• Friday, 1 October 2010

    Eredivisie round 8 previews

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

    Too many draws are blighting Twente's attempts to defend their title, but they got away with it to a degree last week as they drew with leaders Ajax while PSV and the fourth unbeaten side, Groningen, who are Twente's opponents this week. A humbling defeat, largely thanks to three hooky penalty decisions, in London in midweek isn't the best preparation for the game against tough opponents who had the week off. It's not unfair to describe Groningen as the surprise package of the season and came through their first real test against PSV last week with a well-earned draw. This one should be a belter. Groningen need to get something out of it while Twente really have to stop mucking about and start winning. A draw it is then.

    PSV should not have any problem in getting past VVV Venlo, but they've not been at their ruthless best so far this season. A long trip to the Ukraine saw them come away with three Europa League points in the week, so the fixture list has been kind in handing them a home tie against a side in the bottom three. VVV did get a win last week, but let's not pretend De Graafschap are anything compared to PSV. Ajax are also at home after their Champions League home draw with Milan, but against Utrecht they will face a test of their credentials. Ton du Chatinier's side drew with Liverpool and it's a sign of the ability in the Utrecht side that they can reasonably be disappointed with the result. Ricky van Wolfswinkel was an injury doubt, but played the full 90 in midweek and is good to go again here. Feyenoord are in a mess at the moment, but Mario Been and his sporting director Leo Beenhakker seem set to be given the chance to turn it round. Without Jon Dahl Tomasson or funds to bolster his squad, Been has been operating with one hand tied behind his back and it's the acceptance of that fact by fans and board that are allowing him the time. Luc Castaignos has been leading the line, but the 18-year old has yet to really convince. It may come good, but the kid is very raw. Away at De Graafschap, you'd really expect Feyenoord to win, but they've come unstuck before in games they're expected to do well in. AZ are on the up after consecutive 1-0 wins, but copped a 4-1 gubbing in Belarus in midweek against BATE Borisov. Not ideal preparation for a home game with Heracles, but the Almelo side are in rotten form. Mind, with Everton in great goal-scoring form, an upturn can only be moments away. This could be a major turning point in either club's season, so expect a draw.

    NAC are up to eighth despite that point deduction and face NEC, in seventh, this week. That should be fun. Expect goals. If you want a crazy punt, have a look at 3-3. Excelsior lost for the first time on the artificial surface at home last week, but get the chance to put that right this week as Roda JC visit the Verzekringen. ADO are up to sixth and face a trip to Heerenveen while rock bottom Willem II kick us off for the weekend with a trip to Arnhem to take on Vitesse. Lose this and you may as well stick a fork in them.

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