Sorare and the Jupiler Pro-League. Part 1.
In this new series, we'll be dissecting the performances in the Belgian League with a focus on goalkeepers for Sorare. Which teams have been overachieving, and which team is underperforming? How have the goalkeepers been performing this season and will they keep their spot under the crossbar? Is it time to invest in a stack? Or should you be looking out to sell your Sorare cards soon? We'll be discussing it all in no particular order.
KVC Westerlo - Currently 7th.
The stadium of Westerlo is just over 10km from my home and yet I haven't been to a game so far. A real shame because Westerlo is doing really well as the newly promoted team in the first division. After winning from Standard and Anderlecht, the pinnacle of the season so far is a 0-2 victory against Club Brugge. Westerlo is nicely seventh on 1 point of the top six after its stunt victory last week and a handsome 12 out of 12. Two goals from Lyle Foster (eligible for u23) and a stellar performance by goalkeeper Sinan Bolat, 34 years old:
"My start this season may have been a bit difficult, but I don't need to prove myself anymore. In recent weeks, I have been growing back to my best form. It is now up to me to continue this form." -Bolat
Westerlo is proven to be a real added value to the league. They play all or nothing with six wins and five losses. A fairly big squad with a lot of speed and quality and a smart and ambitious coach: Jonas De Roeck. Talented youngsters like Maxim De Cuyper (on loan from Club Brugge) and my personal favorite Lyle Foster, already good for five goals and two assists this season. Giantkillers.
K.V. Mechelen - Currently 12th
Mechelen is heading for a difficult season. A season where it will be counting the points to avoid relegation instead of competing for the playoff spots, which was the ambition at the start of the season.
Their coach, Danny Buijs, is already facing the music from the media, fans and some internal criticism is boiling. Both architects of the successes of last the seasons have left for different teams. Coach Vrancken to RC Genk and sportmanager Tom Caluwé to Club Brugge.
For a team that is underperforming, Gaëtan Coucke, their first goalkeeper, is without criticism. He missed two games due to a small hamstring injury and was replaced by second goalkeeper Yannick Thoelen. In these two games, the Sorare scoring matrix was ruthless for Thoelen, he scored five and zero points.
"We need to score three, four or even five goals every week to win,' the coach told the dressing room. 'We don't manage to do that every game. 'We have to defend better, also take my responsibility in that." -Thoelen
The next two matchdays also promise to be tough ones. Next week, KVM travels to an under-pressure AA Gent. The following week it hosts a good playing Standard. They better get some points in those games to avoid ending up in the relegation zone. Unemployed?
RSC Anderlecht - Currently 9th
With the win over KV Mechelen last week, the crisis has been contained, for now. During the game, the supporters of Anderlecht joined the stadium 12 minutes late to show their dissatisfaction with the current playing style and motivation. The loss at West Ham was also a show of frustrated Anderlecht fans are.
Yet not everything is negative. As always Anderlecht has some real (raw) talent in their squad. Mario Stroeykens scored two important goals in the last game. Stassin is a young striker that plays for the second team and will get his chance very soon. Striker Fabio Silva, on loan from the Wolves, is the best player so far.
Van Crombrugge is the undisputed first goalkeeper. Verbruggen is a young and talented, second goalkeeper which I talked about in our other blog post.
Coach Mazzu, already under scrutiny since his appointment, opted for a defensive line of three instead of four defenders. A big issue of criticism by the fans. Mazzu might be changing to a four-defender team in the next few games and with Hoedt, Jan Vertonghen, Hannes Delcroix, and N'Diaye, Mazzu suddenly has four left-footed options at center-back. The unknown Moussa N'Diaye, a former La Masia player, is getting really good commentary, chances are he'll be getting his break in the coming games. The general consensus is that Hoedt might be losing his place. Mediocre. A few names mentioned here do not have Sorare cards yet, but might be interesting to keep an alert on.
Cercle Brugge - Currently 17th
Cercle completely missed the start of the competition. Whenever pundits are talking about the teams that have a high chance to be relegated they do not include Cercle Brugge. Cercle plays high-intensity, high-pressure football which is entertaining to watch. Nonetheless, even after they fired the coach, they are still in the relegation zone. It is their 10th coach in 5years. Cercle has had a difficult program so far, the teams where they should be winning points from, are in the coming weeks.
The results will have to come now. "It's now or never, but I'm confident. If we play like we did at Gent and after half-time against Union, we can't help but take points. Even though those will undoubtedly be completely different games." -Ghobo
Our frequent readers will probably know that Cercle is a sister team for AS Monaco. To compensate for the loss at Cercle Brugge in the previous season, AS Monaco pumped as much as €14 million in cash into the club.
In the first game of the season, the Brazilian goalkeeper Warleson was the first goalkeeper but that very quickly changed when Majecki (on loan from Monaco) was able to play. He started every game but with mixed success. It doesn't seem likely that Cercle will switch goalkeepers again. As I said earlier, AS Monaco is the boss.
Their next game is against Seraign, a relegation battle that both teams can't afford to lose. Moneytime.
KV Kortrijk - Currently 15th
Kortrijk is the second team that already fired their coach after a few games this season. At the end of the season, three teams, instead of the normal two, will relegate to the second division. Tensions are high and teams start panicking soon.
Kortrijk has been a team with two faces. Against all odds, they ended Antwerp's winning streak of 9 games.
This weekend an important game is happening. A derby and relegation battle between Kortrijk and last in the league Zulte Waregem. The match of the year for both.
Kortrijk is an interesting team to follow this year, not only because they don't have the team to relegate, but because there are some colorful players on the team. Some excellent attacking players like Selemani (injured for the next game) and the talented but unguided missile Lamkel Zé. Didier Lamkel Zé's antics are uncountable, but the Cameroonian can play football and help a team get points. Marco Ilic is the goalkeeper with the most saves so far, he started every game, the Serbian often saves the team from defeat or worse and already has three clean sheets. For a team in the basement of the league, a promising indication. His limited cards go for around 60euros at the moment. Excentric.
RC Genk - Currently 2th
Last season it became clear the team needed a big overhaul. Which they did, yet not as drastically as the pundits predicted. Some players were jaded and needed a new challenge. Bongonda, Ito, Dessers and Thorstvedt left. Tears were shed when Ito to Reims was announced, an unfortunate transfer for many Sorare players.
The biggest change was the new T1, Vrancken joined from KV Mechelen after a job well done. The players picked up the new attacking playing style fast and RC Genk has been dominating their games, resulting in the best attack of the league with 26 goals in 11 games. Playmaker Mike Tresor, arguably the best player in the league so far, has been impressive with 5 goals and 6 assists.
The "score one more goal than the opponent" tactic also results in quite a few goals against. Only three clean sheets for the "famous" Sorare goalkeeper Vandevoordt. Popular on the Sorare platform for his u23 eligibility and a wunderkind in Football Manager. His limited cards are currently going for 395 euros. His score in the last 15 games is exactly the same as the Cercle Brugge goalkeeper Majecki. Admittedly, Vandevoordt is two years younger than Majecki. Overpriced.