• Friday, 16 January 2009

    Eredivisie resumes

    Heerenveen v Feyenoord

    De Graafschap v Willem II
    Den Haag v Heracles
    Twente v Vitesse
    NAC v Utrecht

    Roda v PSV
    Volendam v AZ
    Sparta v Groningen
    NEC v Ajax

    Coming back after the winter break, we're back underway in Holland this week. At time of writing, the first game is underway with the visitors a goal to the good. This is something of a shock. Feyenoord's pricey team have grossly underperformed. The likes of Gio van Bronkhorst and Roy Makaay cost a pretty penny and simply haven't fired, leaving the club down in the bottom half. Heerenveen play some nice football, but they're weak in the middle and the Rotterdam giants would have fancied their chances there before kick-off.
    In an odd looking week, game of the week is at the Goffertstadion in Nijmegen where Ajax are the visitors. NEC aren't possessed of (m)any stars. Indeed, the closest they get is the fact that Lorenzo Davids is Edgar's cousin. But under Mario Been, they've become more than the sum of their parts to lie in eighth at the turn. Ajax lost Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in the transfer window, but gained Rob Wielaert. Huntelaar's goals will be hard to replace - the job falls to Dario Cvitanich - but the €20m will help pay off those pesky debts. AZ should see off struggling Volendam to maintain their lead. 12 clean sheets in 17 games - just 11 goals conceded so far this season - is testimony to their defence while Mounir El Hamdaoui sits on 15 goals so far. Volendam only 19 between the lot of them. Moussa Dembélé ain't bad either.
    Twente should be too good for Vitesse despite Wielaert's departure. Steve McClaren's young side play a nice passing game and the wide men - Eljero Elia and Marko Arnautovic - are a real threat. De Graafschap continue their slump and though Willem II aren't so hot themselves, they should return to Tilburg with the points. NAC sit top of a middle section of the table that their opponents this week, Utrecht, are also a part of. Neither are in great form and the draw looks the pick of the results. Groningen started well, but have fallen away while Sparta never really got going in the first place. Sparta look competitive for the first hour of most of their games and it's that ability to see out the full 90 is the main issue Foeke Booy has to address. Finally, PSV travel to Kerkrade for the game against Roda. PSV rather rely on the mercurial Ibrahim Afellay, but he has the skills to back it up. He could use some support from the likes of Nordin Amrabat, who still looks very raw, but they should be way too good here, especially as Eric Addo - on loan to Roda from PSV - won't play.

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