Tricky times for the Jupiler League’s big four

By | January 21, 2012

After Racing Genk’s victory over Sint Truiden last night, there is a possibility of one or two upsets as the big four clubs all have fixtures that could be trickier than they look on paper: Anderlecht’s visit Kortrijk while Standard Liege go to Westerlo; elsewhere, Gent receive Zulte Waregem while Cllub Brugge welcome KV Mechelen.  

Kortrijk (4th equal) –Anderlecht (1st)

Anderlecht will hope to take last week’s form to Kortrijk but Hein Vanhaezebrouck’s men have taken 22 points from the last 27 at home. Kortrijk are also in the last four of the cup – good for morale – and will be confident of taking a point at least. Their only worry is that on loan striker Dalibor Veselinovic cannot play for Kortrijk against his club: contractual reasons. Pablo Chavarria, however, will be reporting for duty.  

Gent (2nd) – Zulte Waregem (14th)

On paper this should be a home victory but Gent are not looking happy with themselves after losing at Lierse and been knocked out of the cup by Lokeren. They are also without Bernd Thijs, Zlatan Ljubijankic and Tim Smolders. Christian Brüls will probably move into midfield. Although Zulte Waregem haven’t won any of their last six they could be dangerous with Francky Dury returning to his old club and Franck Berrier having something to prove after being thrown out by Standard.

Beerschot (9th) – Cercle Brugge (7th)

Neither club has been in great form recently. Beerschot will be without Gary Kagelmacher who has moved to Monaco and Stijn Stijnen (rumours that his mind is elsewhere). Cercle Brugge may hand Silva de Carvalho his first start. Cercle could nick this one.

Club Brugge (3rd) – KV Mechelen (10th)

Club Brugge are probably still in shock after their defeat at Anderlecht. They are strong at home but will be without Vadis Odjidja (to be replaced by young Thibaut Van Acker) and it could be Bjorn Vleminckx who pays the price for the Anderlecht defeat; to be replaced by Joseph Akpala (?). That would be a tad unfair as he was not given many chances but last year’s Eredivisie top scorer does look a little slow these days. New boy Carlos Bacca will start on the bench. KV Mechelen are unbeaten in five and David Destorme is back – watch out for a draw or away win.

Lokeren (11th equal) – Lierse (13th)

This will be a rehearsal for the rather surprising cup semi final. Lokeren are the draw specialists par excellence and will be buoyed by their cup result. The same goes for Lierse in spades, they are unbeaten in their last three games and Chris Janssens seems to be doing a great job. Expect a draw.

Mons (8th) – Leuven (11th equal)

Cédric Berthelin regains his place in the Mons goal after Olivier Werner’s suspension. Jeremy Perbet is doubtful and that might give Leuven – with Chuka leading the attack – a boost. Leuven are unbeaten, surprisingly, in their last five games and will be looking for a point.

Westerlo (15th) – Standard Liege (4th equal)

Westerlo are struggling and have a lot of injuries. Despite that, they often raise their game against the ‘big’ clubs. Verbauwhede could debut in goal, while José Riga will be scratching his head and wondering what he should do after Wednesday night’s disaster against Lierse.

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