In a battle for promotion to the Belgian Pro League RWD Molenbeek made a big statement against leaders of the league KSK Beveren. The hosts gave Beveren a big lesson in efficiency and tightened the battle at the top. After around 16 minutes Barreto gave RWDM the lead after heading a corner kick. Not much later though the same Barreto put his side in a tough spot after picking up his second yellow card from the strict referee. RWD Molenbeek kept it very compact at the back and in the second half they even became dangerous in a few counter attacks. In the 50th minute, they even doubled their lead through Challouk, who also scored a second goal fifteen minutes later. KSK Beveren did something back in the end, but it was too little too late.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: English
- Age: 19
- Date of birth: 04/11/2002
- Club: RWD Molenbeek (On loan from Crystal Palace)
- Career: Arsenal U18, Derby County, Crystal Palace, Derby County (Loan), RWD Molenbeek (Loan)
- Position: Striker
- Preferred foot: Left
Luke Plange played as RWD Molenbeek’s lone striker in their 5-2-2-1 with Bryan Smeets and Youssef Challouk playing quite close to him as attacking midfielders with a lot of freedom. Plange roamed to the wings pretty often and looked quite versatile being able to play with his back to the goal as a target man fairly well, but also making smart runs in behind his opponents. According to Transfermarkt and Wyscout, the English striker is only 1.78m tall but there is no way that this data is correct. If I would have to guess his height I would say he is around 1.83-1.87, as he looked a bit taller than Bryan Smeets who should be 1.83m. Physically he still has quite a hard match. He could definitely use some more muscle mass as he had quite a hard time in physical duels, even though he used his body quite well. Also, his timing in aerial duels looked a bit awkward at times. He had a few sprinting duels against the Beveren defenders. Without the ball, he looked fast with a good top speed but when Plange had the ball his opponents caught up with him pretty easily. After 55 minutes into the game, Plange was taken off.
In possession, Plange showed some more positive things. As I said he was fine with holding up the ball and trying to link up with teammates but also made some good runs and tried to take on his opponents on the wings. The 19-year-old is left-footed but showed that he has no problem dribbling and passing with his right foot as well, which is obviously always a good ability to have. A moment that worries me slightly came in the 50th minute, just before RWDM scored their second goal Plange got the ball from Challouk. It looked like the youngster had one or two moments to shoot but instead, he cut back and it looked like the danger was over. Luckily for him the following cross was still headed in.
Rating – A2
Despite not having a very good game and missing a bit of killer instinct and physical presence this match, I think Plange can become a solid striker. I’m not sure if he has Premier League potential, but I can definitely see him do the job in the Belgian Pro League or the Championship.
Zakaria El Ouahdi
- Nationality: Belgian
- Age: 20
- Date of birth: 31/12/2001
- Club: RWD Molenbeek
- Career: Rupel Boom, RWD Molenbeek
- Position: Left Winger
- Secondary Position: Right Winger, Right Wingback
- Preferred foot: Right
Zakaria El Ouahdi lined up as the right wingback in RWDM’s 5-2-2-1 formation, which turned into a 5-3-1/5-2-2 formation after the red card. The 20-year-old started off pretty strong but didn’t play a great second half. The youngster was taken off after 80 minutes as he looked completely knackered. El Ouadhi worked very hard throughout the match constantly moving up and down the pitch on the right side. It was pretty clear that he normally is a winger. In the first half he did fairly well in his defensive duels, trying to recover the ball as fast as he could by instantly making tackles. He also looked very alert on second balls and recognized well when he could move up to press and when to track back. In the second half his vulnerabilities showed a lot more. Especially in his defensive 1v1’s against Ismaheel he struggled a couple of times.
El Ouadhi is a diminutive winger, standing at 1.72m. It seems that he has quite a lean build, but there weren’t a lot of moments where he was in physical duels, so it is hard to judge his strength and balance. The 20-year-old looked quite quick and agile. Especially on the first meters he looked faster than most players on the pitch, even though Taofeek Ismaheel easily ran past him a couple of times after a small body feint.
In possession, it was also quite tough to properly judge El Ouadhi, as KSK Beveren just had a lot more of the ball than Molenbeek. El Ouadhi liked to play short combinations on the half of Beveren and often tried to form triangles with his teammates. He didn’t look very confident with the ball though, mostly playing quite safe passes. This might be because he is more comfortable on the left wing, where he often played last season. His technique looked fine but he made a few too many simple mistakes with his first touch, which just looked like a lack of focus.
Rating – B2
I have my doubts about El Ouadhi as a wingback, as he looked quite vulnerable in the second half. Of course, it was a difficult match with a man down, so I’m curious to see more of him.