Eredivisie week 2: Five things we haven’t learned this week
Seriously, how are Cambuur going to score this season?
A failed cross heading for goal in the 68th minute versus Roda JC by PSV loanee Marcel Ritzmaier was as close as Cambuur got to a shot on goal until now. Another dismal performance from the attacking perspective saw Roda record a 2-0 win through goals by Nemeth and Donald. Considering that they played against two of the teams that we had down as relegation strugglers, it is anything but encouraging for the club from the capital of Friesland. How astonishingly inspirational names as Oebele Schokker and Oliver Feldballe might sound, they haven’t been producing the goods and given that the entire Cambuur squad only have two Eredivisie goals between them, it’s hard not to see them struggle this season.
How good is this PSV?
Four official games played, 4 wins. And only conceded in one of them. Zulte-Waregem was beaten quite comprehensively (5-0 on aggregate), ADO Den Haag did almost complete a comeback, but were beaten 2-3 in the end and the masterclass world class talent Bakkali put up against N.E.C. resulted in a 5-0 victory. Impressive numbers, impressive play. But Zulte hardly looked like a side that would compete in the top of the Eredivisie while ADO Den Haag and N.E.C. can brace themselves for a relegation scrap from the looks of it. Is it the quality of PSV that makes them look so poor or have PSV been lucky with their fixture list? Go Ahead Eagles isn’t the type of opposition that should test them properly either this weekend, but AC Milan will on the following Tuesday. Until now, it’s a joy to watch the PSV team and the fact that there were 100,000 (!) people interested in buying tickets for their encounter with AC Milan shows the trust the supporters have in their current squad. But until they play a ‘proper team’, a little reservation looks justified. One thing we did learn: Zakkaria Bakkali is an amazing talent.
What is the current strength of the Eredivisie?
FC Utrecht (Differdange) and Vitesse (Petrolul Poiesti) were knocked out of the Europa League qualifiers by pretty obscure teams. And the old age adage of the Eredivisie being a ‘Mickey Mouse League’ was rolled out once again. But Vitesse had, despite winning 3-1, a tough time against Heracles Almelo and lost 4-2 against minnows RKC Waalwijk. Furthermore, FC Utrecht were lucky to draw against newly promoted Go Ahead Eagles (1-1) and lost away at FC Groningen (2-0). Not a surprise, considering the players they have lost over the summer. Are the teams that suffered in the Europa League just weaker in general and does their Europa League performance give a skewed image of reality? Are they just not that good anymore and is the league still quite OK? With Feyenoord on the slide, it’s hard to say their performance against Kuban Krasnodar will paint a more accurate picture. But AZ and PSV started the league well-ish and in terrific form. The games of the latter two should tell us more about where the Eredivisie is standing on European stage at the moment.
What does Alex Pastoor have to do to get fired?
Alex Pastoor. One of the many coaches formerly known as ‘the next prince under the new generation of Dutch managers’. A bit of a smart mouth. Quite succesful with Excelsior. But his reign at N.E.C. has been a disappointment. After a terrible run at the end of last season (no win in 10), throwing away an all but certain place in the Europa League play-offs, the misery continued this season with two big defeats against FC Groningen (1-4) and PSV (5-0). The team looks bereft of confidence, quality and lacks any ideas. Pastoor has been quite indifferent, with a slight arrogant vibe draped on top of it. Rumour has it his days in Nijmegen are numbered. However, we’re approaching the weekend (kind of) and he’s still in the job. Will the manager of NEC get the sack after a beating by PEC? Who knows, we’re very surprised that it’s even still a possibility.
Should all team just hire new managers?
Apart from SC Heerenveen, the teams at the top all have a new manager. Philip Cocu (PSV), Erwin van de Looi (FC Groningen) and Ron Jans (PEC Zwolle) have really enjoyed their starts racking up two consecutive wins. At the other end, all but Heracles have the same manager as last season and have lost their first four games in Maurice Steijn (ADO), Ronald Koeman (Feyenoord) and Alex Pastoor (N.E.C.). ‘ The evidence is compelling ‘. Nonsense of course, but it is remarkable to see how the first three managers mentioned actually turned around the whole atmosphere at their respective clubs while the latter three sighing under enormous pressure after finishing last season in relative unfortunate circumstances. Studies in earlier seasons have showed that changing managers is hardly commendable, but with PSV, PEC and FC Groningen facing a rather easy run-in and ADO, Feyenoord and N.E.C. in shambles with a few more difficult games coming up, the evidence is stacking up against the theory.