Eredivisie Week 12 Preview: Five things that we expect/hope to see

Vitesse to make it three in a row against Ajax – Peter McVitie

Last season, Vitesse recorded two thoroughly impressive league victories over Ajax as they forced their way into the league’s top group. Inspired by Wilfried Bony, they dismantled the Eredivisie champions very easily with two goals from the Ivorian frontman to win the game 2-0 for Fred Rutten’s men.

Then, in January, they looked doomed to defeat in the Gelredome as Ajax took a two goal lead through a Guram Kashia own goal in the first-half and Christin Eriksen’s strike in the 64th minute. However, Bony-less Vitesse showed they weren’t a one-man team as their captain and former Ajax player Theo Janssen steered them back into the game and they fought back to win it 3-2. It was an incredible win for the Arnhem club as they showed they were definitely one of the title contenders last year.

This season, Vitesse look just as sharp, with Lucas Piazon, Davy Propper, Kelvin Leerdam and Mike Havenaar turning them into a very formidable team. Ajax, however, are struggling immensely. They were frighteningly impotent against bottom side RKC in the Amsterdam Arena last season. Bereft of any sort of creativity or attacking threat, this post-Eriksen era is particularly worrying for Frank de Boer’s team.

Vitesse sit just one point behind Ajax and are in fine form. They were unlucky to draw 2-2 with Groningen last weekend after going 2-0, but they’ll fancy themselves to make it three straight league wins over the Amsterdam giants.

Zivkovic to shine on his full debut for FC Groningen – Michiel Jongsma

He will start, he will start! The moment is finally here! He will start. Ok, maybe it’s the FC Groningen fan boy here speaking, but at BeNeFoot in general we are very thrilled about the youngster finally handed his first starting place. While he is only 17 years and 2 months old, he does look like a guy capable of being a regular for an Eredivisie side. His movement, pace, awareness, technique and even the composure are that of a full-grown striker, the latter illustrated by the fact that he only needed a mere 200 minutes so far to score four goals.

So far, Erwin van de Looi has tried to calm down the hype surrounding the most exciting youngster in the green and white since Arjen Robben, but it seems even the cool and composed coach of FC Groningen is now finally won over. Against Roda, a side that doesn’t exactly spell ‘pace’ at the back but the team from Kerkrade are confident after back to back wins against title favourites PSV, beating them at home in the Eredivisie 2-1 and cooly finishing them off in the Dutch Cup in Eindhoven 1-3.

But with FC Groningen in form and unbeaten at home this season, plus with the returning ‘Beckham of  the Euroborg’ (Nick van der Velden), we expect a home win and a confirmation by Zivkovic that he is indeed the real deal.

An impotent Feyenoord – Peter McVitie

Madness. Utter madness. The pressure is getting to Graziano Pelle, it seems. He’s his side’s only hope! They can’t win unless he scores or gets an assist. If that isn’t putting enough pressure on his shoulders, he has recently been made team captain by coach Ronald Koeman.

It’s all too much for him, though. Last week in training he went mental and nearly started a fight and there were reports that he threw a bottle at his coach when he stormed off the training pitch (he’s lucky, though, that he missed and Koeman didn’t know – he said he’d have thrown it back and we at BeNeFoot reckon Koeman would come out on top in any altercation between the two). Then, on Sunday, with his team 2-1 down to Heracles, he walked over to Mike te Wierik and headbutted him. Referee Kevin Blom had no option but to send him off and the Italian striker is now banned for three games (plus one conditional).

It’s time for Ronald to show us his Plan B! But we still reckon he doesn’t have one. Samuel Armenteros is a good striker, for sure, but this team is built around the ultra-handsome number nine and are used to playing to their one-dimensional strategy: ball + Graziano = goal.

So sticking Armenteros in there could be problematic as he isn’t built the same way as Pelle and is not a targetman, he is much more mobile and requires the ball played to his feet or behind defenders for him to run onto. Used to serving Pelle, the team might have forgotten how to play! So expect a less potent Feyenoord in Leeuwarden….

RKC Waalwijk to finally pick up a win – Michiel Jongsma

With N.E.C. registering their first win in 20 games last week against SC Heerenveen, RKC are now the holders of the longest current streak without a win. Nine games. Nine games without a win, that is despairing. But the Waalwijk minnows can take heart from their performance in Amsterdam against Ajax last week. The 0-0 draw must have given RKC a boost and what better time to seize on that confidence than against at home against one of your local rivals? NAC Breda have been excellent over the course of the last couple of months, but it’s hard to see them sustaining that form for a longer period. The team simply lacks quality for that. This was illustrated last Tuesday, when they were knocked out of the cup by Cambuur Leeuwarden on penalties.

With Sander Duits back from suspension and the experienced Romeo Castelen in attack RKC could well be up for it and if goalkeeper Jan Seda can reproduce his performance of last weekend, NAC Breda will find it difficult to resist the yellow and blues.

One of the big teams to routinely win a game
– Michiel Jongsma

While the league is more spectacular than ever, we would like to see some consistency instead of this complete chaos. The gap between 1st (FC Twente) and 18th (RKC Waalwijk) is 13 points after 11 matches and the gap with number 9 Roda JC is only three. Since the transfer period is closed, NAC Breda have picked up more points than any other team, while joint fourth PEC Zwolle has the worst form in the league bar RKC Waalwijk. This weekend, Ajax – Vitesse is one hell of a cracker and without Pelle, you can’t expect Feyenoord to have an easy afternoon in Leeuwarden, but surely FC Twente should be able to beat N.E.C. at home? And PSV should outclass PEC Zwolle when in their own Philips Stadion? And surely ADO Den Haag can’t spring a surprise in Alkmaar against AZ?

At this point, we’re still not sure if we expect to be proven wrong or not. But it’s astonishing that you can’t even predict a safe home win for Ajax, Feyenoord or PSV anymore, even against ‘minor’, with all respect, opposition. And while it does make every game exciting, it is reassuring from time to time to just know what happens and feel safe doing something else without the feeling you’re about to miss out on something special again. Madness, that Eredivisie eh.

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