FC Groningen – Match Report vs Feyenoord (15/01/2023)

Arne Slot’s Feyenoord didn’t give Groningen a chance and inflicted a convincing 3-0 defeat on Trots van het Noorden. The two teams took the field with the 4-2-3-1, but with different approaches: Feyenoord allowed the central midfielders to actively contribute to the attacking phase. On the other hand, the hosts favoured a more conservative line-up with the midfielders more focused on screening than pushing forward. The goals from Orkun Kökçü and Santiago Giménez, but above all Igor Paixão’s first seal in the Eredivisie allowed Feyenoord to win at Euroborg with some ease.

Ratings:

  • 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

Thijmen Blokzijl

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Age: 17
  • Date of Birth: 25/02/2005
  • Current Club: FC Groningen
  • Career: FC Groningen/Quick 1887/Velocitas
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Thijmen Blokzijl played as a right central defender in the four-man defence deployed by Dennis van der Ree and, in fact, he played his second consecutive full match in the Eredivisie. It was not an easy match for the 17-year-old defender and the difficulties that emerged speak of a player with potential, but not ready in every aspect of the game.

Blokzijl is a right-footed footballer and shows remarkable agility, despite not being a short-sized player and being 184 centimetres tall. Blokzijl has a natural flair for playing the ball quietly and is a perfect profile for those who want to build from the bottom. Not only his neatness in passing is to be emphasised, but also his personality in leading the ball in situations where pressure is put on him. This allows him to be an important tactical pawn and to be extremely modern in the interpretation of his role. The young Groningen centre-back allows him to break through pressing lines and get into the midfield with some ease.
Defensively, Blokzijl proved to be quite effective in 1vs1 situations, thanks to his quickness in the legs and a rather pronounced tenacity. This allows Groningen, in general, and not only against Feyenoord, to be able to leave their centre-backs 1vs1 in the open field against the direct opponent.

Despite the very interesting premise, Blokzijl did not play a good game. Defensively, the 17-year-old appeared not very solid and was often inaccurate in defensive exits. Especially when coming up against Paixão and Danilo, Blokzijl was unprepared, often missing the anticipation or completely failing to contain the Feyenoord players. He often appeared in trouble on high balls and in the aerial game, also in this aspect.
In addition, on the occasion of Giménez’s 3-0 finish, Blokzijl was physically overpowered by the Mexican and was cunningly outmanoeuvred by the former Cruz Azul striker

Rating – C

Blokzijl is an exciting player for the future. He has an important personality considering his lack of experience and young age, plus technical characteristics of an absolute level that bode well for exponential growth. Blokzijl, however, still has to acquire some knowledge in the defensive game: improving the timing of exits and developing physically to be more effective in tackles. I believe that with good work on the defensive phase, which can improve as the matches go on, Groningen will have a gem on their hands.

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Neraysho Kasanwirjo

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Dutch/Suriname
  • Age: 20
  • Date of Birth: 18/02/2002
  • Current Club: FC Groningen
  • Career: FC Groningen/Ajax/Zeeburgia
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Secondary Position: Right Full-Back, Defensive Midfielder
  • Preferred Foot: Right

It was not an easy afternoon for Groningen: Feyenoord dominated the game and left little breathing room for the hosts. Kasanwirjo played a decent game, despite the final result, which hints at a growth toward the role of the defensive midfielder from his original position as a central defender in Ajax’s youth ranks.

Kasanwirjo is a very physically and muscularly structured footballer, 185 centimetres tall and with a physicality which is difficult to contain. We are talking about a footballer with distinctly defensive qualities who makes ball retrieval and shielding passes his trademarks. Kasanwirjo is a very dynamic footballer and, therefore, suitable for a two-man midfield. He tends to take initiative in defensive exits and not just defend positionally. This characteristic rewards him most of the time, but it must be directed and controlled: on the occasion of the guests’ second goal, Kasanwirjo was lured into the box by Danilo and left the edge of the box uncovered. This allowed Kökçü to easily go to the conclusion from a favourable position.

The Groningen defensive midfielder has an excellent range of movement and, when the game allowed, he showed off on a couple of offensive sorties. Kasanwirjo moves his feet quickly and, although he does not have excellent dribbling, he manages to make himself dangerous with sudden changes of direction that lead to him gaining ground and unleashing his physicality. I find Kasanwirjo a good passer who has a personality on the play and does not shy away from attempting the long passes.

Rating – A2

Kasanwirjo is a talent who has already established himself in the last Eredivisie and is showing great versality in playing in three different roles this season (defensive midfielder, full-back and central defender). The motivation lies in Groningen’s delicate situation, but also in how successfully Kasanwirjo combines the two phases of the game: he is one of the best tackle players in the Eredivisie and one who offers top-level defensive shielding. This, combined with excellent individual technique and personality in play, make him one of the most interesting players in props in the Dutch top division. The only unknown is which role on the field Kasanwirjo will decide to impose himself.

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