Another fascinating week in the Eredivise has helped educate us a little more on Dutch football and the teams that play in the Eredivise. So what have we learnt this week?
PSV give themselves daylight at the top
PSV Eindhoven defeated a poor Excelsior to give themselves daylight in the early signs of a title race. Ajax could only draw this weekend, but PSV were keen to steer clear of Ajax as they scored three goals and cruised past Excelsior in what can only be described as an exhibition match for the side from Eindhoven.
PSV were restless. Once they scored they were not content. They wanted to push on and prove a point. They broke down Excelsior and frequently got in behind Excelsior’s defence with their astonishing pace. Florian Jozefzoon, Jurgen Locadia and Luciano Narsingh were instrumental and created problems for the Excelsior defence all game.
Especially Locadia. After the abundance of criticism that has been sent his way so far this season, this weekend he really turned on the style. Scoring himself and unselfishly squaring it for Narsingh to tap in from two yards were his highlights, but he was excellent all game.
The only disappointment was the red card for Jeffrey Bruma. The defender made a needless challenge resulting in a red card. PSV were already 3-0 up the time and it dampened an otherwise perfect game.
The gulf in class between PSV’s squad and the other title contenders is substantial. PSV have the most eminent and powerful squad in the league, closely followed by Ajax and then Feyenoord, but their squad is the best in the league and it would not be too much of a surprise if they lift the Eredivise at the end of the season; for now though the title race is wide open.
Feyenoord thrash Groningen and finally starting to discover form
Feyenoord Rotterdam have endured a difficult start to the season and therefore remain in the bottom half of the table, but in recent games they look as though they are discovering some much needed form.
The victims this weekend FC Groningen. A 4-0 thrashing highlights Feyenoord’s recent rise. Three wins a row just before the international break was exactly what Feyenoord needed, especially after a testing, uncomfortable start to the season.
Feyenoord’s midfield is bossing and they have found themselves some fire power. Colin Kazim-Richards and Mitchell te Vrede have scored eleven goals between them, te Vrede with eight. However it’s only lately the goals are coming left, right and centre. In their last two Eredivise games they have scored eight goals. Both games ending 4-0. Positive signs for the Rotterdam based club and if they can keep this up they will soon climb back up the table.
The new look defence is looking more solid and the midfield is looking very healthy. Fred Rutten is spoilt for choice at the moment; as his midfield has really caught fire. Captain Jordie Clasie has been his usual self and with Karim El Ahmadi next to him Feyenoord are to be feared at the moment.
PEC Zwolle continue impressive, unexpected stint
PEC Zwolle have been a breath of fresh air so far this season and their desire and energy was rewarded with a point on Sunday as they kept Ajax at bay, the game ending 0-0 at the Amsterdam ArenA.
Zwolle’s superb start to the season sees them occupy third place currently and their hard work against Ajax proves that Zwolle can be a force to be feared this season.
Zwolle are far from a cemented Eredivise team and their highest ever finish in the Dutch top flight is 8th, however if they can continue to play with this tempo and energy they could achieve more this season. Their current record is sixteen points from eight games and they are only behind Ajax and PSV Eindhoven.
Ron Jans the Zwolle manager has firmly implemented this hard working mentality and it was particularly present in the game against Ajax as they spent most of the game on the back foot. Their players would drive forward on the counter or on the odd attack, but would make sure they kept a firm line to stop Ajax penetrating.
If Zwolle persevere with this work rate for the rest of the season they can achieve success and reach at least a Europa League play off spot.
Ajax may not be the force they were last season
PEC Zwolle deprived Ajax Amsterdam of three points this weekend and this was another anecdote proving Ajax aren’t quite the force they were last season. Obviously Ajax were dealt a severe blow when Siem De Jong was transferred to Newcastle United this summer, but they still have a great squad of players. However this squad are struggling to find top gear.
It’s not quite been the same in Amsterdam since De Jong left, but another player they are missing is Christian Eriksen, who departed Amsterdam the summer before. Although last season Ajax were still able to lift the Championship, they lacked creativity. The competition last season was less stiff and this year with the competition greater Ajax’s weaknesses are a little more evident.
Another problem in the Ajax team is their defence. The defence has been leaky this season and does not look as solid as it should be. The Champions have not been as commanding at the back this season, particularly down the left. Nicolai Boilesen has not been as defensively stable so far and has struggled at times. Boilesen though is not the only culprit. The entire defence has been leaky and should take some of the blame.
The Ajax fortification has been compromised far too frequently and is another section of Ajax’s team that has been hindered since the departure of a key figure. This time in Toby Alderweireld. Alderweireld has been missed, but Ajax need to move forward.
However it’s not all doom and gloom, in fact far from it. Ajax have still been precise and deadly at times. They are in second place and have played superb at times, but there are problems and if Ajax are to retain the title for a fifth consecutive season they will need to sharpen up in a few areas.
Heracles off the mark!
In a fine fashion it must be iterated, Heracles Almelo have their first points this year. In a 6-1 thriller Heracles picked up their first win and their first positive result this term thanks to an embarrassing NAC Breda.
Heracles were rock bottom with no points to their name before the fixture, they remain rock bottom, but they now have three points to their name and they will be hoping that this can construct some much needed form to get them out of the negative chambers where they are concealed in the Eredivise.
This result was exactly what the fans needed too. They may just have started to lose faith after seven games without any form of positive result, but the wait did produce a firecracker and to see their team score six goals would have brought bundles of joy to the Heracles faithful.
Heracles have had it tough. In their last five games they have faced high flying PEC Zwolle, FC Twente and Ajax, little expectation rested on these fixtures, so maybe now it’s time for them to kick on and get away from the dreaded bottom place.