• Thursday, 19 August 2010

    Eredivisie round 3 previews

    Excelsior v NEC
    Vitesse v Twente
    Groningen v De Graafschap
    Heerenveen v NAC
    Ajax v Roda JC
    Utrecht v Willem II
    Heracles v Feyenoord
    VVV Venlo v ADO
    PSV v AZ

    Lots of sides backing up from European action this week: Ajax in the Champions League and PSV, Feyenoord, AZ and Utrecht all in Europa League action. The latter three hadn't kicked off at time of writing, but PSV had an early kick off and lost in Novosibirsk. Fred Rutten rested a few, but it was still a strong side. He'll have to turn that around for the visit of AZ on Sunday who this week lost Moussa Dembélé to Premier League Fulham. AZ were at home in Europe to Kazakh opposition, so may well be fresher than PSV who had a hell of a long trip to central Russia, but are really struggling for forwards at the moment. One thing PSV aren't short of is goals.

    Neither are Ajax, though questions have been raised about their defence which has shipped four in two games so far. Jan Vertonghen has been defiant about the abilities of himself and colleagues and it was he who got an important goal in Kiev against Dynamo in a 1-1 draw. They're at home to Roda JC this week and it really ought to be a home win. Utrecht have a tough test against Celtic in Europe, but they've started well domestically and should have too much for struggling Willem II. Coming off the back of the loss to Excelsior, Feyenoord don't have too far to travel, just across the border to Genk in Belgium. They'll have to be much sharper than they were on the artificial surface last week to get something in their Europa tie or indeed this weekend's fixture against Heracles.

    Twente are still searching for goals and face a threat from Liverpool for Bryan Ruiz. A swap deal involving Ryan Babel has been mooted, but no movement as yet. Safely in the group stages of the Champions League, they'd better get moving before that starts and there's no reason why it shouldn't be this week in Arnhem. Excelsior are back at home to face NEC, one of just two remaining sides with a 100% record. It's unlikely to be the eight-goal thriller NEC were involved in last week, but after a terrible opener, Excelsior showed they can play in beating Feyenoord last week and look a handful, at home at least. De Graafschap were brought back down to earth last week after briefly topping the table and have another tough task against Groningen this week. The northerners aren't the most fluent side around, but they are hard; hard to break down, hard working and hard as in tough hombres. Finally, Heerenveen take on NAC and VVV play ADO. The former should be a home win, the latter is anyone's guess.

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