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Vitesse / Cobham East Roundup: 5 March 2014

Vitesse defeats Roda JC 3-0 and is now level on points with Twente for second place in the Eredivisie (and the Champions League spot that comes along with it).

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

After defeating Roda JC on Saturday, Vitesse has won back-to-back fixtures for the first time in 2014 and Peter Bosz and Co. seemingly have Vitesse back on track.  The club is now level on points with Twente for second place, and with eight matches remaining in the 2013-14 campaign, Vitesse will look to continue its run of form and hopefully secure a spot in the Champions League next season.

Vitesse wins 3-0, Atsu continues his excellent play

Vitesse won fairly easily over the weekend, as the Arnhem club got off to a great start and Roda wasn't able to catch up.  About fifteen minutes in, Christian Atsu sent a cross into the box, finding Mike Havenaar, who displayed an excellent finishing touch by volleying the ball past the Roda keeper.  Ten minutes later, Roda's Roly Bonevacia was sent off after making a questionable tackle just outside the Roda box.  On the ensuing free kick, Marko Vejinovic's excellent strike put Vitesse up 2-0.

Down to ten men, Roda was unable to mount much of a challenge, and the game was well in hand before the half-hour mark.

While everyone should be thrilled that Vitesse has regained its form, it has, perplexingly, done so without much help from the Chelsea loanees.

Vitesse started to turn things around when Piazon and van Aanholt were removed from the lineup (albeit for different reasons).  Both players were among the Eredivisie's best prior to the winter break (and Piazon was likely the very best), but since play resumed, Piazon hasn't been able to regain his scoring touch (nor has he been able to create many chances for his teammates) and van Aanholt has made a few costly mistakes (own goal, red card).  Piazon and van Aanholt were, in my eyes, Vitesse's two most important players during the first half of the season, and the club wouldn't be tied for second place (or likely anywhere near it) without them.

In particular, Piazon has shown that he has the potential to be a very special player, and while I've been saying this for over two months now, I fully expect him to regain his form soon.  While he registered his first "DNP-CD" last week, he did come on for the last thirty minutes this week and looked solid, if unspectacular.

In addition, Bertrand Traore was subbed off at the half in the RKC match with his club down 1-0.  Vitesse scored twice in the first seven minutes of the second half, with Traore's replacement, Valeri Qazaishvili, scoring the second and being named man of the match after the 3-1 win.  This week, he got a ten-minute cameo at the end of the match.

Surprisingly, the Chelsea loanee who has looked the best in 2014 has been the less-heralded, Christian Atsu.  Due to Piazon being removed from the starting lineup, Atsu moved over to his natural position on the left wing for the first time in his Vitesse career.  While he has been very good playing in a central number ten role, after seeing him play on the wing, it became quickly apparent that his talents are best suited for the left wing position.  He was fantastic last week, and it will be interesting to see how Peter Bosz sets his lineup for Saturday's match against NAC Breda.

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 3-0 victory over Roda JC on Saturday evening was one of their most comfortable of the season and was due in large part to a terrific individual performance by Ghanaian winger Christian Atsu. He was the only one of the club’s four Chelsea loanees to start – Lucas Piazon and Bertrand Traore were substitutes and Patrick van Aanholt suspended again – and in their absence staked his claim for a regular place on the left wing; a position held by Piazon for most of the season so far.

Atsu terrorised his opponents from the first minute, laying on the first goal for Mike Havenaar and providing the cross which led to the free kick for Vitesse’s second, and a red card for Roda defender Roly Bonevacia in the process. He was afforded a standing ovation when he went off late in the game for Traore, who like Piazon got some time from the bench in the second half of what largely amounted to a training exercise for Peter Bosz’ side.

Match highlights

The always-excellent Vitesse video team is back with new Sfeerverslag!

More on Piazon

The local Arhem paper, Omroep Gelderland, interviewed Piazon recently and asked about his struggles.  Great friend of WAGNH, Mark Will Stinson, tweeted out some translated quotes.

While Piazon remains confident ("I haven't forgotten how to play"), he does admit to having a bit of difficulty lately.

Many of the Vitesse players Piazon became close with left the club over the winter (Cristian Cuevas, Francisco Junior, Jonathan Reis, and Alex Anderson), and while his father lives with him in Arnhem, losing part of one's support team can never be easy for anyone, let alone for a young player who only recently turned twenty years old.

Fortunately, Piazon appears to be a consummate professional and says he continues to train as hard as ever and "respects the manager's decision. [Peter Bosz] has been around in football for some years and knows a lot more than me."

On a brighter note, it appears as though Piazon still managing to enjoy his time in Arnhem despite the run of poor form.

For example, according to Voetbal International's Stef di Bont, Lucas Piazon went to the carnival in Tilburg this weekend to celebrate the birthday of Bruno Andrade, a fellow Brazilian who plays for Willem II.  Apparently, they went dressed as french fries.  Yep, french fries.  This is not a translation issue and dressing up as french fries is apparently a very real thing at the Tilburg carnival.

Also, Piazon seems to enjoy being a role model and ambassador for the club, and he was an active participant in the Kids Club festivities yesterday.

Vitesse partners up with a zoo

Until I saw this video, I had been operating under the assumption that the mascot was a duck.  For whatever reason, I didn't put two and two together until watching this video and realising that since the crest features an eagle, the club has an actual live eagle called Hertog that flies around the Gelredome, it would make sense that the mascot is an eagle as well.  As opposed to, you know, a duck.

Mark Will Stinson lets us know that the mascot is called Vito, and unsurprisingly, he seems rather comfortable around lions.

However, as everyone knows, this is the (maroon and) gold standard when it comes to eagle mascots and the club would do well to take notice of what a proper eagle mascot is supposed to look like.

Theo Janssen retires

Vitesse legend and Arnhem native Theo Janssen retired yesterday, and for those who are committed to learning as much about our Cobham East cousins as possible, Peter McVitie just penned an excellent piece on Jansenn's career.  I highly recommend reading it, though after learning more about Janssen, you'll likely come away disappointed that you didn't get to see him play alongside the Chelsea lads this season.

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