Ajax fall seven points behind PSV as Eredivisie season heats up

Eredivisie

Boers break out atop Eredivisie

PSV Eindhoven have yet again come away with a victory from a hard-fought match in this season’s Eredivisie campaign. Opponents FC Twente were pattering Jeroen Zoet’s goalkeeper gloves all night, but the league leaders won 2-0 through an early Hirving Lozano header and late Santiago Arias strike. It was an extremely open match; both sides cut open each other’s defences on counter-attacks.

Twente committed many bodies forward, which left PSV with multiple 2v1 or 1v1 situations in the first and second halves. However, Lozano’s goal was simply down to a great cross by Steven Bergwijn during buildup play. Twente found many chances through longshots from Oussama Assaidi but Zoet was up to the task, saving 6 shots on the night.

This match provides two takeaways: for one, PSV are extremely vulnerable to low quality chances. The Eindhoven squad creates a solidified block when defending, but space is available to exploit between their defensive and midfield line. Secondly, PSV have the quality and determination to grind out results when failing to play well. We saw this last week against Heracles when Luuk de Jong scored an added time winner, and once again on Saturday by virtue of Zoet’s fantastic saves. It’ll take a lot to topple PSV from the top of the league, but there are opportunities to exploit.

Ajax drop points to rivals

PSV’s title rivals Ajax failed to win against heated rivals FC Utrecht on Sunday, condemning the Amsterdam side to a seven point deficit. The scoreless match in Utrecht saw both sides fail in their attempts to seriously break down each other’s defence, with Ajax controlling a majority of the action. Utrecht ‘keeper David Jensen kept the home side in the match with six saves, while Ajax defender Frenkie de Jong put in yet another man of the match performance from centre-back.

Feyenoord continue push

Earlier in the week, Utrecht drew with Feyenoord in a make-up match that was postponed due to snow. The Rotterdammers got off to a great start through Sam Larsson, but Gyrano Kerk’s equalizing goal and Utrecht’s constant pressure meant both sides ended with a point a piece. Utrecht will be satisfied with two draws against two great sides, while Feyenoord will take no solace being so far behind the league leaders.

The postponed match means Feyenoord played twice this week, with the second resulting in a 3-1 victory over ADO Den Haag. The result was rarely in question, with Steven Berghuis providing much of the firepower for Feyenoord. Also of note is the return of Robin van Persie, who made two substitute appearances against Utrecht and ADO this week.

Elsewhere in the Netherlands

A thrilling 6-goal encounter between FC Groningen and Heracles Almelo was finished with a rare cross-turned-goal by Heracles’ Robin Pröpper. Groningen’s young midfield has shown talent going forward, but there are still major questions of the side’s defensive stability.

PEC Zwolle’s phenomenal season has begun to unravel a bit, with the 1-2 loss to Vitesse being the latest failure to claim victory. Now in fifth, PEC conceded the winner to a fantastic Mason Mount free-kick, who’s been phenomenal during his loan stint from Chelsea.

AZ Alkmaar continue their campaign to retain a top-3 position with a 0-2 victory in Tilburg over Willem II. Alireza Jahanbakhsh proceeds to prove himself as one of the Eredivisie’s best players, scoring and assisting a goal each on Sunday.

Other Results

Heerenveen 2-1 Sparta Rotterdam

NAC Breda 0-1 VVV-Venlo

Roda JC 2-1 Excelsior Rotterdam