• Friday, 10 April 2009

    Eredivisie week 30

    NAC v AZ
    De Graafschap v NEC
    Den Haag v Sparta
    PSV v Utrecht
    Twente v Roda
    Heerenveen v Volendam
    Ajax v Willem II
    Feyenoord v Heracles
    Groningen v Vitesse

    Eleven points clear and in need of just two wins - maximum - to seal the title, AZ go to Breda to take on NAC in the Friday game. Indeed, it could be done and dusted this week should Twente and Ajax both fail to win. Last season, AZ were in a position of strength before blowing it completely in the closing stages. They don't look like doing that this term, even though NAC are one of only two sides to beat the Alkmaarders this season - twice in fact, once each in league and in cup. Van Gaal's men are a different prospect and learned from their disappointment last year to become a far more steely side, difficult to break down and more professional. AZ should win this one, then it's a case of gluing themselves to a TV for the remainder of the weekend.

    On Saturday, Twente host troubled Roda at the Arke Stadion. Nothing less than a win will do for Steve McClaren to preserve their admittedly slim title chances. Realistically, their ambition is to maintain themselves in second and secure Champions League football next season and finish above all of the traditional big four for the first time in their history. The return of Blaise N'Kufo from suspension bolsters an attack that misfired last week and the burly Swiss will be the focal point of the attack once more. Roda have bigger troubles than football, as they're about to be subsumed into a Limburg regional side. If the players show the passion and anger that the fans did last week, then they could spring a surprise, but Twente ought to preserve their own long unbeaten run here. Ajax host Willem II at the Amsterdam ArenA on Sunday and look to have little trouble in scoring a win. The gap back from Twente to Ajax reduced to a single point last week, so the pressure is on, even if the title is gone in all but imaginary circumstances.

    Down at the bottom, Volendam pulled themselves off the bottom by beating Feyenoord last week, but a trip to Heerenveen is a much tougher prospect, especially with their hosts chasing a Europa League place. De Graafschap replaced Volendam on the bottom and they welcome NEC to De Vijverberg with a good chance of grinding out the point they need to get them back out of it. Sparta's trip to Den Haag is a big game at the bottom with the winner able to all but forget about being sucked into the relegation play-offs.

    Feyenoord and Heracles are both struggling for consistency, but little rests on this game while PSV will start short odds favourites at home to mid-table-mediocrity personified in Utrecht.

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