Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven host second place Ajax on Sunday in a crucial tie in the title race.

bruma klaassenThe race for the title couldn’t get much closer this season with PSV currently leading by one point from Ajax with only seven rounds of matches to go. The two meet in the Philips Stadion at 3.45pm on Sunday, with the home side looking for the win which would all but seal their second title in a row.

Phillip Cocu’s side go into the tie on the back of the Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, which saw PSV use up a lot of energy to hold their opponents to a 0-0 draw before going down on penalties. Undoubtedly some of PSV’s stars will be physically and mentally tired going into Sunday’s crucial clash.

However, Cocu doesn’t believe fitness is a problem. He told his pre-match press conference, “It’s important that we’ve have come through the Atlético game unscathed. At first the players were tired but after a day’s rest they felt much better.”

Opponents Ajax had the chance to leapfrog PSV last week but were held to a shock 2-2 draw at home to NEC Nijmegen. In his pre-match press conference coach Frank de Boer stressed that it is a must not lose tie for his side. He said, “We must not lose. That’s crucial, because I think that they will not lose a lot.”

Team News

Left back Simon Poulsen is the only absentee for Cocu, who has an otherwise fully fit squad to choose from. It is likely that Cocu will change from the 5-3-2 that he used against Atletico and use his more regular 4-3-3 formation. Expect Luciano Narsingh to start in place of Nicolas Isimit-Mirin.

Possible PSV line-up: Zoet, Arias, Willems, Bruma, Moreno, Guardado, Propper, Van Ginkel, Narsingh, Locadia, De Jong

Ajax are still without defenders Kenny Tete and Jairo Riedewald meaning De Boer will likely stick to the same defensive line that started against NEC. The only real question mark lies over the right wing with Lasse Schone and Anwar El Ghazi battling to start.

Possible Ajax line-up: Cillessen, Van der Hoorn, Dijks, Viergever, Veltman, Gudelj, Bazoer, Klaassen, Younes, Schone, Milik

Recent Meetings

PSV won the reverse fixture 2-1 in Amsterdam earlier this season, but the last meeting in the Philips Stadion went the way of Ajax, who won 3-1.

In total there has been 130 meetings between the two sides in all competitions, with PSV triumphing 53 times, but Ajax have the edge with 56 wins.

Where the game will be won

Undoubtedly the crucial match-up in this match will happen in the centre of the pitch, with both sides having excellent midfield’s. In the last tie Andres Guardado was allowed to dominate proceedings in the Arena, and Riechedly Bazoer will need to shut the Mexican down if Ajax are to get a positive result.

Davy Propper has also been a revelation in his first season at PSV, and he will look to win the battle of the number tens against Davy Klaassen. The two will be aiming to impress the watching Netherlands boss Danny Blind ahead of the friendlies with France and England later this month.

Another key match-up will be Luuk de Jong against Mike van der Hoorn. The Eredivisie top scorer will relish coming up against a injury hit Ajax defence, and if Jetro Willems and Santiago Arias can whip balls into the box then De Jong will look to exploit van der Hoorn, who has looked far from secure in recent ties.

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