Nick Olij is the Eredivisie Player of the Month. The Sparta goalkeeper performed best in January based on statistics and votes from football fans.
Despite both Vangelis Pavlidis (six goals and one assist) and Anastasios Douvikas (four goals and two assists) achieving an impressive goalscoring average in the month of January, the award does not go to either of the Greek strikers. Douvikas failed to reach the limit of at least 60% playing time through three substitutions, while Pavlidis had to beat Sparta Rotterdam's goalkeeper by a small margin.
Nick Olij's election as Eredivisie Player of the Month, however, has not come out of the blue. Sparta Rotterdam had their best first half of the season in 50 years and currently sit in a decent sixth place. Maurice Steijn's team did not lose once in January: points were taken from PSV (0-0), SC Cambuur (0-3 win) and Nijmegen (1-1), while at Sparta Stadium 'Het Kasteel', city rivals Excelsior Rotterdam (1-0 win) and RKC Waalwijk (0-0) also struggled to beat the Spartan defence.
Nick Olij kept his goal clear in four of the five games. He thus became the second Sparta goalkeeper with four clean sheets in a month in the Eredivisie, after Andries van Dijk in April 1962. The Expected Goals value for goals against was 3.9. So, with 18 saves and only one goal conceded, Olij was an important asset in the Spartan wall. In addition, Olij also managed to contribute offensively: with 16 passes in the attacking third of the pitch, he managed to find a teammate more often than all other goalkeepers.
The 27-year-old from Haarlem was twice voted KPN Man of the Match by football fans in January. He is the first Sparta Rotterdam player to win the monthly award and - after Thorsten Kirschbaum in February 2020 - the second goalkeeper ever. Besides a trophy, Olij will also receive an Eredivisie Player of the Month card in the game FIFA 23.
About the voting
The Eredivisie Player of the Month and Johan Cruijff Talent of the Month Awards are based on statistics (StatsPerform) and votes from football fans (KPN Man of the Match). The vote is an initiative of the Eredivisie CV in collaboration with ESPN. The Johan Cruijff Talent of the Month is an initiative of the Eredivisie CV, in collaboration with ESPN, Johan Cruijff Foundation and VriendenLoterij (Friends Lottery).