Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven host 2nd placed Ajax in a mouthwatering clash on Sunday. Kick-off in the Philips Stadion is 3.45pm.

Mark van Bommel has had an excellent start to his tenure as PSV Eindhoven boss with his side winning all five Eredivisie matches so far and the reigning champions sit top of the table. However, he faces his toughest test in the league so far as Ajax come to Eindhoven, also unbeaten and only two points behind the leaders.

Both clubs were in Champions League action in midweek with PSV defeated 4-0 by Barcelona while Ajax defeated AEK Athens 3-0 in Amsterdam.

Van Bommel feels he doesn’t need to motivate his players to play against Ajax, “I don’t need to provide the players with extra motivation when they lock horns with Ajax. Most of them have played Ajax before. As a player, I enjoyed the atmosphere of staggering intensity and the feeling of rivalry between the two sides.”

Ajax boss Erik ten Hag told his press conference, “It is the number one against the number two. Of course we are very excited about it. A crucial match? Every game is crucial, so we will also approach every game. It does not matter whether we play against PSV or against another team: we want to win every game and get better.”

Team News

Ryan Thomas, and Dante Rigo are the only injury worries for PSV going into the game with Van Bommel set to name the same eleven that went down to Barcelona in midweek. The only change could see Erick Gutierrez make his first start in place of Pablo Rosario.

Possible PSV line-up: Zoet, Dumfries, Angelino, Viergever, Schwaab, Hendrix, Rosario/Gutierrez, Pereiro, Bergwijn, Lozano, De Jong

Ajax are sweating on the fitness of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and captain Matthijs de Ligt, who will both have late fitness tests before its decided whether they can play. Carel Eiting and Donny van de Beek would be looking to come into the side should either fail to recover. Kasper Dolberg is back and played 45 minutes for Jong Ajax on Friday, but Daley Sinkgraven and Joel Veltman are still out.

Possible Ajax line-up: Onana, Mazraoui, Tagliafico, De Ligt, Blind, De Jong, Schone, Neres, Tadic, Ziyech, Huntelaar

Odds

PSV 6/4 Draw 23/10 Ajax 9/5

Head to Head

The two sides have met 166 times in all competitions with Ajax coming out on top in 74 while PSV have won 62 times.

Last season, Ajax won 3-0 in Amsterdam but PSV triumphed 3-0 in Eindhoven, which was a big victory in their eventual run to the title. The meetings between the two sides are always tough to call with Ajax winning at the Philips Stadion twice in the last four years.

Predictions

Michael Statham’s prediction: One of the best matches of the Dutch football calendar awaits. PSV’s slim advantage at the top could already be decisive for this game, as avoiding defeat in front of their home fans could be important. This early in the season, I wouldn’t have thought that both sides’ Champions League games would have an impact. I think I have to pick a winner here though, as I don’t believe either side are the type to settle for a point. I’m going to back Ajax on this occasion as they have the quality players to get the goals but also the likes of Matthijs de Ligt and Nico Tagliafico are in the form of their lives at the moment and will fancy themselves against Luuk de Jong and Hirving Lozano respectively. 1-2 | Tip: Both score no draw.

Charlie Pritchard’s prediction: I may be boring here but I am going for a 1-1 draw this Sunday. Both sides will have played Champions League football this week and despite PSV having a tougher side of the bargain having to face Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Tuesday night, Ajax will have to perform exceptionally well to win in Eindhoven. PSV may be tired and Ajax too, resulting in a cagey affair for the most part, with each side’s quality surely shining through at crucial moments in the game. 1-1

To check out all of Charlie and Michael’s predictions for this weekend’s games click here.




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