• Friday, 15 January 2010

    Eredivisie round 18 (part 2)

    NEC v Vitesse
    Utrecht v Twente
    NAC v Ajax
    Roda v PSV
    Groningen v Heerenveen

    It's another week until the Eredivisie gets back up and running, but with half the programme from the last round before the break being wiped out by snow, ten clubs come back a week early to complete that aborted weekend of fixtures. The pick of these is leaders Twente's trip to Utrecht. The hosts would surely have preferred this game to have been played when originally scheduled as their hard working centre forward Jacob Mulenga is away in Angola with the Zambian national side. Twente are without Chiek Tioté for much the same reason (Ivory Coast), but he's not as central to what Twente do as Mulenga is for Utrecht. Besides, Marko Arnautovic is back in Enschede from his loan spell at Inter and Theo Janssen's club suspension after a drink-drive offence is due to end soon. It's unlikely that Twente will drop points and, in this remarkable two-horse race, neither will PSV away in Kerkrade on Tuesday. It just ain't going to happen. The big question is just when oh when oh when will either of these two lose? The only time either looks like dropping any points is when the two clash for a second time this season.

    Ajax are by any other definition doing pretty well. Just the three defeats in the first half of the season and a blinding amount of goals and yet they're nine points off the pace. NAC are impossible to read and could easily spring a shock, just as easily as shipping yet another half dozen. While the league was off, Ajax managed to put 14 away in the cup, six of them through Luis Suarez who has pledged to stay at Ajax for the foreseeable - i.e. at least until the end of the season rather than during the current transfer window. Heerenveen and Groningen both managed to pull away from immediate danger in the lead-up to the shutdown and face off on Wednesday. A point each wouldn't be a disaster, but a win for either and they'll do themselves a massive favour. NEC are in the bottom three as they resume their campaign against Vitesse. The Arnhem side are in a dizzying tenth, but that's just four points above the drop zone. It is that tight down there. NEC will be without their burly Swedish midfielder Bjorn Vleminckx, suspended after his sending off and subsequent hissy fit in the last round before the break. They look a poor side.

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