RSC Anderlecht – Match Report vs. KAS Eupen (06/02/2022)

Boxing Day came really early this year. In the match between RSC Anderlecht and KAS Eupen the score was already 2-1 after just thirteen minutes. Not because of one, not because of two, but because of three huge mistakes in build up. Joshua Zirkzee was the first one to receive a present. Just three minutes into the game centre back Jonathan Heris kept the ball too long and Zirkzee blocked his pass around the halfway line and stayed cool in front of the goalkeeper. KAS Eupen didn’t learn from their mistake, because just a few minutes later left back Gnaka played a horrible pass through the middle. Zirkzee’s strike partner Kouamé intercepted and scored. Eupen wasn’t the only team to mistakes in the build up though. Just five minutes after Gnaka’s mistake Anderlecht’s Debast played a pass to Majeed Ashimeru in his own box. Ashimeru tried to clear the ball to the side, but after a block from Stef Peeters, Prevljak did something back. Vincent Kompany’s side didn’t give the game away though. Around ten minutes later Zirkzee gave Anderlecht a comfortable 3-1 lead with a stunner of a goal. In the second half Anderlecht slowed down the tempo and didn’t have any problems with Eupen. In the final few minutes they even scored a fourth goal through substitute Benito Raman.

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

Joshua Zirkzee

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 22/05/2001
  • Current club: RSC Anderlecht (On loan from FC Bayern Münich)
  • Career: ADO Den Haag (Y), Feyenoord (Y), FC Bayern Münich, Parma (Loan), RSC Anderlecht (Loan)
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

Vincent Kompany sent his side out in a 4-4-2 formation with Joshua Zirkzee as left-sided striker next to Christian Kouamé. The Dutch striker played a really solid game and scored two good goals. In the third minute, Zirkzee put good pressure on centre back Heris and recovered the ball. After a long run he stayed cool in the one on one with Eupen’s goalkeeper and finished with his left foot. His second goal of the game was an absolute beauty. After a cross from Anderlecht’s right back Murillo was deflected, Zirkzee placed the ball in the corner with a lovely overhead kick.

Ignoring his two goals Joshua Zirkzee put in a very good performance. In games I’ve seen him earlier this season I thought he often had weaker phases in the game, where he looked quite absent at times. Against Eupen however, he looked very lively and stayed consistent throughout the whole game. He often dropped back to collect the ball, playing with his back against the goal and showed good hold-up play. He played a lot of good one-touch passes with both feet and had the awareness to turn with the ball when he had the space. Zirkee’s passing was fine overall. As I said he played a lot of one-touch passes when dropping back, but he tried some smart through passes as well. Most of his passes were over a short range, and the one long pass he tried missed its target completely. The 6’4” tall striker seems to have a pretty lean build, but did well in physical duels shielding the ball well with his frame.

Technically Zirkzee did very well too. He looked very comfortable on the ball and operated very well in the small spaces. The 20-year-old is right-footed, but has a very good left foot as well. He showed this multiple times, while dribbling and even with a very powerful shot from outside the box, which just went over the bar.

Rating – A2

Joshua Zirkzee is having a very strong season so far for Anderlecht with fourteen goals and eight assists so far. I hope can get another loan spell in one of the top five leagues next season.

Yari Verschaeren

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Belgian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 12/07/2001
  • Current club: RSC Anderlecht
  • Career: RSC Anderlecht
  • Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Secondary position: Right Wing, Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Yari Verschaeren played as the right midfielder in Anderlecht’s 4-4-2 formation and played a fine game. The young Belgian didn’t have too much impact in the final third but had some moments where he showed his technical abilities and intelligence. For a right midfielder in a 4-4-2 Verschaeren had quite some freedom to stay forward and roam around the pitch. Centre midfielder Josh Cullen would often drop back a line, which gave the wide midfielders some more attacking freedom. I felt like Verschaeren was the most dangerous when he used this freedom, making smart diagonal runs to the left side of the pitch in behind Eupen’s defence.

Standing at 5’8” Yari Verschaeren is a very agile player. He has good balance, which combined with his low centre of gravity makes him very hard to get off the ball, even though he isn’t very strong. Verschaeren has decent pace, especially on the first few meters with the ball, and always keeps the ball close while accelerating. The 20-year-old turns quickly when he is sprinting or while taking his first touch. He has no problem operating in small spaces with his quick feet. In the 24th minute, he showed his composure and awareness on the ball. Verschaeren had the ball at the edge of the box and found Murillo who was making an overlapping run on the right with a smart pass. Murillo then found Zirkzee with a cross, who scored.

Verschaeren’s passing looked fine overall. He mostly played it short and looked for short combinations on Eupen’s half. He put in a few dangerous crosses, but was a little unlucky that no one was there to convert them. Nearing the end of the game there was one moment where Verschaerens concentration seemed to drop for a second, as he played a poor pass back to Magallan, who then stopped Eupen’s striker from going one on one with Anderlecht’s goalkeeper.

Rating – A2

I think Yari Verschaeren would do a lot better as number ’10’ instead of on the right. The Belgian is not the type of player to constantly take on his direct opponent but is very smart and good in small spaces. He has a lot of potential but needs to have more impact.

Sergio Gómez

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 04/09/2000
  • Current club: RSC Anderlecht
  • Career: FC Barcelona (Y), Borussia Dortmund, SD Huesca (Loan), RSC Anderlecht
  • Position: Left Back
  • Secondary position: Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

Sergio Gómez saw a lot of the ball against KAS Eupen and played a fine match. The left back saw a lot of the ball and covered a great amount of ground almost covering the whole left flank, with Rafaelov sitting quite narrow. Defensively there wasn’t a lot to do for Gómez, he had a few defensive duels where he didn’t look fantastic but it never caused Anderlecht any trouble. The Spaniard made a couple of good interceptions on his own half, reading the game well.

Josh Cullen dropping back as a third centre back giving Gómez a lot of space to move forward with left midfielder Rafaelov sitting a little more narrow.

With his corners and indirect free kicks Gómez showed to have a great left foot, but he wasn’t very dangerous from open play against Eupen. The away side was happy to sit back and there wasn’t a lot of space for the left-back. He put in a few good crosses but like Verschaeren’s crosses they just weren’t good enough. His passing was fine against Eupen, barely making any mistakes, often looking for the forward pass. Technically Gómez also looked fine. His first touches and dribbling were both good, but he struggled with his dribbling at high pace. Often taking a touch that was too heavy and could be easily intercepted by a defender.

Rating – A2

Just like Zirkzee and Verschaeren I can see Gómez making a step to one of the top five leagues in the future. He has an enormous forward drive with solid technique. He looked a bit hesitant in 1v1 duels defending, but he didn’t have to do enough to judge him properly on that aspect.

Zeno Debast

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Belgian
  • Age: 18
  • Date of birth: 24/10/2003
  • Current club: RSC Anderlecht
  • Career: RSC Anderlecht
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

With Taylor Harwood-Bellis joining Stoke City and Hannes Delcroix going off injured against Cercle Brugge last week, Zeno Debast made his debut in the starting lineup against KAS Eupen. Debast looked quite nervous in the first minutes of the game and played a big role in KAS Eupen’s goal. In the 13th minute Debast played the ball to Ashimeru in his own box. The midfielder tried to clear the ball to the side, but his pass was blocked by Peeters and fell in front of Smail Prevljak who scored. Ashimeru could have turned quite easily in this situation but shouldn’t have received this pass in the first place.

Debast recovered quickly from this moment and looked a lot more confident in the second half. The 18-year-old defender has quite an impressive physique for a player his age, standing at 6’3”, but could do with some extra muscle mass. He had some interesting physical duels with Eupen’s striker Julien Ngoy, which he had a hard time with. Debast looked aggressive in his duels and wasn’t afraid to step out of the defensive line to press a bit higher up the pitch. I can see him struggling against faster and more agile opponents. Debast seemed to turn quite slow and is not the fastest on the first meters.

On the ball Debast didn’t look all too confident. He mostly played simple passes and his longer passes were inconsistent. He was quite slow at making decisions, especially on Eupen’s half there were some moments where he just took too long with his pass.

Rating – B2

It was an okay performance by the young centre back. It mainly looked like he needs to improve on the ball as he looked quite vulnerable at times.

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