TIME TO WORK.
Now that the full release is here, I guess I better have a look at what I’ve got to work with.
The media prediction for Volendam is third, but the bookies make us 8th favourites and the board want a mid-table finish. Since I’m new to the division and can’t rely on the predictions to give me an idea of where we are comparatively, I want to start by looking at the comparison screens to see how we stack up in each area.
MENTALS AND PHYSICALS
Starting with the mentals, we’re above average in more than half of the attributes, but not by much. We have particularly poor aggression and leadership, which does concern me. Immediately I get the sense we’re a bit of a soft touch, which is something I want to change as soon as possible. After seeing the following quote in Das Reboot, I’m keen to make sure we have a few ‘battlers’ who aren’t afraid to get stuck in. Judging by this, we have none.
‘He (Michael Ballack) was a different type of player, ready to roll up his sleeves and hurt an opponent. We didn’t have that. We were a super fair team playing super football, but we didn’t have a tough guy. Maybe we were too nice. In tight games, games that don’t go in your favour, you need other methods.‘
I’ve highlighted the mental DNA attributes I’m looking for, with only our decisions being at a level I’m pleased with. Anticipation, teamwork and work rate are all around average for the league so don’t concern me but also don’t thrill me, whereas composure and determination are obvious weaknesses that I’m not happy with.
Physically we’re not too bad, we’re above average in all areas other than jumping reach and natural fitness. Fitness is part of the DNA which is obviously a problem and will affect how we approach pressing when we create tactics, and our lack of jumping reach is a concern at either end. All things to ponder.
I think the best way to describe our goalkeeping situation for the year is work in progress. We have the most agile keepers in the division and they also do well in 1v1’s, but basics like handling and reflexes let them down. They’re both great prospects and Stankovic probably starts the season as first choice, but I’m not 100% sold.
The defence are relatively solid, especially good at heading and marking. The fact that we’re far below average at jumping reach negates their heading ability quite significantly, as I’ll probably have to look to limit crosses coming into the box to compensate. Positioning is also a concern, we may have to play a lower line than I’d like and limit the risks of somebody being caught out.
Seemingly we have a more creative midfield than we do destructive. Passing isn’t great but is made up for with good levels of vision, technique and decisions. They also have above average long shots, so that may be an avenue to explore too. I’ve already talked about my concern of not having any ‘battlers’, the midfield and their lack of tackling definitely proves that point. We may have to stick an extra man in there to compensate. Think McFred, I do love a double pivot!
The attack looks very underwhelming. Long shots are a strength again, but the other technicals are poor. We have a juxtaposition where Robert Mühren is dragging the averages of our technicals up because he’s comfortably our best striker, but the others all have pace where he doesn’t as he’s 32. Any time Mühren can’t play or isn’t performing we’ll need a plan B, the rest will all be square pegs in round holes.
Robert Mühren is the main man, having just re-joined Volendam for the fourth(!) time in his career. We’re relying on him to carry our goal threat, with his great finishing ability backed by really solid composure and off the ball. He’s not the quickest anymore at 32, but can definitely still get himself into the right positions to put the ball in the net. His DNA attributes are also really strong, with not a single one under 10.
Damon Mirani is a really solid defender for this level and I fear he may be a player I struggle to keep hold of for long. His technical ability defensively is brilliant, and although he’s not going to be a marauding wide centre-back his passing is decent enough if we decide to play out from the back. Mentally he’s fairly strong, although concentration of 10 concerns me a bit, but his DNA is great, with a few 15’s chucked in there to really show off! His pace isn’t amazing which is another reason to consider dropping the defensive line a little further back than I may have otherwise.
Boy Duel is the most ‘interesting’ of the three interesting players, because he offers me a real dilemma. He’s got quality and offers a lot of creativity, but has truly appalling determination and natural fitness, both DNA attributes. I like the look of him as a wide playmaker out on the right, but since this is only step one in starting to formulate a tactical plan I have no idea if that’s a position or role we’ll need or want. Add in the fact that the tactics will be applied at all levels of the club and it seems unlikely that it will be accommodated for Boy when he’s only here for a year. He’s either going to be a bit of an x-factor that we make allowances for, or he will be a complete outcast and leave on a free after a year, and at this point I have no idea which.
That’s my first look at the Volendam squad, next time out we’ll put this into practice and create the tactics for the coming season. If you have any thoughts or advice, feel free to leave them in the comments, or hit me up on Twitter!
Thanks for reading, and until next time, tot ziens!
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