The 2021/22 Eredivisie season has so far provided a wealth of excitement and unpredictability. Prior to this year's campaign kicking off, SciSports produced a top 10 list of Ones to Watch in the new season. Identifying new talent can often be reliant on such players gaining time of the pitch within a fully functioning team. As a result, it seems like a good time to revisit such options. With around half of the season already completed, we will take a look back at how five of those selected players are currently performing in addition to flagging five new talents that you should be tracking in the second half of the season. In this post, we take a closer look at five Ones to Watch from the first half of the Eredivisie campaign as well as five others to look out for moving forward.
The first half of the Eredivisie season has been memorable for several reasons. For talents that we identified before the campaign started, there has been a mixed bag of performances so far. Below, we look at how they have been getting on so far.
Moussa Sylla (FC Utrecht)
SciSkill: 59.5 Potential: 78.5
Moussa Sylla is one of the players that we expect to make a big breakthrough in the second half of the season. The winger has had some injury issues recently but was contributing really well with five goal involvements in only 12 games beforehand.
Sylla is showing strengths in multiple areas compared to other winger in the league - including performing as a top third performer on late crossing which aligns with his role as a Classic Winger. As well as strengths in crossing, Sylla is a typical dribbler and a specific quality is his dribble into the box. It will be interesting to see if he comes back from his injury and can reach his level again and, if so, Sylla will put his mark on the good play of FC Utrecht.
Iñigo Cordoba (Go Ahead Eagles)
SciSkill: 73.4 Potential: 81.0
Iñigo Córdoba is currently on loan from Athletic Bilbao at the Eagles. The Left Winger who plays in the role of a Classic Winger is a huge asset to the team of Van Wonderen.
With high performances on his late crossing and his chance creation pass, Cordoba's involvement in goals is very impressive. In addition to his involvement in goals, the 24-year-old is highly involved in the defensive work as well. He is the best overall presser of the Eredivisie compared with all the wingers in the league and it will be interesting to track his development in 2022.
Jens Odgaard (RKC Waalwijk)
SciSkill: 61.5 Potential: 77.5
After a first season in the Eredivisie at SC Heerenveen, the Danish forward got a second chance at RKC Waalwijk. This time the Wide Playmaker is having a great season. The left-footed right winger has some high performances on specific action types this season. Most specific performances are on the finishing aspect with high performance on his Offensive Positioning and Finishing.
Odgaard kept a bit under the radar in the first half of the season, but is definitely worth following in the second half of the season. In Heerenveen the Danish striker mostly played as a centre forward but this role looks like a better fit.
Yukinari Sugawara (AZ Alkmaar)
SciSkill: 61.1 Potential: 91.8
Yukinari Sugawara has almost played 60 games for AZ Alkmaar and this season can be seen as his best one so far. The Japanese wingback is performing as a best performer in most defensive action types compared to other full/wing backs in the Eredivisie this season.
Sugawara is also quite involved in the offensive play of AZ Alkmaar. Strengths in his underlapping runs and crossing abilities make Sugawara an impressive fit at wing back and an intriguing player to track over the coming months.
Giacomo Quagliata (Heracles Almelo)
SciSkill: 63.1 Potential: 85.4
Giacomo Quagliata is having a great second season in the Eredivisie so far. The Italian Wingback who mostly plays as a Inverted Wing Back is performing amongst the top third performers in his position. With excellent performance on Suppress Dribbling and Suppress Finishing, Quagliata is a big asset to the Heracles Almelo defensive unit.
Furthermore, excellent qualities such as his underlapping and overlapping run show that the 21-year-old might be ready for a next step in his impressive career development.
NEW ONES TO WATCH FOR 2022
With around half of the season already completed, we will take a look to flagging five new talents that you should be tracking in the second half of the season.
Cas Odenthal (NEC Nijmegen)
SciSkill: 58.9 Potential: 86.5
Cas Odenthal has enjoyed a good start to life in the Dutch top flight this season. Currently playing in his debut Eredivisie campaign, the centre back is already showing signs of adapting to the high level of quality.
The 21-year-old mainly holds strengths in areas such as Prevention and Pressing - both of which demonstrate his key defensive qualities at the back. Moreover, Odenthal currently ranks in the top third of performers among other centre backs in the Eredivisie.
Such performances in the first half of the Eredivisie 2021/22 campaign suggests that there is more to come from Odenthal in 2022 as he continues his development at the top level.
Luuk Brouwers (Go Ahead Eagles)
SciSkill: 59.7 Potential: 72.1
Luuk Brouwers has caught the eye this season with impressive performances in Defensive Midfield. Categorised as a Ball Winning Midfielder, the 23-year-old has been a key component to Go Ahead Eagles' good start in the league.
Having contributed a number of goals to the team already, Brouwers is showing his worth in more areas than one. High performances in areas like Passing, Pressing and Offensive positioning illustrates his well-rounded abilities in the middle of the pitch.
If Brouwers manages to keep up this level of performance in 2022, Go Ahead Eagles will most likely continue to go from strength to strength in the league.
Alex Bangura (SC Cambuur)
SciSkill: 52.0 Potential: 74.0
Alex Bangura is another new name to the Eredivisie this season with Cambuur Leeuwarden. Just like Odenthal, the 22-year-old has taken to the step up in quality very well with good performance levels from Left Back.
In terms of playing style, Bangura has had to adapt his game this season to cater for more defensive responsibilities. As a result, he has been very active in areas like Recoveries and Pressing. Furthermore, an important area of his game is high performances in Dribbling action types like Carry and Dribble past opponent.
Such contributions for this Cambuur Leeuwarden team are a significant reason why they have started the 2021/22 in such great fashion.
Mees Hoedemakers (SC Cambuur)
SciSkill: 66.2 Potential: 83.0
Sticking with the midfield theme, Mees Hoedemakers is another player catching the eye in the first half of the season.
Hoedemakers arrived for his debut Eredivisie season off the back of an impressive Keuken Kampioen Divisie season in 2020/21 - registering 13 goal contributions. So far this season, the step up has seen the 23-year-old register some impressive underlying numbers.
As a player who mostly aligns with the Box-to-Box Midfielder role, high performance in Pressing, Recoveries and Prevention make him a useful outlet in the midfield. It will be interesting to track Hoedemakers' development in 2022 as he continues his time in the Eredivisie.
Mees Hilgers (FC Twente)
SciSkill: 57.3 Potential: 78.2
FC Twente's good start to the 2021/22 campaign has largely been due to an impressive defensive effort and Mees Hilgers has been an important part of that.
The 20-year-old has become a key player for FC Twente this season and started the majority of matches at centre back. Thanks to trust and confidence in young players from the club's management, Hilgers is one of the rising stars in the Eredivisie right now.
2022 is set to be a big year for the defender as he looks to continue impressive development from the first half of this season. High performance traits in Recoveries and Pressing make him an exciting player to watch.