Sorare and the Jupiler Pro-League. Part 2.
Here we go with part two of our Sorare blog post about the Jupiler Pro-League. We'll be talking about six random teams and we wouldn't be ChasingChilavert if we didn't talk about the goalkeepers.
We've already done part 1, here we put KV Mechelen, Anderlecht, KV Kortrijk, Cercle Brugge, RC Genk, and Westerlo under the magnifying glass.
Club Brugge - Currently 3th
A lot of ink has been spilled on Club Brugge in the last few weeks.
They broke the Belgian transfer record when they bought striker Roman Yaremchuk, who is currently on the bench for one of the best strikers in the league at the moment, Ferran Jutgla. Bruges' Champions League campaign can not go unremarked. Winning 3 of the 4 games and a historical qualification for the next round. Four games played, four clean sheets and approximately a million saves made. A feat that can't go unnoticed. Simon Mignolet, 34 years old and at the height of his second career, has been performing very strongly since last season's playoffs where he had a big hand in winning the title over Union. Mignolet is being named one of the favorites to win the Belgian Golden Boot award. An award stretching the calendar year, not the football season. Michel Preud'homme was the last goalkeeper that won the award in 1989! Let's hope he can take it home, he is on a lonely high level and it is refreshing to see great goalkeeping being rewarded. Because Alfred Schreuder left to manage Ajax, Club Brugge looked and found a new coach, the fairly inexperienced Carl Hoefkens, who was already at the club as T2. Who is of course doing a superb job. It's tough to pinpoint Bruges' best players so let's highlight a few of my favorites: Casper Nielsen came over from Union and has been absolutely incredible. The fast winger Skov Olsen, a transfer from last winter, is a punishment for every opponent. And what about the 19-year-old, left-back Sylla? But also important is a big bench full of quality players, Noa Lang anyone?
Let's hope they'll get a doable draw in the next round of the Champions League and make Belgium great again. Superior.
Charleroi - Currently 10th Charleroi is one of the most financially sound clubs in the country. With a budget that has been in the green for several years, the club is doing well.
A few weeks ago, we were still talking about a crisis at the Carolos, who finally caused a surprise by winning 0-1 at Anderlecht.
Their starting goalkeeper is Koffi, the Burkinabé goalkeeper who returned from his international commitments and is struggling with an overload. Pierre Patron took his place in the cage. Patron impressed. Thanks to an excellent save and a great performance, the Carolos managed to keep the nil and take the three points at Lotto Park. The French goalkeeper signed a contract until 2024 after his arrival from Le Mans.
Charleroi is currently underperforming.
"I feel good. The group is happy that I am playing the matches. I am having fun. When I arrived on 4 July, I didn't think I would be playing three Belgian D1 games a few months later. But I don't stop there. I try to give as much as I can to play as many matches as possible." -Patron
Let's talk about two commanding players. The first one is a cult Sorare player Morioka, the most decisive player on the team with three goals and two assists. The second one is midfielder Adem Zorgane. A player who's getting too big for the Jupiler Pro League very soon.
AA Gent - Currently 8th The coach of Gent is Hein Vanhaezebrouck, the self-proclaimed gift to Belgian football. Vanhaezebrouck knows all and everything..., except how to get AA Gent to perform on a stable level. They are in bad weather. Especially in the Conference league, the results are a mixed bag.
"Our performance in the first hour is the perfect example of how not to do it. Just like against Cercle Brugge, we swallow four goals, while our defence is one of the strongest points of our team. Incomprehensible." -De Sart
Their best striker and Maroccan International Tarik Tissoudali is still out with his knee injury and his contract is up in the summer of 2023. The contract negotiations are very tough with both parties playing hardball. But let's talk about the hard-working Hugo Cuypers, who joined the team from KV Mechelen this summer. Currently, 7 goals and 1 assist and top scorer after 11 games together with the Antwerp striker Vincent Janssen. He seems positive to succeed at Gent. Experienced Davy Roef was the first keeper for about 8 months after Bolat was passed and transferred to Westerlo. Roef isn't undisputed and it seems he has lost his spot to Paul Nardi.
"Paul is an all-round goalkeeper. This is a good deal for us. With him, we are not signing a second goalkeeper. We have been clear about this from the start: we want two goalkeepers who can play. They have to keep each other sharp, push. And then it's up to the staff to decide who gets preference." -Goalkeeper trainer Vandendriessche
Nardi's Sorare cards are on the rise and Roef's are on the decline.
Seraing - Currently 14th
The Walloon club which had secured an extended stay in the Jupiler Pro League via barrage matches against RWDM last season through blood, sweat, and tears. The Belgian pundits were convinced that Seraing was a team ready for relegation. We are now 12 games into the season, and the pundits aren't that convinced anymore.
Seraing has 11 points in the domestic league. Of those, it earned 10 on the move, with wins over Standard, Mechelen, and Eupen. First goalkeeper Guillaume Dietsch is on loan from FC Metz to Seraing this season. He suffered a serious injury and is out for 6-8 weeks. The examination has now revealed that he suffered a fracture of the fibula. His replacement is Timothy Galje.
"He did quite well. He was impressive in terms of form a month ago. He is very strong one-on-one. There are small goalkeepers who have had very good careers" -Coach Jeunechamps
Yet in Belgium, there is a rule that you can transfer a new goalkeeper outside the transfer window if your starting goalkeeper gets injured for a long time. Although it seems very unlikely Seraing will do this, the coach had this to say:
"The medical joker exists and we will discuss it with Carlos Freitas (sporting director) and Metz. We'll see what we can do, it's certainly a question we can ask ourselves." -Coach Jeunechamps
KV Oostende - Currently 13th
KV Oostende’s season hasn’t been what they expected at the start in early August. They are 13th after 11 games with only three wins and two draws to their name. Six losses have dealt them a huge blow, meaning in 11 games, they have lost 16 points. And with two difficult games ahead against Union and Antwerp. The general tone is not good. Coach Yves Vanderhaeghe has a wide team at his disposal, but it is a bit too much uniformity all around. On dedication and character, KV Oostende can win matches, but then everything has to be right. Ostend needs at least one attacking midfielder with creative ideas. A type of Andrew Hjulsager, who transferred to AA Gent, who turned things around. A replacement for Maxime D'Arpino is no luxury either. The Frenchman is still months out with a Meniscus injury. KVO needs quality players that can be deployed immediately, especially in midfield. Rocha Santos and Bätzner are nice footballers, but not the ones to turn a team around.
Interestingly, the 28-year-old goalkeeper Hubert contract expires at the end of the season. And currently, there are no talks to extend the deal. So it remains a question mark where his future will lie. Apparently, Charleroi was interested in Hubert last summer but they didn't let him leave. The second goalkeeper is Dillon Phillips, currently on loan from Cardiff with an option to buy.
"Dillon is an interesting profile that we have been following for some time. He plays good football and is a real 'shot stopper', in other words, he has very strong reflexes on his line. An extra goalkeeper was needed because at the moment, with Hubert, we counted only one senior goalkeeper in our group," -CEO Ganaye
As it goes with teams playing abysmal, coaches get fired and other players get their chance. It isn't too farfetched that Phillips might get his chance. Unwell.
Union Saint Gilloise - Currently 4th
In the summer, Union lost some architects of the first team. Topscorer of the season and winner of the award 'Professional footballer of the year', Deniz Undav went to the Premier League sitting on the bench at Brighton. And after a transfer saga, Casper Nielsen ended up joining the champions Club Brugge. Their success coach Mazzu went to Anderlecht to follow up Kompany. Anyone who had thought Union would camp out in the grey middle ground this season will be disappointed. The vice-champion can boast a strong record with three wins and one draw, in the Europa League. And in the Jupiler Pro League is once again competing for a spot to compete in the playoffs. It is rough to highlight just a few players but I'll start with the relentless striker Dante Vanzeir and captain Teuma Teddy (three goals and five assists), both stayed with the club after interest from other teams. Some powerful new players joined the club, striker Boniface is a good replacement for Undav, and leftwinger Adingra, on loan from sister team Brighton, strikes fear in the opponents with his fast pace. Union excels at scouting. Union's (And Brighton's) scouting system mainly focuses on underrated players coming from lower leagues in Europe. Union monitors a player intensively for ten months on average before the club makes a bid for him. So no transfer is a gamble. Brighton's owner Tony Bloom sits on a wealth of data because of his sports gambling enterprises. An interesting rabbit hole.
The goalkeeper is still firmly Anthony Moris, starting every game this season. How Union is performing this season might be even more impressive than last year. Prime.