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Vitesse Arnhem roundup: 24 September 2014


Vitesse appears to be back on track after snapping a thirteen-match winless streak dating back to March.

The club followed up its 3-1 victory over Excelsior with a 1-1 draw against Heerenveen over the weekend, and a 2-1 victory in the KNVB Beker (Dutch FA Cup) over amateur side VVSB, which competes in the Dutch third division.

Bertrand Traore had been working his way back from an injury he suffered while on international duty with Burkina Faso, but  managed to get fifteen minutes in the Heerenveen match and played the full ninety minutes and scored in Tuesday's Dutch Cup match.

Wallace is firmly entrenched as the starting right back and has been very solid, especially going forward.

Josh McEachran has only played 26 Eredivisie minutes thus far (two substitute appearances), but he played the entire Dutch Cup match and has also played in two U21 matches. I don't blame Bosz for not using McEachran in the first team, as the Vitesse lineup needs as much defensive help as it can get, especially now that Vitesse's captain and centre back Guram Kashia will be out for a while with a broken toe.

McEachran is a downgrade from both Kelvin Leerdam and Davy Propper, not only defensively, but perhaps offensively as well.

Leerdam, who moved to defensive midfield from right back this season, is the club's top returning goalscorer (eight goals last season), and Propper has done an admirable job of filling Marco van Ginkel's boots since van Ginkel left Vitesse for Chelsea last summer.

Vitesse honours the British 1st Airborne

As we've previously covered on WAGNH, both Vitesse and the city of Arnhem do an amazing job of honouring the British soldiers who fought at the Battle of Arnhem. This weekend marked the club's annual Airborne Memorial match and coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem.

Vitesse hosted 20-30 veterans from the 1st Airborne, along with their families and friends (around 125 people total). The Gelredome was decorated with Airborne flags, both outside and inside the stadium, and at halftime, 120 members of the Royal British Legion played the bagpipes with some other musical guests.

In addition, Vitesse will use a special captain's armband for the rest of the season "as a sign of recognition and respect for those who have fought for our freedom," a Vitesse spokesman told WAGNH.

Earlier this week, the entire team visited the Airborne Museum in Arnhem.

Vitesse played the match in the new iteration of their airborne jersey, which replaces the club's traditional black and yellow for the claret and blue colours of the 1st Airborne.

Season-ticket holders were given Airborne scarves, and if you'd like one for yourself, you can get a version of the Airborne scarf at Vitesse's web shop.

Match highlights

The Vitesse video team was in fine form this week and put together an excellent highlight video capturing both the match and the Airborne commemoration at the Gelredome.

Guram Kashia and Johnny Peters

Vitesse captain Guram Kashia, who is also the captain of the Georgian national team and the reigning Georgian footballer of the year, described his relationship with British 1st Airborne veteran Johnny Peters as "the highlight of my career."

The two met back in 2011, when Kashia sought Peters out. "As the captain of Vitesse, I felt I had to do something. I felt that we, as footballers, had to show respect to the real heroes," Kashia shared.

Peters, a native Liverpudlian, was a passionate Liverpool supporter, and had been returning to Arnhem annually since 1972 to visit the city he helped save and to remember his fallen brothers in arms. Peters and Kashia struck up a friendship after talking football together.

The following year, Kashia saluted Peters after the match and gave him his shirt (which Peters donated to the Airborne Museum in Cambridge).

Later that night, the two met for drinks, and Kashia told De Gelderlander, "it was great to see him again."

Last year, the Vitesse supporters unveiled a banner capturing the moment between Peters and Kashia. When Kashia first saw the banner, he was overcome with emotion.

"At that moment, I could cry. I thought the banner was fantastic, and I was very proud. I got a lot of phone calls from family, friends, and the media in Georgia. Images of the banner went all over the world, and I have explained to people what the Airborne match is all about."

Unfortunately, Peters recently passed away, but neither the football club nor the people of Arnhem will allow his legacy and service to fade away. Kashia and Vitesse presented this portrait to Peters' family members, and will display a duplicate at the Gelredome.

Johnny Peters Guram Kashia Vitesse

Vitesse is back in action on Saturday against the recently-promoted FC Dordrecht (16:30 BST, 11:30 EST) and will look to build upon the recent string of positive results and climb back up the table.

Lastly, if interested in following the Eredivisie a bit more, Peter McVitie and Michiel Jongsma have an excellent weekly podcast which covers all things Eredivisie in the English language.

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