BeNeFoot Eredivisie 2015/16 Preview

It’s been a brutal summer for the Eredivisie. Memphis Depay left. Georginio Wijnaldum found a new home. Jordy Clasie moved to re-unite with his footballing father. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But as ever, there is enough to still be excited about. The Eredivisie has been labelled as a development league and while that might sound a bit condescending, it is true. We develop. Time and time again. And in the meanwhile, lots of goals are scored, titles are won and lost, new talent is discovered until they too leave for a bigger competition.

In the end, the Premier League has never seen Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Serie A has not witnessed the devastating ability of Luis Suarez, Ligue 1 knows nothing of the divine dribbles of Arjen Robben. And La Liga fans for now can only hope they can see ‘the new Ronaldo’ when their club faces Memphis Depay in European competition. They will have to make do with the old for now. And while the rest of the world lavishes praise upon themselves looking at the stars of now, we can see the stars of the future with our own eyes. And if the Eredivisie alumni fail abroad, ah well, we still had our fun watching them, it was great while it lasted.

This season again, there is a lot to look forward to and with this preview, you can read all about it. BeNeFoot debutant Bart Frouws describes the remarkable resurrection of Nijmegen’s N.E.C., the talented Mark Lievisse Adriaanse explains the Feyenoord conundrum  and the prodigious Priya Ramesh tells all about Ajax and the ever rising star of Riechedly Bazoer. In fact, all 18 clubs have been handed an individual preview, of which you can find a snippet in our Eredivisie 2015/16 prediction below. Every year is a vintage year in Eredivisie, let’s hope for another one.

Michiel Jongsma & Peter McVitie, editors Dutch Football BeNeFoot


Ajax: Frankie and Johnny will try to make it work
Prediction: 1st

The Ajax XI that starts this season could potentially already look immensely different to the XI they finished last season with, which means Frank de Boer needs to imbue coordination and understanding between his old faithfuls and new arrivals.

Player to watch: Riechedly Bazoer

”He belongs a mould of central midfielder that we have not seen in quite a while, until perhaps the rise of Paul Pogba; elegant in his play, intelligent in his passing and clean with his tackling.”

The full preview:

PSV: There is always the hope of a Jetro performance
Prediction: 2nd

”His first season in management was regarded a failure, his second a success. Whether Phillip Cocu is a good manager in the making or not is still very much in the balance, although momentarily the arrow is pointing more to the positive end.”

Player to watch: Adam Maher

”A tremendously talented central midfielder, so comfortable in all central roles that he has from a young age drawn comparisons with Cesc. Yet still waiting for international recognition. This season is set to be Maher’s year.”

The full preview:

Feyenoord: Love in times of Kuyt and Elia
Prediction: 3rd

”Van Bronckhorst joined Feyenoord at eight years old, came back to Feyenoord as a starter at Barcelona and therefore has a lot of credit with both the fans and the club’s board. But yet another failed season is unlikely to be accepted by neither the mass nor the club. ”

Player to watch: Marko Vejinovic

”Vejinovic is an intelligent player, who impressed in pre-season friendlies with his insight, passing qualities and through-balls. Aged 25, he is ready to step things up at a bigger club to continue his impressive performance at Vitesse from last season.”

The full preview:

Vitesse: Chelsea youngsters out to make an impact in Arnhem
Prediction: 4th

”Perhaps Vitesse’s biggest asset, though, is their coach. Bosz has shown to be a very intelligent trainer and at times last season, results did not reflect the quality of his team’s performances.”

Player to watch: Kevin Diks

”The young right back burst onto the scene last season and displaced Chelsea loanee Wallace as first choice on that side. Bosz rates him very highly and with good reason.”

The full preview:

AZ: Lots of talent and he whose name can not be spelled
Prediction: 5th

”Crucially, there is still a core of talented players for their intelligent coach to work with and the club have been canny in the transfer market.”

Player to watch: Alireza Jahanbakhsh

”The 21-year-old winger showed to be a deadly talent in the Eredivisie in his first season wtih NEC, making it a bit of a miracle for them to hold onto him following their relegation. The Iran international was pivotal in NEC bouncing back up to the Eredivisie with 12 goals and 17 assists in 28 games.”

The full preview:

FC Groningen: The prize came at a price
Prediction: 6th

”Even though the spine of the team of the last two years has been dismantled within a summer, there is still plenty of backbone to rely on for a successful campaign.”

Player to watch: Simon Tibbling

”Such was the hype surrounding the round-faced youngster, who looks like the reward that cheers him up most after a game is an old fashioned bottle of cola and a bag of crisps.”

The full preview:

sc Heerenveen: Sixes and sevens, year in year out
Prediction: 7th

”In general, Heerenveen has been a hotbed of talent over the last few years and this season again, they are looking to excite.”

Player to watch: Jerry St. Juste

”Pundit of Fox Sports and former Danish international Kenneth Perez has been waxing lyrical about the youngster while his youth coaches have labelled him ‘the new Rijkaard’.”

The full preview:

FC Twente: No money, mo’ problems?
Prediction: 8th

”Schreuder’s squad has been downgraded significantly overall, but there remains a talented group of players at his disposal.”

Player to watch: Felipe Gutierrez

”Teaming up with Mokotjo and Ziyech, the Chile international will feel like a new signing heading into this campaign and will ensure they still have one of the league’s strongest midfields.”

The full preview:

Willem II: Streppel’s men are at it again
Prediction: 9th

”With Streppel at the helm of a promising squad, Willem II are looking to re-establish themselves as an Eredivisie regular, something the club from the sixth city of the country should be striving for.”

Player to Watch: Richairo Zivkovic

‘With Streppel’s reputation of reviving striker’s careers that have hit a bit of a snag (both Boymans and Armenteros flourished under his guidance) the former FC Groningen-striker could well again hit top gear.”

The full preview:

FC Utrecht: Pep’s disciple to preach attractive football
Prediction: 10th

”The recruitment of Pep Guardiola’s good friend and former Bayern Munich II coach Ten Hag seems to be a step towards a more attacking style, compared to the flat lifeless way they have been playing for the last two years.”

Player to watch: Yassin Ayoub.

”With a good engine and sound passing ability, he will be the heartbeat of this Utrecht team and it will give us a good indication of just how far he can go in the future.”

The full preview:

PEC Zwolle: Can Zwollywood produce yet another fairy tale?
Prediction: 11th

”Having been robbed of their two stars, coach Ron Jans’ squad is decidedly thin, though the intelligent manager will be confident of salvaging something this season.”

Player to watch: Ryan Thomas

”His talent is obvious, but he is perhaps still a bit too lightweight and this campaign will be a big one for him.”

The full preview:

ADO Den Haag: Added firepower to Fraser’s arsenal
Prediction: 12th

”For the 2015/16, a few first signs of what to come have been sighted. With the signing of Ruben Schaken (33) and Édouard Duplan (32) two experienced players have been signed to occupy the wings and provide the striker with service.”

Player to watch: Kenji Gorré

”The son of former Ajax, Feyenoord and FC Groningen midfielder Dean Gorré has been groomed in the famous Manchester United academy before making the switch to Swansea and will be eager to show his qualities in the country he left when he was just a five year old.”

The full preview:

Heracles Almelo: Looking for pretty Polman Stadion football
Prediction: 13th

”With the stadium expansion (from 8.500 to 10.000) raising the Polman Stadion’s capacity Heracles can reach five digits in terms of attendance for the first time since the promotion in 2005. Given the talent available, we can only imagine it’ll be a matter of games before that objective has been met.”

Player to watch: Brahim Darri

”His favourite food is pancakes and he once had two ‘woodwork assists’ in one game, earlier this year in March versus ADO Den Haag: The 20 year old winger Brahim Darri can best be described as frivolous.”

The full preview:

SC Cambuur Leeuwarden: A sharp up-turn needed
Prediction: 14th

”With local assist king Furdjel Narsingh and the club’s joint top goalscorer at Eredivisie level Bartholomew Ogbeche still at the club, a blend of the old and the new should be able to keep the Leeuwarders up for another season.”

Player to watch: Valmir Berisha

”If he can get his head straight and if he is nurtured properly, Berisha – who only turned 19 this summer – can explode onto the scene in Leeuwarden, as many Swedish strikers did before him.”

The full preview:

N.E.C.: Resurrected, lessons learned?
Prediction: 15th

”With the current squad, Faber should be able to meet the club’s demand to prevent relegation with Van Ingen hinting that it should even be possible to be a challenger for 10th place.”

Player to watch: Christian Santos

”While not blessed with a great technique and a bit sloppy sometimes, Santos has proven to be an excellent finisher and really strong in the air.”

The full preview:

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Roda JC Kerkrade: Limburg’s hope in dark footballing days
Prediction: 16th

”But in the decisive weeks, Roda JC managed to grind out the results needed. First, FC Emmen was dispatched with a win and a draw. Then NAC Breda was knocked out after extra time. Great news for Roda JC, but under new manager Darije Kalezic the challenge will be immense, especially as the club is still financially restrained.”

Player to watch: Mitchel Paulissen

”With two goals in the four promotion games, midfielder Paulissen showed himself to the bigger audience, prompting Feyenoord legend Willem van Hanegem into tipping him as a player for the top 5 in the Eredivisie.”

The full preview:

Excelsior: More of the same, please!
Prediction: 17th

”The team has its qualities and with the signing of former Roda JC and FC Dordrecht man Filip Kurto a new goalkeeper. Yet it needs to lose the comfortability that has been surrounding the team for months now.”

Player to watch: Brandley Kuwas

”The attacker can be a direct threat on goal for Excelsior but will also settle in well with Van Weert and provide the star striker with great service.”

The full preview:

De Graafschap: Hope without any expectations
Prediction: 18th

”If all goes well for De Graafschap, they might surprise a few people, but they will need to hit the ground running. A big task for Jan Vreman but the inexperienced manager will no doubt relish the challenge.”

Player to watch: Hidde Jurjus

”With a calm and composed temperament reminiscent of Jasper Cillessen at that age and reflexes to match, Jurjus might well turn out to be De Graafschap’s decisive man this season.”

The full preview:

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