STVV’s strong streak continued against sixth places KV Mechelen in their 30th match of the season. The Sint-Truidense VV started off slow struggling to keep possession and create anything. Bernd Hollerbach sent his side out in a 5-3-2 against Mechelen’s 4-2-3-1 and played a really low defensive line. In possession, they just lacked a bit of creativity in midfield, with only Christian Brüls who was able to create something. In the second half, when they were 0-1 down, Shinji Kagawa came on the pitch which had a big impact. STVV took over control of the match and equalized after 61 minutes. In the final minutes both teams seemed okay with a point and weren’t willing to play super offensive to force a late winner, which lead to a bit of an anticlimactic end of the game.
- 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
- Nationality: Belgian
- Age: 17
- Date of birth: 08/05/2004
- Current club: STVV
- Career: STVV
- Position: Left Back
- Preferred foot: Left
With Junior Cacace leaving STVV and Aboubakary Koïta being injured, the 17-year-old Arnaud Dony made his debut for STVV at the end of February. STVV’s academy product already played for Belgium’s Under-16’s and Under-18’s and could have a bright future ahead. Against KV Mechelen Dony played his third match for the first team, which he did very well. After around an hour, he got subbed off, which his manager does consistently with Dony. The youngster played as the left wingback in STVV’s 5-3-2. In the first half he didn’t get to go forward that often though, since it was Mechelen who controlled the game. The few times STVV managed to go forward though Arnaud Dony showed a very good drive forward, providing the width for his team with his overlapping runs.
Logically Dony has a lot of steps to make physically. There is no data available on his height, but I estimate him around 5’7”. He seems to have quite a lean build and didn’t really try to get in physical duels against Mechelen. Defensively he still did quite well throughout the game though. He read the game quite well, always keeping the distance between him and his left-sided centre back, Lavalée, short and looked around him well. Dony also intercepted a few passes. The 17-year-old defender looked to have a good top speed, but was surprised on the first few meters a couple of times. Defensively he would often choose to make sliding tackles. This is obviously quite risky, if his opponent would manage to go past him it’s basically impossible for him to recover but in this game they were all successful. There were a few moments when STVV tried to press where it looked like Dony didn’t really know what to do. He looked a bit scared to step out of the defensive line to press Mechelen’s right back Swers. Because of this hesitation, there was a lot of space on the right for Mechelen since he was kind of standing in no man’s land.
Dony wasn’t able to show too much of his qualities with the ball this match. STVV played a lot of long passes towards their two tall strikers Hara and Klauss, instead of building from the back. He looked comfortable with the ball at his feet though, always asking for a pass. However, there were a few occasions where he needed a bit too much time before making a decision. He only put in one cross, which looked pretty good, but was just too short to reach on of his teammates.
Rating – A2
Obviously Dony has big steps to make, but the 17-year old played a decent match. If he improves physically I don’t see why he couldn’t make a step up from STVV to a better side in the Belgian league or even abroad in a few years.
- Nationality: Japanese
- Age: 22
- Date of birth: 05/05/1999
- Current club: STVV (On loan from Alavés)
- Career: FC Tokyo, NK Istra, Alavés, STVV (Loan)
- Position: Striker
- Preferred foot: Right
Taichi Hara played upfront with João Klauss against Mechelen and played a decent game, but could’ve offered more. For a more in-depth report on the Japanese striker you can read his match report against RSC Charleroi from around a month ago here. Hara’s highlight came in the 61st minute of the match when Hara made a good run towards the right. After he received the ball he put in a great cross towards the second post, where Clauss managed to score.
As I wrote in my last report the 6’3” tall striker is fantastic in the air. His height combined with his great jumping reach and good timing allow him to win most of his aerial duels which he did against Mechelen. Even if he doesn’t win the header, he still makes it impossible for his opponent to give a lot of direction to his header. Hara often roamed towards the left and right sides of the pitch, playing quite wide often. He did well in the short combinations here, but it also meant he wasn’t in the box when a dangerous ball was put in.
Hara wasn’t as involved in the game as when I saw him last time, but he also suffered from not having the hard-working Hayashi next to him as second striker, but João Clauss who is also more of a target man. His technique still looked solid though. He showed very good ball control and kept his cool in small spaces.
Rating – B1
We didn’t see that much of Taichi Hara this game but I also feel he could do a lot better in a different team, who play a little less defensive.
- Nationality: Belgian/Iraqi
- Age: 20
- Date of birth: 06/03/2002
- Current club: STVV
- Career: Standard, STVV
- Position: Centre Back
- Secondary position: Defensive Midfield
- Preferred foot: Right
Ameen Al-Dakhil started of as the right-sided centre back in STVV’s 5-3-2 but moved to the middle after Texeira was subbed off at halftime. As I said STVV played a very low defensive line and Al-Dakhil was often positioned around his own box. The 20-year-old played a solid match overall but could’ve done a lot better when Mechelen scored their only goal. It looked like he did very well winning the sprint duel against Nikola Storm but then he didn’t really react when Storm tried to find Cuypers who scored.
Besides this moment Al-Dakhil played a decent game. The 20-year-old is 6’2” tall but didn’t do too well in the air. He cleared a lot of balls with his head but struggled a bit with aerial duels. Even though his timing looked good, he didn’t show a great leap. He won most of his defensive duels using his body well and knew when to step out of the defensive line a couple of times, reading the game well. Just like when Mechelen scored however, he defended a bit too careful or even soft. He could’ve been a lot more aggressive in his duels.
Al-Dakhil looked very comfortable on the ball. He wasn’t scared to dribble into the midfield with the ball at his feet, although he wasn’t faultless in smaller spaces often taking touches that were a bit too heavy, which lost him the ball a couple of times. His passing was mostly good. He wasn’t scared to use his left foot and also played a couple of good long passes.
Rating – B2
Ameen Al-Dakhil played an okay match but looked a bit too nice in his defensive duels. He looked decent on the ball and could become a solid player for STVV this season.