Former champions battle as Ajax vs. AZ Alkmaar headlines Eredivisie
After a dramatic European matchday in midweek, the Eredivisie returns as the “Big Three” are all in action on Sunday.
Only AZ Alkmaar earned a win in Europe in the Conference League against Legia Warsaw, whilst Feyenoord suffered a close defeat against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.
There is also good news, as RKC Waalwijk goalkeeper Etienne Vaesson is recovering and resting well, following his collision against Ajax, leading the game to be abandoned; the game will carry on in December with the last six minutes.
With matchday eight approaching, what are the standout ties to keep an eye on and how will I do with my predictions this week?
The Eredivisie before matchday eight
Almere vs. RKC Waalwijk
Almere City will be riding high after their first ever league win in the Eredivisie last time out – against Utrecht – and are also in good form against their opponents.
In the last eight matches between the two sides, Almere have won seven and drawn one, and they will look for their first win at home in the Eredivisie.
RKC have responded well in recent weeks after four losses at the start of their campaign, and will feel that after matching Ajax before the game was abandoned, they too can get the win.
Due to Vaesson’s head injury, Jeroen Houwen is likely to make his first competitive appearance for RKC on Saturday.
Alex’s Prediction: Almere 1-0 RKC Waalwijk
PEC Zwolle vs. Feyenoord
Feyenoord remain unbeaten in the Eredivisie thus far and can count themselves unlucky to leave without a point in their recent Champions League game in Madrid.
Sitting fourth – and four points behind PSV – Feyenoord will look to take three points from a side without a win in three league games.
PEC have not won in the league for a month, their last win coming on the 2nd of September against Almere.
Feyenoord’s Santiago Gimenez will look to continue his fine form in the league; his 10 goals make him the most lethal striker in the league currently, and the only player to hit double figures thus far.
Alex’s Prediction: PEC Zwolle 0-3 Feyenoord
Ajax vs AZ Alkmaar
What can you say about Ajax? Their season has fallen apart and their recent 1-1 draw against AEK Athens in the Europa League should be seen as a disappointment considering their pedigree.
The out of form former Champions League winners have struggled and sit in 15th, albeit with two games in hand.
But is it all bleak? Reports are suggesting that if Erik Ten Hag is sacked as Manchester United boss, he could return to his former club, where he inspired the team to the semi-finals of the 2019 Champions League.
Ajax will have it all to do against AZ, as they are in brilliant form recently, and are second in the Eredivisie.
Vangelis Pavlidis has nine goals in the league for AZ, and young winger Ernest Poku has created three goals for his teammates.
This match in any other season would be billed as a clash between former champions, or even a battle between title rivals. However, in this unpredictable season, it is a case of a fallen giant against a resurgent force.
Alex’s Prediction: Ajax 1-2 AZ Alkmaar
Sparta Rotterdam vs. PSV Eindhoven
The final game of the weekend sees league leaders PSV travel to Sparta, hoping to continue their perfect start to the season.
PSV have seven wins out of seven, scoring 23 goals to the detriment of two conceded; they also battled to a 2-2 draw against Sevilla in the Champions League, equalising at the death once again.
Sparta Rotterdam are in seventh place with 11 points after a mixed start to the season where they’ve won three, drawn two and lost two.
PSV will count on Luuk de Jong and his six goals so far, while former Swansea City midfielder Jonathan de Guzman should line up for the home side.
Alex’s Prediction: Sparta Rotterdam 0-3 PSV
The other matches
Friday’s match sees FC Volendam host Utrecht in a relegation match. Both teams currently occupy the bottom two places and Volendam are the only side without a win this season.
Utrecht have the worst goal difference in the league so far; both teams feel they have to win this in order to have a chance of staying up.
On Saturday Heerenveen host NEC and are in a rut, currently on a five match losing streak, however both sides have been poor defensively, conceding 17 and 14 goals respectively.
Go Ahead Eagles have lost their last two games but will feel confident ahead of their clash against Heracles where the away side have been in impressive form since their promotion last season.
Elsewhere, Vitesse host Excelsior in the last Saturday game and Excelsior are in fifth after two successive wins. Vitesse are just two points clear of the relegation places.
The other match on Sunday sees Fortuna Sittard host title contenders FC Twente, featuring former Norwich City striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel, which Twente should be feeling like they can win as they sit unbeaten in the league.
Alex’s Predictions: FC Volendam 1-1 Utrecht, Heerenveen 2-2 NEC, Go Ahead Ragles 1-2 Heracles, Vitesse 0-2 Excelsior and Fortuna Sittard 0-2 FC Twente
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