Eredivisie Week 13 Preview: Five things to look out for
Ajax to register an away win – Peter McVitie
Although they remain only three points behind the league leaders and are still in with a chance of getting the runner-up spot in their Champions League group, Ajax have been very poor so far this season. So bad, in fact, that they are winless in their last three league games and are yet to even pick up a victory away from home in the Eredivisie.
This week, though, buoyed by their midweek European victory over Celtic, we expect Ajax to get back to winning ways and pick up their first win on the road in the league as they travel to Nijmegen to meet NEC.
It won’t be easy for Frank de Boer’s team, though. NEC have finally found out what it’s like to win and have put up good fights against some big teams in the league. Having drawn with Feyenoord and Twente and beaten Heerenveen, the team at the bottom of the table are surprisingly capable of causing upsets and capitalising on the inconsistencies of the bigger teams.
However, De Boer is hopeful that the return of the “winning spirit” which his players showed in the Amsterdam ArenA on Wednesday will remain with the players from now on and kick-start a good run for the team. Starting with NEC.
Bojan and Duarte are the only unavailable players for this game and De Boer may opt to put Siem de Jong up front again as he did against Celtic.
We thoroughly expect Ajax to assert their dominance and, for once, actually take their chances against NEC. Defeat would be disastrous for the reigning champions, and De Boer will make sure his players know it.
Finnbogason to end his goalless streak – Peter McVitie
Three games! Can you believe it? Alfred Finnbogason hasn’t scored for three consecutive games! Just what is going on here?
The Icelandic striker had scored in each of his first nine games for the Frisian side this season, but his great goalscoring run came to an end against NEC in late-October as his side lost 2-1 to the Nijmegen club. Finnbogason has since played two more games and has failed to score, coming under some criticism from his coach, Marco van Basten.
This evening, however, Heerenveen face RKC Waalwijk in the Abe Lenstra Stadion and Finnbogason will be desperate to get back to goalscoring ways and ensure he stays ahead of Feyenoord’s Graziano Pelle in the highest scorer charts.
RKC have the fifth worst defensive record in the league and are without defender Kenny van Hoevelen, who is suspended for this match.
Now is the time for Finnbogason to start firing the goals in once again as his team struggle immensely when he isn’t on form. They have won only two of the 14 games in which he has failed to hit the net, losing 11 and drawing one (via Opta).
Vitesse to go top – Peter McVitie
Depending on how other results go in this freakishly tight and unpredictable league, any of the top eight teams could find themselves top of the table by the end of the weekend. However, they all have some very difficult and rather enticing games in week 13.
Feyenoord host current leaders AZ, Ajax are looking to win their first away game, Zwolle host Twente in what should be a very tight and interesting affair, while PSV and Groningen face tough away matches.
Thus, we believe, that it is Vitesse who will sit in pole-position come the end of this weekend’s round of fixtures. The Arnhem side defeated Ajax last weekend to take over the top spot for just a few hours before they were displaced by AZ. However, as they face an Utrecht side which is yet to win on the road and are in such fine form, they are in a much better position to leapfrog AZ, who could struggle in Rotterdam, into the number one spot and remain there for at least a week.
Roda to stretch their unbeaten run – Peter McVitie
Roda JC are currently on a mighty fine hot-streak. Ruud Brood’s team haven’t lost in any of their last seven matches (cup and league). Try as they might, teams just haven’t been able to get the better of the Kerkrade club in recent weeks, with PSV twice succumbing to them and the likes of Heerenveen (3-3), Groningen (another 3-3), Utrecht (yet another 3-3) and Zwolle drawing with them.
On Saturday, Roda host Go Ahead Eagles, who have won just two of their last eight games and have been painfully inconsistent so far this season.
With Kirsztian Nemeth, Guus Hupperts, Mitchell Donald and Mark-Jan Fledderus all in such fine form, it’s a bit of a tall order to expect GAE to bring an end to this fantastic unbeaten run of Roda.
The weekend to reach a climax with Feyenoord v AZ – Peter McVitie
While week 13 brings Eredivisie fans some very interesting and enticing games, there are none as exciting and mouth-watering as that which takes place in De Kuip on Sunday.
Feyenoord v AZ is the final game of the weekend and it pits two very interesting sides against each other.
AZ are currently in a hotstreak of four consecutive wins and cleansheets and have lost only one of their last ten in all competitions. The current league leaders are playing very well under new coach Dick Advocaat and they approach this game after beating Shakhter Karagandy in the Europa League.
Feyenoord, on the other hand, showed last week that they can live without star striker Graziano Pelle, who is suspended for this game. The Rotterdammers have lost only one league game since mid-August and are desperate to try and stay above the likes of Ajax and PSV. Importantly, too, they have no European football this season so their players will be well rested ahead of this game.
Both teams are in great form and playing some nice football at the moment, which sets us up for a fantastic ending to the weekend as they come head to head in De Kuip on Sunday.