Eredivisie Round 32 Preview: Ajax look to settle the title once and for all
Compared to last weekend’s cracker between Feyenoord and Vitesse and the compelling Ajax v Heerenveen tie, this week’s fixtures look a bit underwhelming perhaps. But a closer look shows that in all matches, there is still something to play for. So brace yourselves, this Eredivisie week 32 preview has some fireworks in it as well!
We start of with NAC Breda – Ajax. The Amsterdam-based club looked like dead-on champions, but the slip up against SC Heerenveen has made the competition aware that the league is not over yet. With a four points margin over PSV and Feyenoord and a potentially tough away trip to FC Groningen lying ahead, this is a must-win game for Frank de Boer’s side. NAC Breda have been ravaged by injuries and looked terrible against FC Utrecht last week, but the ‘Avondje NAC ‘ (NAC evening) is a well-known pandemonium in the Netherlands and since the game is played on such an evening, Ajax better be careful.
Feyenoord meanwhile will be visited by Heracles Almelo. After last week’s 2-0 victory over Vitesse, the Rotterdammers are on course to secure second place. Pelle continued his great form by scoring his 24th goal of the season and, even though it was a penalty, the Italian looked good against the Arnhemmers. Heracles desperately need a win to get close to the Europa League play-off spots, but with Feyenoord surging for that title, the Rotterdam-club will be looking to decide this game quickly.
PSV will face high-flying FC Groningen, who are currently on a four game winning streak. They will miss Rasmus Lindgren, which is a big blow. The Swedish midfielder has been instrumental in the resurrection of Robert Maaskant’s side, which turned their recent form into a run for the Europa League play-off spots. PSV will be looking to overturn Groningen’s form. The Eindhoven club still have a small chance of finishing top and whatever happens, the fight for second is still very much on.
Vitesse surrendered their title chances last week by losing to Feyenoord, but will be looking to bounce back against Willem II. The bottom club have found new hope in their recent win against Roda JC and are in desperate need of a win against the Arnhem side. However, Vitesse still have silent hopes for that Champions League-preliminary spot, so this one could well be a tough match for the Tricolores.
FC Twente will face NEC and both are in bad form. Twente had a hard time pulling back against VVV-Venlo and NEC got quite a beating from PEC Zwolle, losing 1-3. It’s a last chance for NEC to make a statement for a Europa League play-off place. Twente have to fend off FC Utrecht for the 5th place. NEC will be hoping on Groningen to lose as well as Heerenveen.
Talking of Zwolle, they will face Twente’s 5th spot rivals Utrecht. The latter bounced back from a horrendous 6-0 defeat winning 3-0 against NAC Breda and they can welcome Wuytens and Kali back to the team. Zwolle have been in good form recently, impressing in recent games and playing themselves save against NEC last week. Art Langeler’s charges have nothing to play for, but in front of their own fans, they’ll put up a good fight against Utrecht.
The aforementioned Heerenveen will host AZ tonight and this could be a thrilling encounter. AZ have several quality players and they looked to gain form with their 6-0 mauling of Utrecht a fortnight ago, but were put back in place by PSV last week, losing 1-3. Marco van Basten’s side, however, have been in good form recently, only losing one of their last eight matches and winning six, but their credentials for seventh place have been called into question by Groningen, as the two Northern rivals are level on points and only separated by goal difference. But in the end, neither side has much to gain and even less to lose.ADO Den Haag will be looking to put VVV-Venlo to the sword. The Venlonaren impressed against Twente last Sunday, but only got a point in return and are doomed to play relegation play-offs. ADO have their playmaker, captain and main goal scorer back in Danny Holla and are hoping one of the Northern clubs will slip up to give them a chance of getting into the European spots, but they will need to take care of their own business too.
Roda JC – RKC Waalwijk is probably the last chance for the Limburg based club to save themselves of the relegation play-offs. RKC need to slip up again to give Roda a chance, but with both clubs on a terrible run, it’s always a possibility.
All games carry important issues, and a thrilling set of games is coming up once again. This competition is far from over.