FC GRONINGEN – MATCH REPORT vs. FEYENOORD (05/03/2022)

A young Groningen side managed a 1-1 draw away to an in-form Feyenoord team. Groningen started brightly, eventually taking a deserved lead in the first half, but as with any team playing at De Kuip, Feyenoord put Groningen under a lot of pressure throughout the match. However, Groningen, in their fluid 3-4-2-1, were impressive in the way that they managed to keep the ball for extended periods and limit a high-flying Feyenoord side to only 1 goal. Once Feyenoord equalized, Groningen seemed happy to defend their box and keep hold of the point. Eventually, the final whistle came and Groningen were delighted with the result, while Feyenoord were left disappointed. 

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

JØRGEN STRAND LARSEN

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Norwegian
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 06/02/2000
  • Current club: FC Groningen
  • Career: Kvik Halden (Y), Sarpsborg (Y), AC Milan (L), Sarpsborg, FC Groningen
  • Position: Striker
  • Secondary position: –
  • Preferred foot: Right

In Groningen’s 3-4-2-1, Strand Larsen was the lone striker. Predictably, Strand Larsen had to go through a lot of defensive work, nearly running himself into the ground. When Feyenoord had settled possession, Strand Larsen was responsible for screening passes into Feyenoord’s two central midfielders. He showed impressive commitment and willingness to press when Groningen lost the ball and when Feyenoord tried to play out from the back, constantly sprinting after players and back-pressing when the ball was played beyond him. On a few occasions, he managed to either win the ball back or disrupt Feyenoord’s play. This tended to happen when he could use his massive 6’4 frame to engage in physical duels. He also used his height to good effect when defending set-pieces, clearing more than a few away from danger. 

Near the end of the match, it became obvious that Strand Larsen was completely exhausted. He struggled to affect the game defensively as he did earlier in the match. Credit is owed to him for the fact that he lasted all 90 minutes when Groningen could have easily replaced him for a fresher set of legs. Perhaps that was a sign of trust from the coaching staff to leave him on despite his clear tiredness. 

On the ball, Strand Larsen started the match very well. In the first half, he was a constant outlet when Groningen won the ball back. He consistently got on the end of passes into the channels and got himself into 1v1 opportunities against Feyenoord’s center-backs. For such a large frame, he displayed surprisingly good dribbling ability, especially in those 1v1 situations. Physically, he isn’t the quickest or agile, but once he gets into his stride, with or without the ball, he is difficult to stop.

He struggled to utilize his size when holding the ball up against Feyenoord’s center-backs. Senesi and Trauner are good in individual duels, but Strand Larsen is much bigger than both of them. In some instances, he could’ve held the ball up and brought his teammates into the game, which would have been extremely useful when Groningen needed to relieve a bit of Feyenoord’s pressure.  

As the match progressed, Strand Larsen’s influence in possession started to dwindle. Feyenoord started to completely dominate the game, and when he did get on the ball, he was either totally isolated or struggled to keep the ball close to him. His exhaustion might have also been a factor. 

Rating: B2

It was very much an attritional performance for Strand Larsen, but it was always going to be difficult to be heavily influential against Feyenoord. To his credit, he worked extremely hard for his team out of possession and provided an effective outlet in possession until he started to wear out.

NERAYSHO KASANWIRJO

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 18/02/2002
  • Current club: FC Groningen
  • Career: Ajax (Y), Jong Ajax
  • Position: Center-back
  • Secondary position: Right-back, Center Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Kasanwirjo started as the middle center-back in Groningen’s back 3, paired with two older, more experienced players next to him. He was given license to be the more proactive defender, either stepping into midfield or sweeping in behind the defense. When he decided to step out from the backline, he tended to be just a second late, not getting there in time to affect the player receiving the ball. His positional decision-making was correct most of the time, but his little bit of hesitancy meant he struggled to impact the play. In particular, Feyenoord’s attacking midfielder, Guus Til, always seemed to have a second to take an extra touch when he dropped deep into a pocket of space or ran in behind the defense. 

Groningen spent a lot of time defending on the edge of their box when Feyenoord had them pinned in. In these situations, Kasanwirjo was positioned right in the middle of Groningen’s back 5 and was tasked with dealing with Feyenoord’s barrage of pressure. When it came to physical duels, Kasanwirjo dealt with Feyenoord’s Linssen quite comfortably, but his fortunes changed when Dessers came on. He was mainly culpable for Feyenoord’s equalizer, getting too tight to the much bigger and stronger Dessers, who subsequently rolled him and nodded home a cross from out wide. He probably should have been punished again by Dessers when he lost track of him in the box and Desser’s free header hit the post. 

Kasanwirjo’s ability in possession is where he stood out. Although he acted as a center-back defensively, he became the lone defensive midfielder when Groningen tried to play through Feyenoord’s press. His ability to receive the ball in the center of the pitch under pressure was a huge advantage for Groningen as they tried to control parts of the game. His teammates showed a lot of trust in him, giving him the ball in tricky situations despite the scoreline. 

Once Groningen had broken Feyenoord’s press and gotten the ball further up the pitch, Kasanwirjo moved back into his position in between the 2 other center-backs. He had considerable responsibility in dictating how Groningen would keep possession; it was his choice to either speed up the game or slow it down depending on the situation. As the game went on, his confidence grew. He started to attempt more audacious passes and invited pressure onto himself before twisting out of it. 

Rating: B1

Displayed a bit of naivety when defending, especially against some of the best attacking players in the Eredivisie. His qualities came to light when in possession, either breaking lines with his passes or keeping the ball in difficult situations. His athleticism combined with his calmness on the ball gives the impression that he would be well equipped to operate in a midfield role, where his defensive struggles would be less impactful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: