After a turbulent campaign last season, what can FC Utrecht expect in the upcoming Eredivisie season.

  • By Michael Bell
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utrdbdjLast season was a nightmare for Utrecht, they started by getting knocked out of the Europa League in the 2nd qualifying round by Luxembourg side Differdange, and then flirted dangerously with relegation, before ending the season in 10th. The poor season cost Jan Wouters his job as coach, with Rob Alflen coming in to start a rebuilding of the club going into the new campaign.

Transfers:

Utrecht have been busy this summer rebuilding their squad, with Jacob Mulenga, Steve de Ridder, Dave Bulthuis, Cedric van der Gun, and Johan Martensson among those leaving the club. Midfielder Anouar Kali has rejoined Utrecht after a season with Roda JC, forward Danny Verbeek comes in on loan from Standard, while Nacer Barazite, and Ruud Boymans strengthen the attack. The defence, which was so poor last season, has been boosted by the capture of Christian Kum from Heerenveen, and Ramon Leeuwin from Cambuur.

Pre-season

Signs in pre-season have been positive for the club, they started with simple simple 5-0, and 9-0 wins over amateur side’s JSV, and Serooskerke, while they saw of SPL side Dundee United 2-1. Utrecht’s only defeat came at the hands of Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon, who brushed the Dutch side away 3-0.

Possible starting XI: Ruiter, Van der Maarel, Kum, Leeuwin, Markiet, Kali, Janssen, Toornstra, Oar, Verbeek, Boymans

Key Players:

Jens Toornstra: The undoubted star for Utrecht over the past two seasons since signing from ADO Den Haag. The midfielder is the creative maestro in the team, an excellent crosser of the ball, and can score goals from anywhere on the pitch. The 25-year-old has been linked with a move away, but nothing has materialised to the relief of everyone at the club.

Tommy Oar: The 22-year-old winger represented Australia in this summers World Cup, and showed glimpses of the undoubted talent he possesses. A quick and tricky player, Oar has been with Utrecht for four years, and although he has made 91 appearances for the club, i don’t think we have yet seen the best of the Australian. This may be the campaign when Oar truly shines

Ruud Boymans: Utrecht may have pulled off one of the most impressive signings of the summer when they brought in striker Ruud Boymans from AZ. The 25-year-old was in outstanding form last season for Willem II in the Eerste Divisie, as his 27 goals saw them gain promotion as champions. Boymans has struggled to shine in the past to shine at the top level of Dutch football, but he is going into the season on a high, and could be a contender for the golden boot at the end of the season.

Nacer Barazite: Was meant to be a huge Dutch talent when he signed for the youth ranks of Arsenal in 2006, but fast forward eight years, and things haven’t worked out for the attacker. He failed to make a single appearance for Arsenal before joining Austria Wien in 2011, and although he impressed for the Austrians, and was snapped up by Monaco, Barazite struggled to hold down a place in the Ligue one side. Now Barazite is back in Netherlands, with Utrecht offering the 24-year-old a chance to get his career back on track.

Youngsters to watch:

Rubio Rubin: Rubin is one of the brightest prospects in US football, and was voted the soccer young male athlete of the year in 2012. The forward. The 18-year-old forward signed his first professional contract with the club this summer, and has featured in pre-season.

Yassine Ayoub: A fighter in midfield, Ayoub was one of the most consistent performers in the Utrecht side last season, despite only being 20-years-old. The signing of Anouar Kali may limit Ayoub’s participation this season, but the youngster is one of the most talented midfielders in the league

Prediction:

Utrecht were poor last season, but i predict much better things from them this campaign, and they could possibly challenge for a top six place. New coach Rob Alflen has made a number of good signings this summer, while retaining the club’s backbone. They have a stronger defence, talent in midfield, and with Ruud Boymans, and Leon de Kogel up front, goals should be guaranteed.

My prediction: 7th-5th




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