Thursday, April 12, 2012

Scout Report: Youngsters rule Dutch football

The Dutch Eredivisie has gone into Christmas break, with all 17 rounds of the first half of the season already played. We now have a great chance to take a look at Holland's top performing offensive players.

IMScouting's efficiency report generator calculates the number of goals plus assists, divided by the number of minutes that the player has played, in league matches only. In order to get into this list, a player must have reached at least 700 minutes on the field.

Leading the list is Feyenoord Rotterdam's 19 year old striker John Guidetti . The Rotterdam giants are in the midst of a severe economic crisis and have had to base their squad on home-grown talents and players in on loan. The Swedish U21 international, who has been considered a huge talent since childhood, was signed by Manchester City when only 15 years old, but could never make it into their first squad. This season, on loan to Feyenoord , Guidetti is finally making his breakthrough in top division football: With 11 goals and 3 assists in just 10 games in the starting lineup, he has led Feyenoord 's offensive line in their unexpectedly successful first half of the season.

But with all due respect to Guidetti's long awaited explosion, the best offensive player in Dutch football at the moment is the list's no. 2, PSV Eindhoven's mercurial left winger Dries Mertens . After a great 2010/11 season with FC Utrecht (13 goals, 17 assists), the 24 year-old Belgian international was bought by PSV for 7m Euros and has since then proved more than worthy of his price tag: with 13 goals and 11 assists to his name, Mertens is directly responsible for half of PSV 's league goals, and taking into account the Dutch cup and the Europa League he has 16 goals plus 16 assists in 26 games this season! 

PSV Eindhoven, the league's best offensive team so far with 48 goals, are also the most represented team on the list, with 21 year-old Dutch international Georginio Wijnaldum (16th place, 7 goals, 5 assists), Swedish powerhouse midfielder Ola Toivonen (18th place, 10 goals, 2 assists) and 18 year-old Dutch-Moroccan prodigy Zakaria Labyad (9th place, 3 goals, 6 assists) joining Mertens to complete an extremely offensive midfield unit.

League leaders AZ Alkmaar's only representative is Swedish international midfielder Rasmus Elm (14th place, 8 goals, 5 assists). Last season's runner-ups FC Twente Enschede have their striking duo of Austrian international bomber Marc Janko (3rd place, 10 goals, 3 assists) and the towering 21 year-old Dutch forward Luuk de Jong (7th place, 10 goals, 6 assists) backed by the magnificent wing-man Ola John (11th place, 5 goals, 7 assists), the 19 year-old Liberian born Dutch U19 international on his breakthrough season.  

SC Heerenveen have the league's 4th best scoring ratio, led by the league's top-scorer Bas Dost (4th place, 14 goals, 4 assists). The 22 year-old towering Dutch striker (192cm) has reached double figures in the last two seasons, and is enjoying the best form of his short career, including scoring all 5 goals in his team's victory over excelsior earlier this month.  Dost is backed up by a pair of incredibly talented wing players: the Eredivisie's top assist-maker, Dutch U21 right-winger Luciano Narsingh (5th place, 5 goals, 12 assists) and the gifted 23 year-old Moroccan international left-winger Oussama Assaidi (15th place, 7 goals, 3 assists). 

Reigning Champions Ajax Amsterdam are missing their top forward Mounir El Hamdaoui, who has fallen out of favor with head coach Frank De Boer, but keep a safe 5 point distance from leaders AZ , led by the Serbian creative forward Miralem Sulejmani (8th place, 11 goals, 2 assists), the playmaking genius of 19 year-old Danish international Christian Eriksen (10th place, 4 goals, 10 assists) and last season's second division sensation Derk Boerrigter (19th place, 4 goals, 4 assists), who's surprising performances have even earned him his first international call up last November.  

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