The Eredivisie has reached its mid-way point at the Winter break. Football-Oranje’s Michael Statham gives his 21/22 team of the season so far.

  • by Michael Statham
  • Follow Michael on Twitter @EredivisieMike

Goalkeeper: Lars Unnerstall (Twente)

In the summer, Twente sold goalkeeper Joel Drommel to PSV, and received Lars Unnerstall in return (and some money too). German Unnerstall has proven to be an excellent shot-stopper, even if he is not the best with his feet, having the best xG save percentage in the Eredivisie (whilst Drommel has the worst). A big reason why FC Twente are currently competitive in the top six.

Right-back: Marcus Pedersen (Feyenoord)

Whilst Ajax’s Noussair Mazraoui is probably the best right-back in the league, Pedersen has shown great improvement, particularly in his attacking game since his days in the Norwegian league.

Centre-back: Jurrien Timber (Ajax)

Timber is only 20, but looking very cool in an Ajax defence that has only conceded four goals all season so far.

Centre-back: Lisandro Martinez (Ajax)

Timber’s defensive partner has been excellent too. You have to say that Martinez has been the best defender in the league so far. A few players I have interviewed have commented on how Martinez has been the most difficult defender they have faced – mentioning his physicality (and little tricks) being hard to get around – and he has also been very good on the ball. Martinez has found his position in the Ajax team.

Left-back: Max Wittek (Vitesse)

Maximilian Wittek has probably earnt most of his reputation playing in Europe for Vitesse so far in this campaign, but he has also played some very good games in the Eredivisie. The wing-backs are a major part of how Thomas Letsch wants to play, so Wittek’s attacking influence is important, yielding six assists up until now.

Centre-midfield: Ibrahim Sangaré (PSV)

PSV’s stand-out player so far. His manager Roger Schmidt loves to make substitutions in games, but Sangaré almost always plays the full 90 minutes, such is his importance in defensive midfield. A very strong improvement from last season.

Centre-midfield: Sondre Tronstad (Vitesse)

I don’t do safe picks in my teams! Like Schmidt, Letsch also likes to make a lot of changes to his team as he balances league and European games. Tronstad is so important in Vitesse’s 3-5-2 that the Norwegian rarely gets a rest. He is someone who will always go under-the-radar for working so hard off the ball. Feyenoord’s Orkun Kokcu is another stand-out midfielder who rarely scores goals, but Tronstad has been an unsung hero, so I am singing his praises here.

Winger: Dusan Tadic (Ajax)

It would be very easy to leave out Tadic, until you see stats like how in 2021 he assisted more goals than Lionel Messi’s 2011 record (though that record is up for debate on Twitter!). Another seven goals and twelve assists at the start of this Eredivisie season add to Tadic’s proud Eredivisie record.

Attacking-midfield: Guus Til (Feyenord)

10 goals from midfield in the league is a remarkable return to form for Til, who is now back in Netherlands contention. After sparkling with AZ, Til’s subsequent moves abroad have been tricky for him, but Til has thrived under Arne Slot at Feyenoord.

Winger: Jesper Karlsson (AZ)

Quickly becoming one of the league’s best players, Karlsson has been very important in AZ climbing the table to fifth following a dreadful start. Eight goals and six assists, plus a whole bunch of tricks and flicks to fill YouTube highlight reels, will excite all sorts of European clubs when they come sniffing in a future transfer window.

Striker: Bryan Linssen (Feyenoord)

This was probably the hardest position to pick! Linssen gets it for me over Sébastien Haller, Vangelis Pavlidis, and Lois Openda, because he has eleven goals to his name (better than Pavlidis on 7 and Openda on 10); he is someone who has thrived under Slot’s high-pressing style of play; and Linssen played as a winger for a long time in his career! You have to enjoy it too when someone who is 5ft 7 (1.7 metres) tall keeps scoring all sorts of headers!

Manager: Arne Slot

Slot has transformed the style of play and the fortunes of Feyenoord. After nearly getting knocked out of Europe in July, he has taken the Rotterdam side into an exciting title race in which they are scoring bags of goals. Newly promoted managers Henk de Jong (Cambuur), Roger Meijer (NEC), and Kees van Wonderen (Go Ahead Eagles) also came into my thinking here.

Substitutes: Remko Pasveer (Ajax; goalkeeper), Noussair Mazraoui (Ajax; right-back), Gernot Trauner (Feyenoord; centre-back), Daley Blind (Ajax; left-back), Edson Alvarez (Ajax; midfield), Orkun Kokcu (Feyenoord; midfielder), Luis Sinisterra (Feyenoord; winger), Cody Gakpo (PSV; winger), Issa Kallon (Cambuur; winger), Sébastien Haller (Ajax; striker), Lois Openda (Vitesse; striker).

Michael Statham (828 Posts)

Writer/interviewer/YouTuber for Football-Oranje. Massive Dutch football fan from the UK. Follow me @EredivisieMike & subscribe to Football-Oranje on YouTube.