Welcome to the second post of my Moneyball save with FC Twente. We have reached the end of the season which as been really enjoyable. The club is serving a 3 year European ban so we are going to miss out on European football and a boost to our finances but that is making the save interesting whilst watching the finances and playing by the Moneyball rules from my previous post It is also adding another dimension to the save for me has I am now shopping in another market that I don’t normally do looking for players disguarded by their club’s but who I think can do a job for us at low cost outlay whilst also using the loan market. This season I have had Lucas Coelho on loan from Gremio and he has top scored at both the club and in the league, I have also had 18 year old Simone Mazzocchi on loan from Atalanta who has netted 15 times. I was aware of Mazzocchi’s potential from my time at Atalanta and have tried my very best to make his loan deal permanent but the club just can’t afford to buy him because Atalanta are looking for around £4m to £5m for his signature. Our transfer budget next season will be under £1m. We have a clause in Coelho’s loan deal that we can buy him for £1m from Gremio but again I doubt we will be able to activate that clause. The summer months will be interesting but that’s for my next post so let’s not waste any more time and have a look at our season panned out.
November / December 2016
We start the month of November with a below par performance against Excelsior with the only highlight of our game a goal from Mateusz Klich that earned us a 1-1 draw. We then faced two away games the first at high flying FC Groningen who took the game to us and inflicted our first defeat upon us in 12 games by beating us 2-3 in an entertaining game that saw both Mazzocchi and Mbikulu getting our goals. Our next game on the road was against top of the table PSV Eindoven and probably our best performance to date even though we lost 0-1 we were reduced to 10 men when Kyle Ebecillo received his marching orders after just 20 minutes for a reckless challenge on Jeffrey Bruma. Although down to 10 men we took the game to PSV and almost grabbed a point but for a 2nd half strike from Luuk de Jong that was good enough to win any game in any ground around the World has he thundered the ball in the net from at least 40 yards. The defeat ment we had a winless November but I could see positives in our performance during the month.
We moved in to December with an home game against Feyenoord which saw us get back to winning ways with a 4-2 win that flattered our opponents from Rotterdam. The outstanding Mateusz Klich scored a brace and assisted both Mazzocchi and Coelho who put the game out of Feyenoord’s reach. Mazzocchi and Coelho were both on the scoresheet in our next game along with Ebecillo in a 3-2 win against ADO Den Haag. Dutch Cup action followed and a 1-0 win against RKC in the 2nd round with Enes Unal getting the winner. The last game before the winter break we welcomed Ajax to Enschede who beat us 5-3 in Amsterdam in the 2nd game of the season after we had led 3-1. As expected Ajax played a 4-3-3 formation which I decided to counter with 3-2-2-1-2 (see below) in an attempt to control the centre of the pitch. What happened during the game was amazing not only did we control the central area but we completely over run Ajax in hammering them 7-0 (see match report below). So we entered the winter break on a positive whilst being sat in 3rd place in the league.
That Ajax Game
The transfer window opened with us receiving a bid from Ajax for Mateusz Klich our best player to date this season. They bid £5m for him which is over his value so in line with my Moneyball rules I had to accept the bid. Klich had already expressed his desire to join Ajax before the bid was made and asked for permission to be allowed to speak to them if a bid was made. I accepted the bid and managed to negotiate a future sell on fee and the deal was done. Remember Oussama Assaidi and his big contract well I accepted a loan deal with a small option to buy fee with Galatasaray however Assaidi turned the deal down is left still bleeding money out of the club.
We had 3 league games in January which resulted in us beating FC Utrecht at home 4-2 (Mazzocchi 3, Klitch), Hercules away 3-1 (Mazzocchi 2, Coelho) and drawing 0-0 with AZ. We also got knocked out of the Dutch Cup at the Quarter-final stage losing 0-1 to Go Ahead Eagles. I would have liked us to have gone on and progressed in to the last 4 but it was not to be.
We opened the month with a good 3-0 win against PEC Zwolle with goals from Vankan, Van der Heyden and Coelho. We followed the win up with a 1-1 draw at SC Heerenveen after Fredrik Jensen rescued a point for us with an 84th minute goal. We finished the month with another 1-1 draw this time at home to Sparta Rotterdam which was a disappointing performance that started well with a 10th minute Ebecillo goal. The draw extends our unbeaten run in the league to 10 games of 5 wins and 5 draws.
March kicks off with a 3-2 win against Go Ahead Eagles in a cracker of a game that the Eagles more than played their part. Our goals came from Unal, ter Avest and Jensen. Willam II away next produced a 2-0 win that was well deserved with goals from Coelho and Thesker. We then end the month with a fortunate 2-1 win against Roda JC were we had to rely on an own goal to give us the victory just 12 minutes from time along with an earlier Thesker goal. Our unbeaten run is extended to 13 games which as given us an outside chance of the league title with 6 games to play.
April / May 2017
A brilliant start to the month with us beating Vitesse 5-1 that involved Lucas Coelho netting a first half hat-trick with both Jensen and Mokotjo also getting on the scoresheet. Our unbeaten run continued with a 1-0 win over N.E.C thanks to a Kyle Ebecillo strike. A superb performance and brace from Fredrik Jensen leads us to a solid 3-1 win over Excelsior that puts us on top of the table 1 point ahead of Ajax and extends our unbeaten run to 16 games. With the title and our destiny in our own hands up next was a trip to Rotterdam to play in form Feyenoord who end our unbeaten run and the chance of the title beating us 3-4 with our goals courtesy of Mokotjo 2 and Bunjaki, With hopes of the title dashed we then drew 1-1 at home to FC Groningen which enables Ajax to take the title. We end the season a high when Simone Mazzocchi scores both our goals in a 2-0 win against 3rd place PSV Eindoven.
Eredivisie Team Stats
Eredivisie Player Stats
Golden Boot Award
Young Player Of The Year
FC Twente Squad Stats 16-17
A fantastic season with Lucas Coelho winning the player of the year award at the club with his 17 goals and 9 assists just ahead of Simone Mazzocchi who at 18 years of age scored 15 goals with 5 assists. The two on loan forwards were the catalyst of our performance in the Eredivisie this season.
Always nice to make a profit however small it is, we also reduced the debt to £30m so my Moneyball approach is going in the right direction.
Thank you for reading this post and hope you return shortly to check out how the Moneyball concept affect our Pre-Season preparations has we look to build for another season in Holland.
2016-2017 Eredivisie 2nd Dutch Cup QF
FC Twente Moneyball