Vitesse is currently at the mid-point of the Eredivisie campaign and after beating NAC Breda 3-2 yesterday, they remain at the top of the table. There were rumblings (or at least murmurings) of a few Chelsea banners waving proudly at the Gelredome yesterday, and while I don't have visual confirmation, it appears as though the blue flag is quite literally flying high in Arnhem.
Vitesse beats NAC Breda 3-2, remains at the top of the Eredivisie
Resident expert @chelseayouth kindly allowed us to reproduce the Vitesse portion of his weekly match report, and as always, he provided some great insights into how the Chelsea lads performed yesterday -
"With two goals and an assist against NAC Breda on Sunday, Lucas Piazon takes centre stage again as he continues to assert himself as the Eredivisie’s player of the season so far.
Piazon has been as influential as anyone in Vitesse’s rise to the top of the table and has generally been considered the signing of the season at the very least, if not the best player period. His standout campaign continued this week with two more goals, his eighth assist and a Man of the Match performance as Peter Bosz’s side retained their place atop the standings. Piazon’s first came from the penalty spot after another Chelsea loanee, NAC’s Stipe Perica, handled in the box, whilst his second owed much to an exquisite piece of skill to carve out a chance which he stuck away to put himself into double figures for the season. His corner then found the head of Kelvin Leerdam to secure the points late in the game; Vitesse running out 3-2 victors.
Patrick van Aanholt played 90 minutes as usual at left-back and continues to show an excellent understanding with Piazon, whilst Christian Atsu was excellent throughout in an attacking midfield role; the Ghanaian was twice denied a goal by the woodwork. Gael Kakuta saw a little less than ten minutes off the bench, whilst Sam Hutchinson – a scorer for the club’s reserves in midweek – was an unused substitute, and Cristian Cuevas was not involved. In opposition white, Perica did very little other than concede a penalty but was entirely deprived of service as Breda struggled to control the Vitesse juggernaut."
Lucas Piazon's post-match interview
You can watch the bits with Piazon at 1:38-2:14 and at 2:36-3:07. He acquits himself very well in general, let alone for a nineteen-year-old.
More Blues headed to Vitesse in January?
With its first-ever Eredivisie title and Champions League football on the line, it's going to be a very interesting January transfer window for Vitesse. They could use another striker, and Patrick Bamford's loan to MK Dons expires in a few weeks. While I think Bamford wearing the black and yellow this season is a long shot for a number of reasons* I wouldn't be surprised if Chelsea sends another player to Arnhem for the second half of the campaign. In fact, Vitesse manager Peter Bosz has said that Vitesse and Chelsea will work together if Bosz finds that his squad needs bolstering come January.
I asked Steve and a few other experts on Chelsea's youth system about likely candidates to be sent to Vitesse in January, and perhaps we can explore this further during next week's roundup (Bamford, Nathan Ake, Wallace, and a rehabbing Marco van Ginkel were among the names mentioned when I posed the question on Twitter). Of course, if you don't want to wait until next week to discuss whether it would be mutually beneficial for both clubs to have another Chelsea youngster at Vitesse, have at it in the comments section and we'll be sure to make a note of all your suggestions for next week's roundup.
*The twenty-year-old Bamford has never played for a club outside of England and Vitesse is probably looking for more experienced players to help them with the second half of the campaign. From Chelsea's perspective, it might be a bit risky, developmentally speaking, to completely uproot Bamford mid-season, especially given how he's excelled.
Papendal: Vitesse's training centre
Vitesse's new training centre, called Papendal, opened in April 2013, and as the video shows, it is nothing short of magnificent. I knew that Vitesse had built a new complex, but I had no idea it looked like this. Merab Jordania appears to have spent Alexander Chigirinsky's money wisely, as Papendal is likely one of the best training complexes in all of Europe (thanks to WAGNH member Maikel Berend for the link).