• Friday, 23 April 2010

    This is it: Eredivisie final round preview

    AZ v PSV
    Groningen v Sparta
    Utrecht v Vitesse
    Feyenoord v Heerenveen
    NAC v Twente
    NEC v Ajax
    Waalwijk v VVV Venlo
    Roda v Willem II
    Heracles v Den Haag

    So it's come to this. 90 minutes to decide the destination of the soup dish. It's already left Alkmaar as the champions had no chance ages ago. It's in Twente's hands to take their first ever championship. All they need to do is win in Breda. Simple eh? Well, yes it is. The real test of their title credentials was last week when they pulled off a terrific and professional win over Feyenoord. They have refused to buckle under the pressure of Ajax's marvellous run of form that's taken them to within a point and onto 102 league goals. Ajax really ought to see off NEC with ease, but they'll also need a big leg up from NAC. Were it the other way round, Twente going to Nijmegen, then perhaps Ajax fans would have more hope as NEC have been something of a bogey side for Twente over the years. All eyes are on those two games. The others are pretty much a sideshow.

    Not to us though. PSV finish against AZ. Both sit in the Europa League qualifying spots, but Feyenoord - home to Heerenveen - need a hand from PSV if they're to pip AZ to fourth. Heracles and Utrecht - home to Den Haag and Vitesse respectively - will finish in the Europa League play-offs and will play each other in the first round, the only question remaining is about who plays where when. The final spot is currently in Groningen's hands and they're at home to Sparta who will finish in the relegation play-offs. NAC and Roda are looking to gatecrash the Europa League play-offs and Roda face the other relegation play-off 'qualifiers' in the shape of Willem II.

    The play-off systems mean there's generally a lot to play for right through the season. Not so this year. Waalwijk v VVV has nothing riding on it at all. Still, eight out of nine ain't bad.

    One final note. With Ajax and Feyenoord facing each other in the cup final, there's been a change of format. The potential for trouble has seen the KNVB decide against the traditional one-off final at De Kuip and instead play it over two legs, one at the Amsterdam ArenA and one at De Kuip with no away supporters allowed at either match. The first leg went to Ajax in Amsterdam, Siem de Jong with two early goals in a 2-0 win.

    So Twente or Ajax? Place your bets.

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