitch.

Van Kaam almost always tried to play forward and only played backwards passes when it was absolutely necessary. His passing, both short and long range, was very solid and he completed the game with a passing accuracy of 91%. He took quite some risk with his passing and it didn’t always pan out as he wanted, but he also set up a couple of good attacks. He was always very calm on the ball, but gave it away a little too easy at times.

Off the ball there are also not a lot of negatives about van Kaam. He is always scanning the area around him well and positions himself very well depending on where the ball is and where Matusiwa is. Defensively he also did very well, not winning every duel, but always putting in a lot of intensity in them. Standing at 5’9” van Kaam is quite a small midfielder, which automatically makes him quite vulnerable in the air, but this wasn’t a big issue this game.

Rating – A2

Daniël van Kaam played a decent game against PSV and I’m very curious how dominant he can be against lesser opponents. He was very neat with the ball and surely can make a step to one of the bigger clubs in the Eredivisie soon.

Jörgen Strand Larsen

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Norwegian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 06/02/2000
  • Current club: FC Groningen
  • Career: Kvik Halden (Y), Sarpsborg 08, AC Milan (YL), Sarpsborg 08
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Jörgen Strand Larsen played his first minutes for FC Groningen and impressed me quite a bit. I took a look at him earlier in the year when he played for Sarpsborg 08 FF and he did well there, but I wasn’t sure if he was ready for the Eredivisie already. FC Groningen played quite similar to his old club, with a very low defensive line, so he didn’t actually had to adapt that much. Against Sandefjord I though he had some steps to make physically, but against PSV he already did a lot better.

It was very noticeable how hungry Jörgen Strand Larsen was to show his qualities in his first match. He worked very hard putting pressure on the PSV defenders and really put a lot of intensity and aggression in his duels, which made his duels against PSV defender Boscagli fun to watch. He didn’t win every duel, but still did a good job being a nuisance up top, often protecting the ball very well and drawing multiple fouls. Him putting pressure even lead to an assist for Groningen’s first goal. After goalkeeper Mvogo played a bad pass to Jorrit Hendrix the Norwegian striker intercepted the ball and gave the ball to Suslov who scored the equalizer.

Like I pointed out in my previous report Strand Larsen is more than a tall target man who just holds up the ball for his team. He is very comfortable with the ball and likes to carry it forward. He was quite unfortunate with some of his first touches today, but really didn’t have an easy job trying to get to every long ball the FC Groningen defenders gave him. After losing the ball in the 57th minute PSV even scored, despite Strand Larsen tracking back all the way to his own penalty box. Also his finishing was quite unlucky against PSV as he missed the ball after a good cross from the left.

Rating – A2

If Strand Larsen starts scoring a bit more than he did for Sarpsborg he could be a great asset for this FC Groningen side. The striker is still only 20 years old and surely can make the step to a higher level if he succeeds in the Eredivisie.

Damil Dankerlui

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Age: 24
  • Date of birth: 24/08/1996
  • Current club: FC Groningen
  • Career: Ajax (Y), Willem II, FC Groningen
  • Position: Right Back
  • Secondary position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Damil Dankerlui didn’t manage to impress against PSV and one of the weaker links in FC Groningen’s side in my eyes. Dankerlui played as the right back in FC Groningen’s four man defense and liked to get up the field to support the right winger by making underlapping or overlapping runs. In the final third is where Dankerlui did best this game. He wasn’t scared to take on his opponent and did pretty well with good dribbling, ball control and quick bursts of pace. He put in a couple of dangerous crosses, but didn’t have too many opportunities to create anything.

Defensively however his performance was very poor. He barely won any 1v1 duels and was often too late making multiple unnecessary fouls and grabbing a yellow card. He ended the match only winning two out of ten defensive duels, which is simply too low. With the ball in his own half Dankerlui also was too sloppy. He had decent short passing, but when he tried to go forward his passes were very inaccurate. He tried a couple of long passes, but again with little success.

Rating – C

Dankerlui was quite dangerous moving forward, but too vulnerable defensively. He surely has to perform better to fill the gap that Deyovasio Zeefuik left.

Tomas Suslov

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Slovakian
  • Age: 18
  • Date of birth: 07/06/2002
  • Current club: FC Groningen
  • Career: FC Tatran Presov (Y), FC Groningen
  • Position: Right Wing
  • Secondary position: Left Wing, Attacking Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Left

The 18-year old Tomas Suslov came on as right winger after Arjen Robben left the pitch after half an hour in the game. In the 53rd minute Suslov scored the equalizer for FC Groningen. After good pressing from Strand Larsen and a horrible pass from PSV goalkeeper Mvogo Suslov got the ball in the box and calmly found the back of the net. For the rest of the game however Tomas Suslov was barely on the ball and his performance was below average in my eyes.

As FC Groningen didn’t have the ball on the half of PSV that much it is automatically a bit harder as a forward to get involved in the game, but Tomas Suslov was just invisible for most parts of the game. He put in a couple of crosses, but under hit most them, and he struggled a lot with left back Philipp Max. He won a couple of balls on PSV’s half, but was pretty vulnerable defending on his own half. Physically he surely has to make some big steps as he clearly lacks some strength.

Rating – D

It is difficult to properly judge Tomas Suslov, but this performance was below average. I’m curious to see what he can do against an easier opponent though.

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