ANTWERPDue to the World Cup break, the smooth cup victory against Standard and the spectacular remonte against Westerlo, things got snowed under a bit, but in the meantime Antwerp could not win five consecutive league matches. Some striking findings in the recent 3 out of 15.
3 out of 15 (or less): almost five years ago
Since Antwerp’s return to the highest football class in 2017, it has only happened once before that they took 3 out of 15 or less in the regular season. At the beginning of 2018, almost five years ago, a poor series of 2 to 15 was achieved under Laszlo Bölöni. Even more: there was even a run of seven consecutive games without a win (4 out of 21). In the play-offs, Antwerp often did worse. Last season, the Great Old once got stuck at 1 in 15, the year before at 2 in 15.
Only the last two do worse
If you were to make a ranking of the last five games, Antwerp would actually be in a relegation place. The last five match days only Seraing and Zulte Waregem scored less points. Seraing is currently at 0 out of 15, Zulte Waregem at 2 out of 15.
There are mitigating circumstances for Antwerp. For example, Racing Genk, Anderlecht and Club Brugge recently faced three opponents from the G5. Moreover, trainer Mark van Bommel has to miss a laundry list of players these days and the game was just good at times. But even then: such a period of drought is actually out of the question for a team that aspires to the top.
Heavy program after New Year
After New Year, Antwerp will therefore have to recover in terms of numbers. But the program up to and including mid-February looks extremely heavy. For example, the Stamnummer 1 must successively compete against AA Gent, Union, Ostend, Standard, Anderlecht, Club Brugge and Racing Genk. In between there is also a cup match on the Genk field. Just take it… The beginning of 2023 will show to what extent Antwerp can still be regarded as a real title candidate.
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