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Vitesse / Cobham East Roundup: 21 March 2014

Vitesse continues to mount a serious challenge for Champions League football, winning three out of the last four matches. Curiously, save for Christian Atsu, the club is succeeding without much help from the Chelsea lads.

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Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Vitesse has won three of its last four matches and with six games left in the season, the club is in a very tight battle for the second Champions League spot with Twente, Feyenoord, and PSV.

After a brief hiatus, we're back with our latest update on what's happening with our second-favourite club.

Vitesse succeeding without much help from Chelsea

Save for Chrsitian Atsu, who had been very solid playing in a central number ten role before sliding over to the left wing and becoming a revelation, Vitesse has been winning without much help from the Chelsea lads.

Let's take a look at the stats from the last four games, in which Vitesse has earned nine points (the club lost to PSV 2-1 last weekend) -

  • Christian Atsu - 4 starts, 320 minutes played, 1 goal, 2 assists
  • Bertrand Traore - 1 start, 56 minutes played, 0 goals, 0 assists
  • Lucas Piazon - 0 starts, 79 minutes played, 0 goals, 0 assists
  • Patrick van Aanholt - 0 starts, 0 minutes played, 0 goals, 0 assists

To be fair, Patrick van Aanholt was suspended for two matches after picking up a straight red in the 15 February loss to Twente, but has since been replaced by Rochdi Achenteh, a Moroccan left back who the club picked up in January from PEC Zwolle.  Van Aanholt is extremely unlikely to return to Vitesse next season, and Peter Bosz is likely taking this opportunity to start planning for life after the Dutch international.

At this point, Champions League football for Vitesse should be focus, and while an ideal world would see all four Chelsea players getting ninety minutes each week, the reality is that Peter Bosz needs to roll with the lineup that's been earning much-needed points for the club.

The talents of Lucas Piazon, Patrick van Aanholt, and Bertrand Traore are undeniable, and when the season is over, we'll be taking a very close look at the sudden drop-off (or in Traore's case, why he's not been able to cement a starting role despite being the Chelsea player people were most excited about in Arnhem, eclipsing even Piazon, who was the Eredivisie's best player when Traore joined up).

Right now, however, the most important thing is for the club to secure Champions League football (an extraordinary selling point for Chelsea to pitch to the best young players in the world this summer when the transfer market opens) and Chelsea supporters should throwing all their support behind Vitesse, regardless of whether or not our lads are contributing at the moment.

Match highlights

Sfeerverslag video of Vitesse's 8 March victory over NAC Breda

Terugblik video of Vitesse's 15 March loss to PSV

Piazon expected to rejoin starting lineup tomorrow

According to our friends at SV Vitesse, Lucas Piazon is expected to rejoin the starting lineup for tomorrow's match against FC Groningen.  Note that Piazon is expected to replace the suspended Renato Ibarra.  While Ibarra has been very good since the club came back from the winter break, if Piazon can regain some the form that made him the best player in the Eredivisie during the first half of the season, he should be able to convince Peter Bosz to make room for him in the starting eleven for the final push towards securing a spot in the Champions League.

Macron: new kit sponsor

Vitesse has signed a five-year kit deal with Macron, the Italian sportswear company.

Personally, I bristle at any use of camouflage that isn't part of the MCCUU or ACU, so let's hope that Vitesse isn't subjected to the Napoli treatment.  Of course, that said, the kit deal, negotiated by commercial director Peter Gansler is by far the most lucrative in Vitesse's history, and I'm sure the revenue that will be generated from this deal offsets Macron's questionable design choices by a wide margin.

To Macron's credit, they are already working on developing a "unique style" for the new kits, which the club will start to wear next season.  Macron has also committed to working with the supporters and has promised to "work very hard to meet the expectations of the supporters." In addition, Gansler specifically referred to Macron's knowledge of Vitesse's history as one of the reasons why the company is a good fit for Vitesse.

Given the new kit deal, if you're thinking about picking up some Vitesse merchandise, you might want to wait until the end of the season to 1) pick up the new Macron gear on offer, or 2) avail yourself of the likely discounted Nike gear the club needs to rid itself of.

Watch Vitesse - FC Groningen tomorrow - 5:40PM GMT

ESPN is streaming the match, and so there will be a great opportunity to watch our second-favourite club.

We have a ton of Vitesse coverage planned in the coming weeks as Vitesse makes the final push towards earning a spot in the Champions League, so stay tuned!

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