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Football commentator Peter Vandenbempt analyzes the 31st match day in the Jupiler Pro League. Among other things, the topper between Anderlecht and Antwerp is discussed and he also considers the problems at Genk and the relegation of Beerschot.

Listen to Peter Vandenbempt’s analysis:

Peter Vandenbempt in a nutshell:

  • Anderlecht radiate confidence, but their luck is fragile.
  • Antwerp is still looking for an identity.
  • It threatens to be a tragically bad season for Genk.
  • The relegation of Beerschot is a pity for the neutral football fan.

“Football is back in line with what Anderlecht fans expect”

After years of many trials, the Anderlecht public has once again reconciled with the club and the team. The fans have been very patient, but the results have been very good for a while now.

Football is again more in line with what the fans expect from Anderlecht. Against Antwerp it was in control all the time, with a good organization, surrender in the duels and after a long run-up also smooth football, with many good opportunities.

The difference with Antwerp was bigger on the field than on the scoreboard. Anderlecht continues to take steps slowly. It has now won for the first time against a team from the top 3. That had been only 2 out of 15 so far.

The difference with Antwerp was bigger on the field than on the scoreboard.

Peter Vandenbempt about Anderlecht

Compared to a year ago, Anderlecht already has more points. It has also scored 14 times more than in the entire regular season a year ago.

The players are in shape and radiate confidence, but luck is of course fragile. Next week Anderlecht have to go to Ghent. If it would lose there and Antwerp win, they would suddenly tumble out of the top 4.

Just to be clear: Anderlecht are still on their way back to the top in all respects, to the real status of the past as the largest club in the country. Because in normal times there is no party in Brussels with a 3rd place 12 points behind the leader.

“In mid-March Antwerp is still looking for an identity”

Based on the performance and results of the last few weeks, Antwerp should certainly be concerned. It lost 4 of its last 6 matches and only managed to beat the last 2 in the standings with a lot of effort. In those 6 matches, it has also only scored 6 goals.

We are now mid-March and the conclusion is that Antwerp is still looking for an identity on the field, for recognizable football. It is too often at the mercy of Frey’s goals or Benson’s flashes.

They have lost to Union, Club Brugge and Anderlecht in recent weeks. That can happen, said coach Priske. But it is of course Antwerp’s ambition to beat those teams, as they did in the first round. Then it was 7 out of 9.

It was striking how Antwerp was much calmer and more serene this weekend after a defeat than last week after a win against Beerschot.

Peter Vandenbempt

It was striking how Antwerp was much calmer and more serene this weekend after a defeat than last week after a win against Beerschot. Antwerp actually also played a creditable game. There was nothing to criticize – another point of criticism last week – the commitment and the mentality.

But there was little quality on the ball, few ideas. Frey was never deployed. We also continue to watch Radja Nainggolan, but we walked along yesterday.

The opportunities for Antwerp are still favourable, but it is of course not a certainty. Zulte Waregem has been liberated from the relegation stress, in Leuven they still want to show something in what may be the last game of the year in their own stadium and Cercle Brugge suddenly smells the top 8 and has already won against Club Brugge and Anderlecht. So watch out for Antwerp.

Brian Priske and Radja Nainggolan

“There has to be a lot of selection at Genk”

Genk player Paul Onuachu kicked wildly after the defeat against STVV. He breathed fire and made firewood of everything and everyone. It is a new low in what threatens to be a tragically bad season for Racing Genk.

It played unrecognizably bad, with long-haul football on a bad pitch. It was trumped in the battle by a good STVV, we have to underline that. With 67 percent of the ball, you don’t make much progress if you don’t know what to do with it.

Luca Oyen was a bright spot in the darkness. He was single-handedly reminiscent of a year ago, when the same Racing Genk actually brought by far the best football in the country, was the team of the moment and Club Brugge still gave the go-off in the play-offs. Now they had to be meekly booed by the fans on the field, apparently that’s what happens in football.

A new low in what could end up being a tragically bad season for Racing Genk.

Peter Vandenbempt

In July, Genk was still a major title contender, the challenger to Club Brugge. Exceptionally, all those strongholds from a year ago had remained. Under John van den Brom, Genk sometimes played great football this season and sometimes there was also a bit of bad luck involved.

But at the end of the season, the conclusion will be that a lot of selection has to be made in the selection. Real leaders must be sought and a trainer who offers the group alternatives and solutions in difficult matches, who can link quality to mentality.

There is a lot of work to be done and still save what can be saved, because reaching the top 8 is the absolute minimum.

“For neutral enthusiasts, Beerschot’s relegation is a shame”

The decline of Beerschot actually started more than a year ago, since the beginning of December of the previous season. First with success coach Losada and star player Tissoudali, who both left, then also without them.

Since then, it has lost 11 of its 20 matches and won just under 5 more. The tumbling started then and has continued this season.

If a team is doomed to fail, the conclusion is always the same: the player group misjudged. In that period of euphoria you already heard that from people who follow the club closely. They were surprised that things went so well with that group of players, who performed far beyond their capabilities.

Holzhauser, last year the exponent of Beerschot and second in the Golden Shoe, has fallen through the basket as helmsman.

Peter Vandenbempt

The transfer policy has failed, that’s for sure. Holzhauser, last year the exponent of Beerschot and second in the Golden Shoe, has fallen through the basket as helmsman. Coach Peter Maes did not work at the Kiel and that Argentinian was really a blunder.

Yesterday’s match against Ghent had everything of a funeral. An empty stadium, sad and desolate. They may think differently at the Bosuil, but as a neutral football fan it is a pity. Antwerp must have two clubs at the highest level.

It seemed to be going well with Beerschot. A consistent, stable policy seemed to be in place. But it failed. Hopefully back to the highest level soon.

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