Eredivisie matchday 2 preview: AZ looking to dismantle Ajax, PSV face NAC and Feyenoord take on Heerenveen
After an exciting start to the 2014-15 campaign, week two of the Eredivisie gets under way as Mark Lievisse Adriaanse, Peter McVitie and Michiel Jongsma look ahead of the upcoming round of games, in which Feyenoord host Heerenveen, Ajax take on AZ and PSV face NAC Breda.
Feyenoord – sc Heerenveen: The battle of the wounded beasts
With Feyenoord eager to sign Heerenveen star Hakim Ziyech after already bringing in their hot youngster Bilal Basacikoglu, this Feyenoord – SC Heerenveen match will be one with a bigger battle fought behind the curtains of the transfermarket.
On the field, Feyenoord have to impress their home supporters that it is ready to start the season and prepared for the tough game in Ukraine next Thursday. So far, Feyenoord has not impressed its supporters. Tomorrow, with 50.000 home fans behind them, the club can nevertheless continue its good start of the season with a second win.
SC Heerenveen will try hard to take revanche for its loss last week against newly promoted FC Dordrecht, but the team lacks experience and class to play an important role in the Eredivisie this year and will therefore fight a hard battle against Feyenoord tomorrow. The two teams are without their topscorers of last season, who then topped the goal charts so it will be curious to see who can step in and produce the goods.
PSV – NAC Breda: Walking with Memphis as Depay is the one to lead PSV’s title chase
In only his second game for NAC Breda Isak Ssewankambo is burdened with one of the toughest tasks in Eredivisie football: Containing Memphis Depay. With Henrico Drost and Kenny van der Weg the ones expected to provide cover from the centre the right back will have a hell of a time, with the emphasis on hell.
NAC were underwhelming to say the least in their opener against Excelsior as they were lucky to draw 1-1 against the new boys. PSV didn’t impress either, but Memphis Depay showed why Van Gaal loves him so much as he is set to be the standout player of the Eredivisie 2014/15 season. The 1-3 win at Willem II was heavily aided by the pacy winger scored two goals. With Luuk de Jong eager to impress the home crowd a heavy defeat of NAC is on the cards here, but Gudelj and his men will be looking to defy that expectation.
FC Twente – ADO Den Haag: Tadic and Promes absence
Suffering from the loss of Dusan Tadic and Quincy Promes, FC Twente are struggling with a lack of pace and creativity. In an attempt to compensate for the lack of presence behind the striker, Alfred Schreuder decided to move centre-forward Luc Castaignos back into the attacking midfield position to shadow Torgeir Borven. The tactical move didn’t work out in the first game against Cambuur as the Tukkers scraped a 1-1 draw, but the coach could give his experiment another go against an ADO Den Haag team which has gone through a lot of changes over the course of the summer.
Kamohelo Mokotjo is expected to start in the centre of midfield alongside Kyle Ebecilio to bolster the midfield and inject some intelligence to the team, a vital addition following the revelation that Felipe Gutierrez is out injured for at least six months.
ADO could count themselves unfortunate to lose to Feyenoord last week after they struck the bar twice before the Rotterdammers’ 90th minute winner.
With the exception of the suspended Mitchell Schet, Henk Fraser is expected to field the same team that hosted Feyenoord last week and he will feel optimistic and sure his team can trouble Schreuder’s side.
FC Dordrecht – PEC Zwolle: Newcomers looking to go two for two
Five years ago, if someone had told you FC Dordrecht – PEC Zwolle might be one of the most exciting games of an Eredivisie weekend, you would have had the right to send him to some good counseling. But there we are. After two surprising seasons, PEC is ready to once again shake all odds up, with attacking and attracting football.
On Saturday, Ron Jans’ team meet FC Dordrecht, who has made PEC Zwolle one of its examples of how to stay in the Eredivisie. Both play good, attacking football and both might be the surprises of the Eredivisie this year. The teams are not for turning, and for Dordrecht, taking advantage of their old but lovely little stadium, this will be one of the games the three points simply have to be secured.
Vitesse – SC Cambuur: Arnhem side must be clinical this time around
They might be 17th in the current Eredivisie league table, but Vitesse have shown the most enthralling bits of football in the Eredivisie so far this season. Bosz’ men will be looking to flush away a 4-1 defeat at Ajax and win over their supporters. Bertrand Traore looked promising against the current league champions and so did Zakaria Labyad, but in SC Cambuur the duo will face a sturdier and more closed defence than that of the Amsterdammers.
Cambuur were unlucky not to get three points out of their home game against FC Twente last Saturday and given their away form a three pointer against Vitesse doesn’t look that viable either. The travelling support of the Leeuwarden club haven’t seen a victory since their Jupiler League days (2012-13). Unless they have season tickets of course, as it was the home form that kept them up last term.
Albert Rusnak had a dream debut for Cambuur scoring a wonder free kick and the Manchester City loanee will be eager to prove himself against his Premier League colleagues at Vitesse.
AZ – Ajax: Hosts confident after bright opening day win
In their 3-0 win over Heracles in the opening weekend, AZ were strong, sharp and convincing. Ajax, on the other hand, despite their 4-1 victory over Vitesse, were not.
The Alkmaar side showed they have a balanced, dynamic and efficient squad overall, led by a quick and front three of Steven Berghuis, Guus Hupperts and, in the absence of the injured Aron Johannsson, Muamer Tankovic.
Ajax, though, were sloppy defensively, wasteful up front and generally lucky against the Arnhem club, saved by the excellent performance of goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer.
Ajax remain unsettled up front while AZ have hit the ground running this season. The reigning champions are without right-back Ricardo van Rhijn for the trip to Alkmaar, with the 23-year-old suffering with a hamstring injury. World Cup bronze medallists Jasper Cillessen, Joel Veltman and Daley Blind are all expected to return to the starting XI.
Johannsson is still injured and so Marco van Basten is expected to field the same team which played last week.
After their sizeable wins last week, both teams will be confident heading into the game, but it is AZ who should feel they can get the better of their opponents after their display. They won’t give away as much defensively as Vitesse did and will certainly be more clinical up front.
FC Utrecht – Willem II: Going back with Kali as Anouar returns to Galgenwaard
Both Utrecht and Willem II kicked off the season with a loss and the two teams will be eager to set the record straight. FC Utrecht will be looking to recover from a 2-0 loss at Zwolle and have brought in a lot of signings but won’t be able to field striker Ruud Boymans as he out due to injury. Boymans was integral in Willem II’s promotion surge last season and the Tricolores will be happy that they won’t face their 2013-14 27 goal hero. Boymans is not the only player missing, as manager Robbie Alflen has to go and look for his first victory as a manager without at least four other attackers. A relief for Willem II.
This tie sees Anouar Kali make his first appearance at home since his return to Utrecht this summer. The midfielder left after a bright season at Utrecht, only to join Roda JC. As the Kerkrade club were relegated last term, he opted to return to the Galgenward this year.
The Tilburg club put in a dapper but daft performance against PSV, fittingly described by Nikos Overheul as ‘an experiment to see if keeping 8 men in front of the ball leaves you vulnerable to counters’ and will need to improve in order to have a chance. One bright spot for Willem II is their wingers, Bruno Andrade and Terrell Ondaan can give any full back in the Eredivisie a hard time.
Excelsior – Go Ahead Eagles: New boys looking to improve on good start
‘Excelsior!’ Marinus Dijkhuizen is the Al Gore of the Rotterdam club as they try to fend off the manbearpig of relegation. Last week Excelsior impressed away at NAC and could’ve gotten more than the point they eventually earned.
Go Ahead Eagles crashed to defeat after going up 2-0 and for both a win would be very welcome as the two teams are set for a relegation scrap this season. Daryl van Mieseghem impressed for Excelsior last week and at BeNeFoot we’re eager to see if striker Tom van Weert can find his FC Den Bosch form.
Go Ahead Eagles will rely on their wings (puns galore) as both Alex Schalk and Lesley de Sa made an impact last week with a goal. The defensive line does need a lot of work and Foeke Booy will hope that the Eagles won’t make the same mistakes they made last time out.
FC Groningen – Heracles Almelo: New wingers, old wingers
Whereas last time out, Jarchinio Artonia made his debut for FC Groningen against his old club Go Ahead Eagles, this week’s game between might see another winger playing his last game against his new employees.
Groningen have approached Heracles over Brian Linssen, the one creative spark that lit up the Polman Stadion last season. The 23-year-old won’t be convinced to stay by last week’s performance, as the Almelo side lost 0-3 against AZ.
Groningen got the three points on the board beating Go Ahead Eagles 2-3, overcoming a 2-0 deficit, but it wasn’t all smiles for the Pride of the North. While Antonia impressed, Groningen had to concede Filip Kostic to VfB Stuttgart, earning €6 million + add-ons over the deal.
Bryan Linssen will look to improve the fortunes of his current club while in the process impressing his potential new one, while Groningen wants to improve the fans with a first home win of the season.