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Eredivisie Preview – 21st, 22nd & 23rd August

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The third week of action in the Eredivisie is almost upon us and there are some mouth-watering matches across the division this week as Ajax and Feyenoord look to keep that 100% records intact.

Our Eredivisie expert Ethan Gore previews the weekend’s matches below. Let us know your thoughts on Twitter @TheSportLowdown.

The Game to Watch:

Feyenoord vs Vitesse 23/08/15 – 15.45 – De Kuip

Two of Holland’s best teams – both will be fighting for silverware – and they go head-to-head at De Kuip only three games into the season. Feyenoord finished one place above Vitesse in 4th – by only one point – and both qualified for the European competition play-offs with Vitesse coming out as winners. The last outing between the two sides ended in a 4-1 win for Arnhem as they completely dismantled the Rotterdam giants with ease. However, this time round Feyenoord will believe that they are the stronger team and have great belief of getting revenge for that defeat back in May.

Feyenoord currently have a 100% record, winning their first two games. An 2-0 away win against SC Cambuur was a lot more convincing than their first game against FC Utrecht were they won 3-2 with Kuyt scoring on his return to De Kuip. Vitesse on the other hand have had a good start themselves, a 1-1 draw against Willem II on the opening day as a late goal from Oliynyk sealed a point and a 3-0 home win against newly-promoted Roda JC last Friday showed a true sentiment of Vitesse’s quality going forward thanks to goals from Lewis Baker, Nathan and Dauda.

The Player to Watch in this game is Nathan, a very nice goal against Roda JC gained him some of the headlines and has left Vitesse fans in awe with his ability. The Brazilian is a very tricky, forward thinking player and will produce many goals for the Europa League outfit this season. On loan from Chelsea, the midfielder has plenty of quality when in the attacking areas and will cause Feyenoord many problems defensively. However, a player in good form since returning to Feyenoord is Dirk Kuyt and already he’s had his name on the scoresheet twice – albeit from penalties – and he will be eager to add even more against Vitesse.

My Prediction is 2-1 for Feyenoord, a third win in a row and another solid home performance in my opinion for De Kuip. I think Vitesse will play a good game but the home team will be too strong on the day.

N.E.C v Ajax – 23/08/15 – 13.30 – Stadion de Goffert

League leaders Ajax will look to add to their tally as they eye up the prestigious Eredivisie title that they missed out on last season to rivals PSV. N.E.C on the other hand will need points in their fight for survival, there’s no doubt against Ajax that it will be difficult but there’s every chance of the newly-promoted team beating the Amsterdam giants should they play well on the day.

Ajax’s 100% record is untouched  yet and two successive 3-0 victories against Willem II and AZ Alkmaar has left rival fans in awe at their quality going forward so far this season. El Ghazi has been the man in form and Riedewald has defensively impressed for the Amsterdam giants. N.E.C did manage to win their first game against Excelsior 1-0 but were completely demolished 3-0 against Heracles so a better showing this time round is needed.

The Player to Watch is undoubtedly Ajax’s Anwar El Ghazi, the man in form for last seasons runners-up as he’s already scored 4 goals in only 2 games. The 20-year-old winger will be keen on adding even more goals to his tally and his threat down the wings and inside the penalty area will give him a great chance of doing so. The Dutch youngster has already been heralded as one of Holland’s best young talents and should he be able to produce this season for Ajax then he could have a host of top European clubs searching for his signature.

My Prediction for this game is a 2-0 win for Ajax with El Ghazi being on the scoresheet yet again.

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sc Heerenveen v PSV – 22/08/15 – 18.45 – Abe Lenstra Stadion

sc Heerenveen continue their pursuit of European football whilst PSV hunt Ajax down to retain their Eredivisie crown. Heerenveen have won 1 and drawn 1 so far. A 3-1 home win against newly-promoted De Graafschap and a 1-1 away draw against FC Utrecht whilst PSV won their most recent game at home against Groningen 2-0, thanks to a brace from Luciano Narsingh but drew their opening game against ADO Den Haag away, 2-2, after a late equaliser by goalkeeper Martin Hansen claimed an all-important point for the home team.

The Player to Watch in this game is Luciano Narsingh, yet again based on form Narsingh is arguably the man to watch for PSV however Luuk de Jong when given the ball in the box could cause a lot of problems for Heerenveen also as his goalscoring record in Holland is scarily good. However, Simon Thern for Heerenveen is also very good and scored two goals on the opening day.

My Prediction is a 1-0 win for PSV.

ADO Den Haag v FC Utrecht – 23/08/15 – 13.30 – Kyocera Stadium

ADO Den Haag have started off brilliantly whilst FC Utrecht fans will be disappointed with the display in the first two games from their players. Utrecht kicked off the season away from home against Feyenoord and despite a late goal from Haller, it wasn’t enough to secure any points as they lost 3-2.  Their second game was at home against Heerenveen but yet again they failed to win, claiming a 1-1 draw however Haller was on the scoresheet once again Utrecht. Den Haag on the other hand picked up a brilliant 2-2 draw against the reigning champions in their opening game after goalkeeper Martin Hansen scored a fantastic backheel goal in the last minute of the game. Den Haag’s second game was away from home and they surprised many people as they absolutely demolished FC Twente 4-1.

The Player to Watch in this game is arguably Utrecht’s Haller and despite ADO Den Haag being the stronger team, Haller’s record so far this season has been very good and could inspire Utrecht to their first victory of the season. He now has 3 goals this term and will be keen on adding more. The 21-year-old striker has 2 of his 3 goals from penalties but his threat in front of goal hasn’t gone un-noticed.

My Prediction for this game is a 1-1 draw.

AZ Alkmaar v Willem II – 23/08/15 – 13.30 – AFAS Stadion

AZ and Willem have both started off poorly to their campaigns – each team only have 1 point – and will be eager to get their first win on board. AZ started off their season against Ajax at home but were defeated with ease, 3-0 whilst Willem faced Vitesse at home and claimed a point. And in matchweek two, both teams struggled to win as AZ drew against relegation outfit Excelsior whilst Willem faced the wrath of Ajax this time round, losing also 3-0.

The Player to Watch is Marcus Henriksen for AZ, the midfielder since joining in 2013 has turned into one of the club’s key players and he has proven to be a real threat going forward. The 23-year-old scored 7 goals last season and already has 1 to his name so far this campaign after a goal against Excelsior last week.

My Prediction for this game is a 3-1 win for AZ.

FC Groningen v Excelsior – 21/08/15 – 19.00 – Euroborg

Groningen should be aiming for the European competition play-off spots this season and have already qualified for this season’s competition after winning the KNVB Cup last term. Excelsior, on the other hand, will most likely be fighting for survival. Groningen have claimed only point so far likewise with Excelsior. Groningen drew their first game against FC Twente, 1-1 thanks to a late goal from Michael de Leuuw. Their second game ended in a 2-0 away defeat to PSV. Excelsior lost their first match against newly-promoted N.E.C whilst drawing their second game against Europa League outfit AZ, 2-2 despite being in the lead twice.

The Player to Watch is Jordan Botaka who could be threatening down the wing for Excelsior. Very similar to his Congolese team-mate Yannick Bolasie who plays for Crystal Palace, he’s got great dribbling ability and is a very skillful player.

My Prediction for this game is a 2-2 draw.

Roda JC v De Graafschap – 22/08/15 – 17.30 – Parkstad Limburg Stadion

Two of the newly-promoted teams face off for the first time this season. This game will be regarded as a relegation six-pointer as it’s likely that both teams will be amongst those fighting for survival. De Graafschap have yet to win since being promoted having lost their first two games 3-1 to Heerenveen and 3-0 to PEC Zwolle whilst Roda JC did lose their most recent game 3-0 to Vitesse but won their first game convincingly 3-1 against Heracles.

The Players to Watch in this game are Vincent Vermeij, De Graafschap, and Edwin Gyasi, Roda JC. It was hard to pick a definitive stand-out player but I think both of these players are capable of causing the opposing team problems. Gyasi specifically is going to be tricky to handle down the wing whilst Vermeij is a huge threat infront of goal.

My Prediction is a 2-1 win for Roda JC.

PEC Zwolle v FC Twente – 23/08/15 – 11.30 – IJsseldelta Stadion

PEC Zwolle have had a great start to their Eredivisie campaign whilst FC Twente have been left disappointed yet again as they appear to be a club in serious decline. Zwolle’s first game of the season ended in a 2-2 draw at home against SC Cambuur with Ajax loanee Sheraldo Becker impressing. An away game at newly-promoted De Graafschap was almost guaranteed to be a victory for Zwolle as they won comfortably, 3-0 with Becker finding the net yet again. FC Twente, on the other hand, have got 1 point from their first two games. In their opening game, they could only manage a 1-1 draw against Groningen whilst in their second game they were completely humiliated 4-1 by ADO Den Haag.

The Player to Watch in this game is undoubtedly Zwolle’s Sheraldo Becker. On loan from Ajax, the 20-year-old has already scored 2 goals in 2 games and will be eager to add more to his tally as the season goes on. The Dutch forward is very quick and good on the ball, he’ll be a huge threat to FC Twente who have been in very poor form recently and could lose once again.

My Prediction is a 3-1 win for the home side, Zwolle as I believe they will be too strong for an out of form Twente side that in all honesty look nowhere near good enough to challenge for the Europa League places so far.

SC Cambuur Leeuwarden v Heracles Almelo – 22/08/15 – 19.45 – Cambuur Stadion

Heracles and Cambuur have both been tipped for relegation however Leeuwarden are likely to retain their mid-table status yet again this season. Heracles have had a pretty good start whilst SC Cambuur have failed to hit the ground running. Almelo lost their opening game against Roda JC, 3-1 but bounced back immediately against newly-promoted side N.E.C with an easy 3-0 win. Cambuur, on the other hand, drew their opening game against PEC Zwolle 2-2 but failed to claim a win against title hopefuls Feyenoord as they lost 2-0 at home.

The Player to Watch in this game is probably Heracles midfielder, Thomas Bruns who has scored 16 goals in 112 games for Almelo. The 23-year-old is a key player in their first-team and will be instrumental in any chances Heracles have of staying up. He already has 1 goal for the season and will be keen to add more but his dominance in the centre of the park will be mostly key to the game on Saturday.

My Prediction is a 1-1 draw.



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