After Kortrijk, everything would be different in the Lotto Park. It was a Sunday afternoon, November 21. Vincent Kompany opted for Ashimeru, Cullen and Olsson in midfield that day. In the front he experimented with Zirkzee, Kouamé and Raman. It was the match in which Benito got red for taking revenge. A frustrating afternoon resulted in a sad draw against KVK† The pressure on Kompany increased. Anderlecht won only one of its seven league matches in that period. But the low turned out to be a turning point. Anderlecht found the right flow in the following weeks with recognizable football and started a great series. That should end for Anderlecht on Sunday with a place in the Champions’ play-offs. At Neerpede they started the week of truth in peace yesterday. With a recovery training and a debriefing of the walk-over against Charleroi. Today the players are free and from tomorrow the focus will be on Kortrijk.
The scenarios are clear. If Anderlecht win, they don’t have to worry about AA Gent and they are sure of the top 4. If the Purple & White lose points, then we hope and pray that AA Gent will do the same at home against OHL.
A year ago
In any case, pressure is not a factor according to Vincent Kompany. “You should not be guided by emotions, so you have to be able to fall back on a strong foundation.” Anderlecht can in any case take courage from the past, they know what it is like to play an all-or-nothing match on the last day of play with a ticket for play-off 1 as a bet. So it’s a feeling of déjà vu. Almost exactly a year ago, Anderlecht had to take at least one point on STVV on the final day of the game in order not to see KV Oostende jump over them after all. The Purple & White proved to be able to withstand the pressure, kept their cool and won thanks to a goal from Verschaeren. He may not be there on Sunday due to groin problems against Kortrijk, just like more than three-quarters of the team that kicked off at Stayen last year. Of the basic eleven from then, only El Hadj and Murillo are expected in the starting eleven on Sunday. It is a serious challenge to name the rest of that team from then, Wellenreuther and Trebel will be given to you as a gift.
Just to indicate that Anderlecht have taken enormous steps forward this season. If the level of play of the first half hour against Charleroi becomes the norm again in the Lotto Park, then it could still be an exciting Champions’ play-offs. And then you just have to finish it on Sunday at Kortrijk. The figures also support this evolution. In 2022, Anderlecht only conceded eight goals and the defense recorded five clean sheets. Anderlecht have scored 69 goals this season – only Union and Club Brugge do better. That is already 18 more than last season at the end of the regular competition. And that despite the lack of efficiency that there certainly was in some matches. Last season, barely two players scored at least five goals: Nmecha and Verschaeren. This season there are seven: Zirkzee, Refaelov, Raman, Verschaeren, Kouame, Gomez and Amuzu. Who feels called to assure Anderlecht of a place in the best four again on Sunday?
And oh yes, for the quips among you the rest of the basic team at STVV: Miazga, Cobbaut, Mykhaylichenko, Sambi Lokonga, Ashimeru and Nmecha.