Eredivisie preview week 5: We don’t know who’s playing where anymore
‘Oh no! The line-ups are in and some players are missing! Where is Christian Eriksen? Where is Alfred Finnbogason? Where is Bruno Martins Indi? Where is Leon de Kogel!’ In all fairness, it’s not likely a commentator will be thinking that this weekend, but two of those players are gone at the time of writing, with Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) and Leon de Kogel (on loan at VVV-Venlo) looking to improve their fortunes at other grounds in very different ways. The interest in Finnbogason and Martins Indi is there, but they could well stay at their respective clubs in SC Heerenveen and Feyenoord. But will Alderweireld be there? The Belgian has attracted interest from Atletico Madrid and Liverpool and it has been reported that he has instructed his agent to accept any decent offer as he’s looking for a way out (still in the process of writing it seems he will sign for Atletico Madrid, the transfer window eh!) .
The two teams to open the weekend are NAC and N.E.C. and they don’t look the same either as they did last week. N.E.C. have replaced their manager Alex Pastoor (which prompted Peter McVitie to write an article about who is now the coolest manager in the league) and the new man in town is Anton Janssen, a club legend brought in from FC Oss. One who could be there too is Marnick Vermijl. The Belgian Manchester United player is being loaned to N.E.C.. On loans, NAC have got clearance to play Chelsea loanee Stipe Perica, a promising attacker and given the lack of goals in the Breda side he could well become a welcome acquisition. Both teams can be expected in a ‘relegation scrap’ by the end of March, a win against a direct rival would be handy to say the least.
The top half of the table kicks off the next day with FC Twente (Is Tadic still there?) and SC Heerenveen (with or without Finnbogason) kicking off at 1845 CET in order to put pressure on league leaders PEC Zwolle and especially second placed PSV. The aforementioned Tadic and Finnbogason have been spectacular so far, but with as Promes and Eghan are showing early promise at FC Twente and with Slagveer and Ziyech providing the goods at Heerenveen, there is enough to look forward to regardless of what happens transfer wise.
Heracles Almelo and ADO Den Haag will be without any unusual suspects which makes them rather predictable compared to the other teams. Both are still searching for form, but where Heracles impressed in drawing against PSV last week (1-1), ADO were punished by Roda JC (0-4). Two other teams who won’t be spectacularly different than they were last week are RKC (who drew 2-2 against N.E.C. last week) and Go Ahead Eagles (3-3 against FC Groningen). The biggest question hovering over the game is: Is former Championship Manager legend Marnix Kolder (32) off the leash now? Three goals in four matches, the former Veendam striker is on fire! The Saturday is brought to a close by PSV, who celebrate their 100th birthday (congratulations!) against Cambuur. PSV requested a weak opponent for this day. Cambuur will be anxious to spoil the party, but given PSV’s loss in the Champions League qualifiers against AC Milan they’ll be sure not to slip up here.
On Sunday, FC Groningen will kick off against Ajax and where the former are expected to get through the last week of the transfer window quite unaffected (apart from interest in young prodigy Zivkovic by Liverpool), Ajax can shape up a whole lot differently than what they’re used to. Captain Siem de Jong is out with a collapsed lung and has already missed two games, Christian Eriksen is off to Spurs, Alderweireld looks set for Atletico Madrid, Daley Blind is not fit to start it seems, four regular starters from last season are missing and all are internationals. Can the coolest coach from the Eredivisie cope? He’ll have to, because league leaders PEC Zwolle will play FC Utrecht and with the Blauwvingers trying to extend their perfect record, a gap could open up if Ajax drop points and PEC beat FC Utrecht. The latter recovered from a very bad start to the season with a 2-0 win over AZ, but PEC has been impressive so far and FC Utrecht would be quite a scalp to add to their collection.
Two games at 1630 this Sunday, due to a fire in the AZ stadium this Thursday AZ will kick off two hours later than expected against Vitesse/ Chelsea. AZ have been decent/bad/good/decent/bad this season, so nobody knows what will happen. Vitesse meanwhile have a new face in their squad in Christian Cuevas (loaned from Chelsea) and are still looking to add new players, with Christian Atsu (again, loaned from Chelsea) reportedly their newest addition. With Patrick van Aanholt, Lucas Piazon and Gael Kakuta at the club, that brings the total of Chelsea loanees up til five. The reason? Read it here, Pete Sharland told us earlier.
The other kick off is Feyenoord against Roda JC, with the Pelle-reliant Feyenoord team looking to bounce back from their Europa League defeat against Kuban and Roda JC trying to maintain a run of results that is hardly maintainable according to our own Nikos Overheul.
Thrilling times, Eredivisie, doesn’t matter which players are in there, yeah!