Chelsea / Vitesse / Cobham East Roundup: 30 January 2014

Stanley Chou

Vitesse drops points against rival NEC in the Gelderse derby and has to settle for a 1-1 draw.

Unfortunately, the second leg of Gelderse derby did not live up to the lofty expectations that were set after Lucas Piazon scored a last-minute winner in the first leg back in September. As always, here's our latest look into what's happening with our second-favourite club.

Gelderse Derby ends in a 1-1 draw

Despite a sloppy start (which would be a reoccurring theme throughout the match for both clubs), Christian Atsu linked up with centreback Dan Mori to put Vitesse up 1-0 at the half-hour mark.  The goal could not have come from a more unlikely source.  Given that Vitesse's fullbacks act more like wingbacks at times and fellow centreback Jan-Arie van der Heijden graduated from the David Luiz School of Centrebacking (and want to do other good stuff too), Mori was Vitesse's only outfield player focusing solely on defence.  Christian Atsu just happened to pick him out on a corner kick and Mori obliged by finding the back of the net.  Mori's goal becomes even more unlikely when you realise that this was not only just Mori's second start of the season (he was filling in for captain Guram Kashia, who had to sit the Derby out after picking up his fifth yellow during the previous match against PEC Zwolle), but he also missed winter training with the club in Abu Dhabi because some UAE government officials decided to use a sporting event to win cheap political points.

In the 70th minute, NEC was able to capitalise on a woeful attempt at a clearance by van der Heijden and brought the match level at one-all. Despite a late attacking push led by Patrick van Aanholt and Bertrand Traore, the Arnhem club couldn't break through, and had to settle for the single point.

Lucas Piazon was surprisingly quiet, and Bertrand Traore, making his Eredivisie debut, took his place for the final twenty-five minutes of the game.  For a kid who had just been traveling around Africa trying to secure an elusive passport stamp to finalise his work permit paperwork and was likely still jetlagged, he looked impressive.  He's also a lot bigger than I thought, and I look forward to seeing him (hopefully) play the full ninety tomorrow night, when Vitesse travels to Rotterdam to take on Feyenoord under the lights.

In other Eredivisie news, Ajax beat the Go Ahead Eagles 1-0, and is now two points clear of Vitesse at the top of the table.

As in recent weeks, we have the good fortune to be able to reproduce the Vitesse portions of the excellent loan reports that @chelseayouth puts out each week (you can view the full loan report here) -

Vitesse Arnhem’s first home fixture of 2014 was a local derby against NEC Nijmegen and although their opponents came into the match bottom of the Eredivisie, the stature of the fixture meant it was always likely to be a hard-fought afternoon. So it proved, as a well below-par Vitesse performance ended in a 1-1 draw in a game they could easily have lost.

The most notable incident to take away from a Chelsea point of view was the debut of Bertrand Traore. The Burkina Faso international replaced a disappointing Lucas Piazon midway through the second half and injected pace, flair and confidence into the team, immediately looking at home in his surroundings despite limited training time with the squad. It shouldn’t take him long to make a considerable impact and he was lively throughout his 25 minutes.

Christian Atsu also had a strong game in an attacking midfield role where he floated between central and wide areas, often exchanging with Piazon, who was as quiet as he’s ever been in a black and yellow shirt. Atsu also provided the assist for Vitesse’s goal as his corner was headed home by the Israeli Dan Mori. Patrick van Aanholt was as influential as usual at left-back; getting forward with regular and positive effect but occasionally leaving too much space behind him into which NEC could break.

Match highlights

Unfortunately, draws do not appear to merit the full Sfeerverslag treatment from the Vitesse video team.  Fortunately, they did offer us something called a Terugblik, which is almost as good and definitely worth a watch.

FC Eindhoven wants Cristian Cuevas

According to Omroep Gelderland, Eerste Division club FC Eindhoven wants Cristian Cuevas.  Cuevas hasn't played a single minute for the Vitesse first team, and that is extremely unlikely to change this season.  What's more, he's also finding it difficult to get regular playing time with the reserves.  I don't know much about FC Eindhoven, but since he's not in Vitesse's plans this season, it would make sense to send him to a club that wants him and will most likely give him the minutes he needs to further his development.

Valletta president denies sale to Jordania

After our initial report on the sale of Valletta FC to former Vitesse caretaker owner Merab Jordania, Valletta FC has gone to significant lengths to deny this report, and while I may have jumped the gun on reporting the official sale (relying on reports in the Netherlands and a source in Malta), I stand by the story one hundred percent.

When one considers the new Insignia sponsorship, the arrival of former Vitesse technical director Ted van Leeuwen and coach Andre Paus, the signing of Georgian goalkeeper Nukri Revishvili, the three Georgians that the club apparently has on trial, my source in Malta, and dozens of independent reports in the Netherlands, it becomes abundantly clear that Merab Jordania is involved with the club.

I'm just speculating, but given that the club can't technically be sold (due to the way it's structured), I think the Valletta FC president Victor Sciriha and Merab Jordania entered into a handshake agreement over the summer and once the club was ready to be sold, Jordania would step out from behind the curtain and assume the mantle as owner.  This scenario sounds very similar to how things just played out in Vitesse, does it not?

Vitesse's new shirt sponsor: Youfone

Vitesse announced today that Dutch telecommunications company Youfone will be its shirt sponsor for the remaining fourteen games of the season.  While the revenue generated from this sponsorship likely won't be enormous by any means, any additional revenue will help now that Vitesse has to remain compliant with the financial fair play regulations if it wants to ensure a clear path towards European competition.

Given the club's success on the pitch, I would expect that Vitesse will have a much more lucrative shirt sponsorship deal next season.

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