Eredivisie preview: Relegation battlers
A lot of new faces have arrived at the Breda club, but three key players have departed. Things aren’t looking smooth and silky for manager Nebojsa Gudelj. Last season they were merely being kept up by an inspirational Anthony Lurling, who turned a 1-3 trail into a 5-3 victory with two goals and two assists, but Lurling is 36 now and you can’t expect him to show the same kind of magic on a regular basis. With Rydell Poepon in from ADO Den Haag, a bit of the scoring burden should be shared, but NAC are looking at a long and possibly disappointing season.
BeNeFoot prediction: 15th
Alex Pastoor must have been very frustrated last season, waking up in the middle of the night, bathing in sweat screaming: ‘ GIVE ME SOME GOALS!’. The lack of potency at NEC cost them dearly in the second half of the season, in which they dropped from a comfortable seventh place to a miserable 15th. With the signing of English striker and last seasons SPL topscorer Michael Higdon, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Along with Higdon, a lot is expected from Iranian ‘copy-paste’ winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh. The man with a name too hard to write down and remember has been built up as a remarkable talent and should add to the versatility of the NEC attack. With a lot of first team players leaving, it will be down them to keep NEC comfortably safe this season, a task in which they should succeed.
BeNeFoot prediction: 14th
Ruud Brood left RKC for Roda JC in 2012 in the assumption he could make a side challenging for Europe out of the Limburgers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Finishing the season in 16th place thus having to battle their way to the promotion/relegation play-offs, they merely saved their skin and remained in the Eredivisie. But with some good signings, mostly free transfers, things are looking a bit sunnier for Roda now. Anouar Kali of FC Utrecht came to play in central midfield and he can be seen as an absolute steal. Kali was in the interest of a lot of clubs and he’ll add immensely to Roda’s quality. Signing Kees Luijckx from NAC Breda plus Guy Ramos and Ard van Peppen of RKC has also been a good sign of intent and with Frank Demouge permanently at the club after an impressive six month loan spell, Roda should be quite a bit more relaxed about staying in the Eredivisie come May 2014 than they were a year earlier.
BeNeFoot prediction: 13th
Poor RKC. Everytime the club impresses, they get picked to the bare bones. A few years ago with Martin Jol at the helm, RKC had a squad that went on to produce internationals in Khalid Boulahrouz (Netherlands) and Maarten Martens (Belgium). After he left, Erwin Koeman did well with a squad bereft of the extra quality it had before. This time around, a similar story has happened. Two years ago, RKC were a surprise package under Ruud Brood, but two years on, RKC have lost so many of their good players that Erwin Koeman has to make do with mediocre material. With the loss of right winger Florian Jozefzoon and top goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet – who both went to PSV – this squad looks far from Eredivisie worthy. Staying up would be major accomplishment.
BeNeFoot prediction: 16th
Go Ahead Eagles
Go Ahead were a surprise promotion, knocking out VVV-Venlo very deservedly. The problem with surprise promotion is; how often is your squad up to standard for another level? With promising manager Erik ten Hag leaving for the second team of Bayern Munich, Go Ahead paid their toll for the success. However, getting Foeke Booy in as manager is a smart assignment. Booy is a manager with Eredivisie experience, something most of the squad lack. With Eloy Room of Vitesse, a decent goalkeeper has been brought in and that could be what saves Go Ahead from direct relegation. The squad is one pack full of surprises, but it’s hard to tell yet whether they’ll be good or bad ‘ uns.
BeNeFoot prediction: 17th
If one club has been craving for promotion recently, it’s Cambuur. The Frisian club once was the sole pride of Friesland, but in the last 30 years, they have been surpassed by far by Heerenveen. In order to at least compete with their regional rivals, promotion was needed and with MVV Maastricht imploding last season, Cambuur succeeded and went up as champions. Their manager isn’t qualified to be head coach yet so Dwight Lodeweges has been brought in to lead Cambuur into their fifth Eredivisie season ever. Hardly a successful manager, Cambuur are taking quite a risk in our humble opinion. Main talking point in the squad is Oebele Schokker, cult hero before even making his debut in the Eredivisie, due to his name and his late debut in professional football. Last season was Oebele’s first as he played his first professional match aged 27. Cambuur have hardly strengthened their squad and are lacking creativity. They look as the direct relegation candidate for Benefoot.
BeNeFoot prediction: 18th