Posted in Matches in Brief

Three is the Magic Number

Yesterday saw the end of another round of matches come and go. A 3rd of the regular season has come and gone. We saw Standard Liege win their 3rd matches of the season. Antwerp have lifted themselves to 3rd in the table and in all 3 of yesterday’s matches saw the winners score 3. How convenient.

And we begin with Standard, where I’ve read recently that this match could have been make or break for Ricardo Sa Pinto. Whether or not that’s true I don’t know but a bit drastic if that was the case. However, if it were he may have been nervy after 10 minutes when Kristof D’Haene opened the scoring. However, Edmilson Jr struck back two minutes later, before Sa Pinto’s compatriot Orlando Sa scored at the double to make it 3-1 at half-time and seal the win. 

The match also saw 2 red cards, with Larry Azouni seeing red in the first half and Sebastian Pocognoli receiving his marching orders halfway through the second half. As I’ve said, a big win for the hosts lifting themselves up into 9th, with 2 tough away games coming up. Kortrijk haven’t won in 7 now after a positive start to the season. Key injuries may be a factor, but nonetheless it has been a steady decline.

The second match yesterday saw top versus bottom at the Versluys Arena. And from minute 1 Club Brugge meant business with Ruud Vormer opening the scoring. But then some quality goals were seen. Firstly, a simple corner routine saw Sebastien Siani drill home an effort from the edge of the box, but then Blauw-Zwart hit back with an unmarked bullet header by Wesley. But again the leaders were pegged back with a pinpoint strike but Franck Berrier. A real quality goal by the Frenchman making in 2-2 before the break.

The second half was mainly full of yellow cards as to be honest, I’m sure De Kustboys would’ve taken a confidence boosting draw. But there’s something about this Brugge side rout now. Anthony Limbombe, the hero against Charleroi, hit another 93rd minute winner to break Oostende hearts. He picked up a second yellow card for his celebration, stupidly, but nonetheless, they never give up! It’s still positive for Oostende in some ways as they are looking better, regardless of result.

Lastly, Antwerp dismantled Zulte Waregem as they fall to their second defeat in a row, and saw themselves drop to 7th in the process. A fine Obbi Oulare opener saw the Great Old on their way, and a second came seven minutes later through an own goal. A second half penalty from Geoffry Hairemans after Michael Heylens saw red as well, the 4th red card of the day in the Pro League.

After the match, Franck Dury had some words for his players, saying Antwerp had a winning mentality amongst other things, sending a message to his squad. After a promising start, even Anderlecht have overtaken them and Zulte have sort of slept walked themselves into this position. Antwerp on the other hand have possibly had the toughest start (as I’ve regularly said) and have been brilliant. Every match they bounce back when they suffer a reality check and perform outstandingly well which is testament to the players and Bölöni.

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Posted in Matches in Brief

Maiden Wins for the Newbies

Five matches played so far back in the JPL and with the main talking leading up to this round surrounded Anderlecht and Gent. Two new managers in the hot seat, both Hein Vanhaezebrouck and Yves Vanderhaeghe both have fire they have to put out and restore confidence, and hopefully flair, back into 2 quality teams.

And out of the two managers I’m going to start with Vanderhaeghe, mainly because in my opinion, one of the major factors of being successful and, well, very good is confidence. The former Oostende manager hasn’t won a single league match at all this season and for all we know, privately, he may have been doubting himself professionally. 

Going into tonight, Gent had possibly a tougher task than we all thought. Beveren can be a dangerous outfit and are tough to beat. That proved to be the case as it was goalless going into half time. But, going into the last quarter of the match, the new boss decided to bring on Samuel Kalu. A stroke of genius. Not only did he make an instant impact to make it 1-0 seconds after coming on, he sealed the win in the dying embers to rack up 3 points. Rudy Camacho saw red for the visitors to cap off Beveren’s night.

But kicking the night off, Charleroi were hoping to basically revitalize their form. After an unbelievable start they’ve slowed down recently and even the international break didn’t help. Amara Baby hit a double either side of the break, with an Mbaye Leye penalty squeezed in between. However, with time ticking away, Eric Ocansey hit a late equaliser, with Leye claiming the assist. 

Les Zébres have only won once in the last 5 and have thrown away points in the meantime, which I’m sure Mazzu won’t be happy with. Charleroi have gone from dogged battlers, to late bottlers, conceding extremely late against Beveren, Brugge and now Eupen. The Pandas on the other hand may not have won again, but are showing grit and determination by not giving in at a difficult place to go! 

Tucked in between were 2 1-1 draws at the Luminus Arena and the Daknamstadion. In the former, Mouscron took the lead through Dorian Rotariu just before half time. But Marcus Ingvartsen again came up with another equaliser. I picked him out in my build up blog because he seems fresh and exciting right now in a Genk side who seem stale. They started off last season in an average manor and they’ve done the same this term. 

Mouscron on the other hand may have only drawn, but don’t you think their fans would’ve taken that beforehand? I guess the only negative recently is, much like Charleroi, they’ve dropped points late on now and resilience is key. Without moaning at Charleroi but praising Mouscron, for me, they both have different targets, with one exceeding theirs, and the other probably hitting them to be fair.

The second 1-1 was possibly the least glamorous of the five fixtures played so far. A Jordan Botaka goal just after the break was cancelled out, much like the previous match, in the 81st minute by the Swede Robin Söder. STVV have settled down recently and have slowed down their tremendous early season form. Without being spectacular, they are still claiming points, even though it’s turned into a dripping tap of points rather than the early season gushing through victories after Jonas De Roeck joined. 

Lokeren are steadily plodding along. Unable to build off their fantastic away win against Zulte Waregem last time out, they still turned zero points into 1 and never seem to give up right now.

Lastly, we come to the other maiden manager who kicked us off with an absolute belter on Friday night. After Pieter Gerkens hit his first of the season, Onyekuru doubled the lead, only to be immediately pegged back through Rob Schoofs. However,the Nigerian bagged his second almost immediately himself, and then Lukasz Teodorcyzk got himself in on the action. A 4-1 scoreline before half time, Vanhaezebrouck was loving this. The problem was, if the second half was longer than 45 minutes, it may have ended 4-4 instead of 4-3!!! Mechelen showed character whereas Les Mauves may have switched off as it finished 4-3 at the AFAS Stadion. 

So from everything looking spectacular in the first 45 minutes, it showed there’s still plenty of work to do at Anderlecht to ensure they can still maybe challenge at the top, rather than scrap for Europa League. Mechelen on the other hand just aren’t doing it. Without being unfair, I thought Yannick Ferrera may have been ousted by now, but maybe that second half performance has saved him for another week, in my opinion.

The problem is that it’s so difficult to see goals so I’m giving my opinion on scoreline and sometimes you can judge a match through time as well as anything else. There is a slowing of form at certain clubs and they’ve all hit a sticky patch (Charleroi, Sint Truiden) but as long as they’re claiming draws instead of defeats, there’s not too much to worry about just yet.

Posted in Matches in Brief

Match Day 10 is Upon Us

Two weeks…TWO BLOODY WEEKS!!! I’ve been vocal yet quiet, trying to get to grips with no Belgian football and revitalizing myself, trying to crack on with this on a regular basis. Then I decided I love doing this, regardless of who reads this and I do it for my enjoyment again.

But to the point, we dive right into tonight where Hein Vanhaezebrouck takes charge of his first match with Anderlecht. Les Mauves travel to Mechelen where they’ll hope to continue their decent form of late, and will hope Henry Onyekuru’s fine form will continue. I can’t help but think this could be pretty one sided, with Colin Coosemans being busier in his own 18 yard box rather than the opponents. But with the possibility of a fresher outlook, I’m sure Anderlecht’s form may turnaround, even under a Gent reject.

Saturday sees us begin with Charleroi taking on Eupen. The visitors surprised me last time out with a spirited performance they through away against Genk. Charleroi are probably pretty happy they have the bottom side after the international break as they’re performances of late have looked jaded. For the Pandas, I’m sure they’d like more goals chipped in from attackers, rather than Leye, and with the hosts, they’d still want Rezaei firing on all cylinders.

Next up is potentially the match of the weekend in my opinion. Genk host Mouscron where the visitors have been a real surprise package, and Genk have been…blurgh. I have a feeling there’ll be goals from both sides as Mouscron have goalscorers from all over, whereas Genk have attacking quality up top. Without continuously mentioning the same names…I won’t here, with Ingvartsen being my top player last time out.

Lokeren welcome Sint Truiden where, if this was a month ago there’d only be one winner. Now, that’s reversed as I feel Lokeren could well take all 3 points here. The likelihood is probably a draw because as well as Peter Maes has ‘settled the ship’, they’re still unpredictable. De Kanaries will hope to just get back on track as they’ve been as good as Mouscron, well, to a degree.

Lastly on Saturday, another club unveil their manager with Yves Vanderhaeghe making his bow in the home dugout for Gent. You could say, much like Vanhaezebrouck, it’s a bit of a gimme, but I think this is tougher than Anderlecht’s match. Beveren maybe without Gano (okay, his gone I know!) They are a threat through replacement Kiese Thelin and the better Japanese on show, Ryota Morioka. Yuya Kubo will hope to outshine his compatriot, with the help of his teammates, but I think maybe…just maybe, Gent will squeak this one.

Going into Sunday, Standard will hope they can continue their fine home form against a Kortrijk side who embarrassed them last season. Paul-Jose Mpoku will hope to be the hero again, although De Kerels are dangerous without being clinical, if that even makes sense? 

Now…Oostende really have a task on their hands hosting already the champions elect in Club Brugge. With a plethora of strikers in the Brugge squad, they could really take advantage here even if Oostende grabbed their first win last time out, believing they can fly! 

And finally, Antwerp will look to put on a show and a performance at the Bosuilstadion against Zulte Waregem. Zulte, like most, will hope to bounce back after last time out as they signed off the last round of matches to a defeat against Lokeren. Antwerp have had it rough early on playing against basically every top side in the league so far and Franck Dury will hope to do what many haven’t and take 3 points back to Waregem with him against a quality Antwerp side.

Posted in Matches in Brief

Short on Time

Because I’m so good with procrastination I have just, well, not written. There have been positives for me and Belgian football as there is a channel now that shows Belgian football for FREE on English television now. The bad times involve me actually trying to find highlights as I’ve only just seen the Mickael Tirpan goal which was fantastic.

But yesterday showed us who the likely champions will be, who will be challenging and who’s still got life in them. The challengers are Zulte Waregem. I did ask the question ‘can Gent fans now question Hein Vanhaezebrouck’. Firstly, another defeat. Poor defensive error (which he can’t be blamed for) and with the winner coming in the second minute, it shows they wouldn’t have scored regardless. Ivan Saponjic stole in and cooly finished to settle the match. As much as we look at the negatives (KAA Gent) we have to give Waregem credit. They’ve responded incredibly well to the mauling they received by Nice and will hopefully do better this Thursday.

The champions elect already Club Brugge eventually saw off the last undefeated team in the Pro League in Charleroi at the Stade du Pays. Wesley seems to have taken over Bonaventure in taking over the scoring responsibility. But Les Zébres hit back through Iranian Kaveh Rezaei set up a chance of a grandstand finish. Blauw-Zwart obliged as Anthony Limbombe hit the most unimpressive long range winner, but helped Brugge increase their points at the top of the table.

Lastly, 3 goals, 2 red cards and a win for Standard over Lokeren. The visitors took the lead with the other contender for goal of the weekend through Amine Benchaib. Going in 1-0, could the tricolores hold on unlike against Anderlecht. Well…Stefano Marzo seeing red in the 46th minute didn’t help. Duje Cop struck a decent close range effort 6 minutes later to aid the home sides chances. And it took until stoppage time when Paul-Jose Mpoku hit an effort on par with Limbombe to snatch victory, even when Carlinhos saw red himself 5 minutes (ish) earlier. 

Another weekend over where there were some winners beyond the pitch, and the losers on it continue to stink up the place.

Posted in Matches in Brief

Bande of Brothers at the AFAS

Five matches down so far and a couple of clubs will feel more relief than anything else. One club however is still destined to continue winless after 8 matches, and hopefully they’ll get one sooner rather than later!

And that team kicked us off yesterday with a 1-1 draw at Genk. The host took the lead through a fine free kick by Ruslan Malinovskiy. Unfortunately for me, Franck Berrier was hooked at half time, meaning my jinx unfortunately, again, continues. The best thing Yves Vanderhaeghe did this season was sign Zinho Gano. Scoring his 3rd goal at the Luminus Arena this season, you have to think why didn’t Genk sign him? He can’t stop scoring there. But with it being 1-1, it’s a very respectful scoreline regardless of Oostende’s current situation and position. De Smurfen will sure think of this as 2 points dropped though as they seem out of sorts still this season.

Thereafter, there was a 5 goal thrill at the Stade Cannonier where a topsy turvy match went the hosts way! Omar Govea struck a fine free kick of his own into the top corner to begin the scoring in what must have been a hard week for him. But before half time, The Pandas fought back through Mickael Tirpan and obviously Mbaye Leye to actually make it 2-1 to the strugglers. But Mouscron are made of stronger stuff and equalised early on the second half through an own goal by Jordan Loties to swing the momentum back to the hosts, where the outstanding Jonathan Bolongi stole the victory! This is outstanding by Mouscron right now and it keeps continuing. A late red card for Selim Amallah won’t dampen the hosts mood, whereas Eupen continue to struggle to gain that second win.

Now to the relevance of my title. Mechelen finally get their first league win of the season, beating a quality Sint Truiden side where Jonas De Roeck suffered his first defeat in charge of De Kanaries. Boureima Bande hit a brace for himself. The youngster from Burkina Faso scored just after 10 minutes, maybe settling nerves going into a tough match. And then he calmed any tension in the second half with his second and settler, condemning STVV to defeat. A win was much MUCH needed for the manager, probably more so than the fans in reality. I’m sure this won’t deny the visitors confidence in the short term whereas it’ll boost morale for Mechelen.

Lastly Beveren lost to Anderlecht in a match that looked like they dominated. It’s tough to say whether Nicolae Stanciu or Frank Boeckx was man of the match as one influenced in an attacking sense, whereas the other saved the day for the champions. But it was in fact Beveren who took an early lead through, you guessed it, Isaac Kiese Thelin. The Anderlecht player against his parent club scored a fine goal to get is underway. But in the second half, after a barrage of chances throughout for the host, Stanciu finally netted after he peppered the goal all second half, and the his corner late on was met by Uros Spajic. So 2-1 in the first match after Weiler’s dismissal (in the league) was unconvincing yet vital. A win is a win after all.

Posted in Matches in Brief

The Pro League is Back with a Bang

Last night we saw Kortrijk find their level. As they’re easing off now where they started so well, what was there, just isn’t now. Antwerp carried on their magnificent early season form with a 3-0 win. All three goals were of high quality and were all different by Owusu, Dequevy and Rodrigues.

With the 7 remaining fixtures, Saturday has matches where one of teams in each match needs a win more than the opposition. Oostende face Genk in the early match where, of course, they really need their first league win of the season. Managerless and rudderless they need to perform. Genk would also love a win but Oostende’s situation is a whole lot worse right now.

Then the middle matches include sides where they have just one league between them too. Thanks to the 2 sackings this week, I do think Mechelen and Eupen are one match away from losing their manager. Mechelen host Sint Truiden who have been a different class frankly. They are the Mechelen of last season and I wouldn’t be surprised by an away win.

The same can’t be said for Mouscron – Eupen. I can only see a home win. Eupen are the Mouscron of last season! (haha) Mouscron can be devastating if they perform as well as they have done at home against Gent and Club Brugge. Eupen aren’t terrible. They proved that in the derby last week, even though Standard seemed to dominate. However, I only see a home win.

Lastly tonight, another managerless club in the champions Anderlecht travel to Beveren. Les Mauves need Onyekuru firing still as he is their only hope right now. At the same time, Beveren need Ryota Morioka in the same form. I feel the likeliest result is actually a draw, unless Anderlecht finally turn up.

Tomorrow sees a huge match as the meat in the sandwich. But before then, the afternoon match is a doozy too! Gent welcome Zulte Waregem to the Ghelamco Arena. I do think an away win has the most chance. Gent finally managed their first win in the league last week, but against Oostende, that doesn’t count for much. Zulte for me just have too much quality even if Yuya Kubo finally found his shooting boots.

And now…Charleroi vs Club Brugge. This is the test to see if Charleroi can withstand the season in a title hunt. The only undefeated side in the league against the team at the top. Like many, again, I see an away win. I just think Brugge have the savvy to see off Charleroi who’s luck looks to be running out, especially after they threw away the victory last weekend to Beveren.

And finally…Standard Liege see us out of another weekend, at home to Lokeren. This match isn’t particularly make or break for either. I guess a draw if I had to pick a result. But another draw for Standard (if that did happen) wouldn’t be ideal. Lokeren have picked up as the season has gone and are finding their level now, whereas Standard have disappointed me so far.

Posted in Matches in Brief

Zulte Make Up Ground as Gent Finally Win

The title says it all really. I’ll now be filling out a blank screen for the next few paragraphs in case somebody actually stumbles across this! Before I speak about yesterday’s action, I’d like to go back to Saturday where I was unable to speak give my opinion on a couple of goals as I couldn’t find them! Ibrahima Seck’s finish yesterday was fantastic for Beveren, as was Roman Bezus’ free kick!

Now that my conscience is clear, I will now begin. And in a tedious link, it was kind of Zulte Waregem’s defence to clear the way and allow Taiwo Awoniyi to basically stroll through and slot the ball home. This has been a tough week for the hosts after their awful result against Nice on Thursday, and Mouscron were hoping to show no mercy in a tricky fixture this season.

To be fair though, Zulte fought back and equalised through Leya who has had a fine start to the season. Sandy Walsh scored a fine winner drilling the ball home at the far post to hopefully turn Waregem’s form around. Mouscron couldn’t build on their fantastic win last week but will still look to the positives!

Next was what I dubbed the wooden spoon match between winless Oostende and winless Gent. To sum up, Oostende are just appalling defensively and create chances for the opposition rather than the opposition creating fine openings. Yuya Kubo FINALLY opened his account for the season, tapping home an unchallenged volley into an empty net (long story). Gent sealed the win in second half stoppage time through 18 year old Louis Verstraete with a calm finish one on one with the keeper. Oostende, with one point, will be worried surely. No wins and 1 point. What is going on!

Lastly it was Eupen vs Standard Liege in the second derby of the weekend. Both goals coming in the first half with Mbaye Leye scoring his second goal for Eupen in the second minute, before my PP from last week, Paul-Jose Mpoku fired home the goal of the weekend in my opinion. Eupen will probably be more satisfied in my opinion as Les Rouches look for their second win.

A weekend which closes another match day and I’ll probably give a full assessment this coming week, along with the sack race and probably a piece regarding Oostende. I wrote about Gent about 5 weeks ago which I still think is fair, and now Oostende have to be assessed seeing as they are just plain dreadful right now!

Posted in Matches in Brief

STVV Come Out on Top in Limburg

With 3 matches left to play this weekend, at one point, it looked as if nobody wanted to win apart from Club Brugge. Another great match week so far as the tussle for the top swung one way, and then the other.

A comprehensive win for Blauw-Zwart Friday night where Brugge won 2-0 with two first half goals. Firstly, Wesley struck as a deflected Ruud Vormer cross found the only Black and Blue shirt 12 yards out. Dion Cools rounded off the scoring with a decent long range effort, deflecting in and condemning Mechelen to a defeat. Mechelen are looking worryingly poor right now. I questioned how long Yannick Ferrera has left right now, it doesn’t look like he has long unfortunately.

Saturday started with a topsy turvy match. Anderlecht opened the scoring through Hamdi Harbaoui with a strong header, showing there’s still life left in him. But De Kerels turned it around. Firstly through Ajagun, and the main man Chevalier scored his THIRD, that’s THIRD of the season (message to Kortrijk’s Twitter) to complete the turnaround. But with 15 minutes left, a sort of scrappy goal, finally scored by Onyekuru could’ve setup a late win for the champions, but it ended 2-2 at the Guldensporen stadion. Another poor result for Anderlecht on the surface of it.

Then another 2-2 took place, although it could’ve been so much better for Charleroi. Dorian Dessoleil and Rezaei looked to have won it for Les Zèbres. However, Thelin halved the deficit before in the 93rd minute, Ibrahima Seck turned the game on its head. Two each in a match where I genuinely felt Beveren wouldn’t have a chance. All credit to Phillipe Clement and his boys where Beveren never gave up in what would be one of their toughest away trips in the early fixtures. Dropped points for Charleroi but I’m sure this won’t affect them too much.

At the same time, Lokeren grabbed a draw in the final 10 minutes at home against Antwerp. The Great Old took the lead in the first half through William Owusu, although I do have sympathy for Verhulst in the Lokeren goal with a fine save, before nearly keeping out the goal! But in the 83rd minute, a long ball down field delicately nodded on by Tom de Sutter was deftly put away by Miric.  A fine goal in a match where Lokeren nearly took all three points, striking the post before the equaliser and nearly netting from a corner in the dying embers. Another fine point for Antwerp.

Last but not least, the Limburg derby kicked into gear late on as well. Bezus and Dussaut won the day for De Kanaries in the last 10 minutes at the Staaien! One of my favourite players Siebe Schrijvers made it a tense stoppage time for the hosts, but STVV took all 3 points against Genk. Sint Truiden have deserved all their recent plaudits. A great derby victory putting them into 3rd. Unbelievable start considering the early confusion in the dugout this season.

So, in a week where already Club Brugge are the real winners, and Anderlecht still can’t maintain anything, we’ll see if Gent or Oostende will finally win this season! 

Posted in Matches in Brief

Back to Work for Me & The JPL

This week I’ve slacked off. I published one piece yesterday to prove to people I’m still alive. Along with that, I found renewed enthusiasm to write, at least for another weekend, and its another weekend where Belgian football will hopefully prove to the bigger European football experts that this season especially, it’s not all about the same teams winning week in week out!

And as always, we start with tonight. I won’t lie, I fear for Mechelen tonight. They just can’t win right now and they allowed Oostende their first point of the season last week! I fear because Club Brugge will want to bounce back, at home, after losing their first league match of the season last week. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a 3-0 home win, but with this season, who knows?

Saturday begins with Kortrijk welcoming Anderlecht. With a grounding 3-2 for the visitors last week, hopefully for Réne Weiler, his front 2 will come good this week again. For De Kerels, they grabbed a good point in the derby away to Zulte Waregem last week where it could’ve been worse, yet, could’ve been better. Les Mauves were humbled midweek by Bayern but I’m sure they’ll rectify that tomorrow.

Next up its a weird one. Lokeren host Antwerp where the Great Old would’ve considered this a ‘breather’ amongst their early run of fixtures, but Lokeren have played well over the past month and I wouldn’t be surprised if they nick this. I predict both teams to score, but Lokeren taking all 3 points, but again, Antwerp have been so good this season, you can never rule them out! 

Leaders Charleroi, who I can’t help but enjoy what they’re doing, play Beveren who spanked Eupen last week 5-1! Les Zébres will most likely continue their wonderful start, and will probably think they dropped 2 points last week against an average Standard Liege side this season. Mazzu will look to pick up from where they left off before the international break.

Saturday culminates with the Limburg derby, as a superb STVV say hello to neighbours Genk! Sint Truiden, for me, are the favourites going in. But De Smurfen have a mental edge over their hosts who have outperformed them this season so far. Yohan Boli will be looked at for goals tomorrow night and with Jonas De Roeck, maybe a new outlook may favour the hosts in what will be a tight game at the Staaien.

Sunday brings us a trio of matches where I hope it’ll be more eventful than last week! We start with Zulte Waregem who were demolished by Nice on Thursday night, who face an extremely confident Mouscron who go from strength to strength. However, and I’ve said this too often, I think Essevee will aim to just not lose and will most likely win in my opinion. Francky Dury will get his players playing I’m sure in what is a huge Sunday afternoon match.

The evening affair sees Oostende vs Gent. Another couple of Europa League rejects. And the way they’re going, a couple of Pro League rejects too. Disappointing is an understatement for these 2 where not only can’t they win, but it’s becoming embarrassing. Maybe something will give Sunday evening though?

And we end with our second derby of the weekend. Eupen and Standard Liege will hardly light up the sky on Sunday at the Kehrweg, and Les Rouches will most likely come out on top. I still fear for Jordi Condom’s job week after week, and its admirable his still in work. But I just feel Standard will be too strong.

Posted in Matches in Brief

Back to Business in Belgium

Following on from my previous post, yes the Pro League is back! I cannot stand international breaks. Where fans sometimes can’t be bothered with the old club vs country thing where, if I’m honest, I definitely care more about my club, I just hope in some ways this start to the season in Belgium continues. Where this 2 weeks off from domestic football will either slow down certain clubs, like Sint Truiden or Mouscron, and maybe aid clubs such as Anderlecht and Oostende in the race to gain points…and fast!

And speaking of Les Mauves, they host Lokeren who have been very good in recent weeks and are finding the back of the net at a good rate too. Even though the strikers at the Daknamstadion aren’t finding the back of the net with regularity, I’m sure the fans won’t care. Anderlecht on the other hand will hopefully say their season begins tonight. If I were René Weiler, without being too gung ho, I would go for it with Onyekuru and Teodorczyk up front and take the game to Lokeren, under the Friday night lights at the Constant Vanden Stock.

With that out the way, Club Brugge will hope to make it 6 wins out of 6. If it were last season you’d think this would be a formality, but Mouscron have surprised me at least. For me though, I do wonder if the international break would’ve slowed down Mouscron’s momentum, and Brugge simply have the quality. I personally do think the Blauw-Zwart will win Saturday evening, but with the way this season at Le Stade Cannonier, who knows…?

After that, two 7pm GMT kick offs commence, with Antwerp against STVV, and Beveren vs Eupen. The former could be the match of the evening, with both clubs impressing this season. The hosts have feared no one, much like Sint Truiden. A 0-0 draw will probably take place now, but I’m not sure how either will keep a clean sheet, where Antwerp find the back of the net regularly, and Sint Truiden are firing through Yohan Boli and Igor Vetokele.

The latter mentioned fixture could be a match where, well, maybe I lied in the introduction and the fans of these clubs only care. Beveren will hope to bounce back from their last 2 results, whereas Eupen will hope they can take any positives. I really believe the Pandas will take a point now, without being too disrespectful, but with Ryota Morioka, I’m sure gaining a good result away at the Freethiel is easier said than done.

Lastly on Saturday, Zulte Waregem welcome Kortrijk. Christophe Lepoint will want to haunt his former employers at the Regenboogstadion, but much like Mouscron vs Club Brugge, I think the quality will shine through for Essevee. Plus, they are at home so the likelihood of a home win looms in my opinion. Hardly the prediction of a lifetime but Kortrijk have began to faulter. Not alarmingly, but against a strong Zulte, I’m sure the hosts will come out on top.

Going into Sunday, 5 of the 6 teams will certainly relish all 3 points come full time. Gent just can’t win right now. With Genk coming to town, this is 2 home matches where Gent, on paper, with their recent form, would like to come away unscathed. De Buffalos would also like another clean sheet for sure, but Pozuelo may have found his shoot boots, scoring the winner last time out, and with Samatta and Scrijvers, this is a stern test at the Ghelamco Arena and a quality afternoon match!

Next up, Standard Liege will be aiming to at least keep a clean sheet too, praying they don’t concede 4 again. Only problem is, Charleroi visit the Stade Maurice Dufrasne and that come with their 100% record too. Amazing start for Les Zèbres and will hope to build from the back again, keeping 3 clean sheets so far. I tipped Standard to do well this season, but I actually could see an away win, not a draw, but a win. No firepower for Les Rouches right now and Charleroi fight for 90+ minutes every week right now.

Lastly, 2 teams without a single win between them and one of those sides without a single point. Mechelen welcome Oostende in a match where maybe, just maybe, De Kustboys may pinch their first win. They battled hard in the dying minutes last time out against Antwerp, and I feel the acquisition of Zinho Gano may prove vital, whether him finishing off moves or bringing others into play with his aerial ability. The signing of Silvère Ganvoula M’Boussy could also see the hosts to their first win if he takes his form from Westerlo to Mechelen.

A lot of tricky fixtures to call, and no doubt there’ll be an upset along the way, but right now, Belgian football surprises us without surprising us, if that makes sense…?