It’s been a fantastic season full of goals, new footballing stars starting to shine and surprises, including a title decided on the final day of the season. Michael Statham offers his assessment on each Eredivisie club.

eredUltimately it was PSV who stole the show of the Netherlands as not only did they seal the title, they also won much admiration for their performance in the Champions League, winning games against the likes of Wolfsburg and Manchester United to reach the last 16 of the competition. The proven talent of Andrés Guardado, Hector Moreno and Luuk De Jong was key in helping PSV come top of the class for the second year running. PSV – A

Meanwhile title-challengers Ajax largely disappointed with dismal attacking displays for much of the season, costing them in the league, cup and Europa League. The only positives for Ajax fans would be the change of manager, where Peter Bosz has succeeded the outgoing Frank De Boer, and the new players that are emerging from the academy such as Václav Černý, Donny van de Beek and Richedly Bazoer. Perhaps a better attitude is required for next year. Ajax – C

Feyenoord’s season resembled an éclair without the cream filling. A promising title run began the season, followed by poor form around Christmas, seeing them lose seven games on the spin. There was relative relief at the end of the campaign as Giovanni van Bronckhorst turned around the club’s fortunes to secure third place and the cup. Dick Advocaat and Dirk Kuyt also had important roles to play in nurturing the youth in the squad. Feyenoord – B

Despite being one of the younger members of the class, AZ have shown incredible talent and rapid improvement following a frustrating start. Vincent Janssen is the stand-out, plus Dabney dos Santos and Joris van Overeem have become key components in the team. As for the future, AZ need to keep manager John van den Brom and add a goalkeeper along with new forwards to replace the inevitable departures of Janssen and Henriksen. AZ – A

Utrecht have displayed drastic improvement since the appointment of Erik Ten Hag, who rightfully won manager of the season for developing players such as Sébastien Haller, Bart Ramselaar and Timo Letschert. They gave Utrecht a strong spine and Ten Hag also instilled a playing style that maximised his forwards’ abilities, such as strength, aerial ability and finishing. Utrecht have plenty of potential to achieve even more next year. Utrecht – B+

Arguably John Stegeman did an even more commendable job than Ten Hag, by getting Heracles to finish in the top six, as Stegeman wasn’t as blessed with finances or existing talent. After being tipped to struggle by many, Heracles have exceeded expectations and even have Europa League football to look forward to in August. Heracles – A

Seventh place seems like a disappointment to Groningen fans given how much optimism surrounded the club after last summer. The Europa League games were somewhat of a let-down and the football was simply boring. Groningen’s season was comparable to an afternoon assembly once Erwin van de Looi announced his departure at the end of January. The season went stale and fans were keen for it to end following a sixth successive defeat in March. A bright end to the term at least put some smiles back on faces. Groningen – B-

One of the quieter members of the class, but PEC always get on with it. Everything about the club’s players, overachievement and manager has been well documented for a few years now. Yet again, the Europa League play-offs have been reached and new players have been raised from the academy. A consistently good performer. PEC Zwolle – B+

Better was expected from Vitesse. The usual Cheslea loanees have been lukewarm at best and manager Rob Maas leaving the club is hardly a surprise. The only positive is that they finished above their class rival – NEC. Improvement is needed. Vitesse – D

A tenth place finish takes the shine off a wonderful first season back in the top division for NEC. With key players Christian Santos, Anthony Limbombe, Rens van Eijden, Navarone Foor, plus manager Ernest Faber set to leave the club this summer, rebuilding is needed under new trainer Peter Hyballa. NEC – B+

ADO have had a solid year but will be remembered most for class clowns Martin Hansen (for THAT goal) and Tommy Beugelsdijk. ADO – C+

Heerenveen also finished mid-table, due to their inconsistency. A fresh start next term might see them do better, if the defence can be improved and a new striker is added. Heerenveen – C

Twente had a great turn of fortune following Christmas. It’s such a shame that previous misdealings have cost them dearly, their relegation is not a fair reflection of their season. However, if you don’t play by the rules, you should be punished. Twente – C+

Roda started the year as one of the new members of the class, but struggled to find their feet until new recruits helped turn their fortunes around. They seemed to switch off towards the end of term, and must realise the rebuilding job on their hands over the summer holidays as a new manager and several players are needed to replace the outgoings. Roda JC – C

Excelsior are not blessed with the best talent, but they do work extremely hard. It was by no means easy for them to compete with this year’s finest and yet the tiny club pushed above their weight again to stave off the bottom three. Excelsior – B

After being tipped by many to be a surprise package this season, Willem II ended up being one of the most disappointing teams to watch. The Tilburgers were perhaps guilty of copying classmate Ajax on more than one occasion, with five players joining from the Amsterdam club last summer, only Lucas Andersen has had a notable contribution. Willem II – D

De Graafschap appeared to be out of their depth at the start of term, but soon managed to turn their form around. Whilst they ultimately failed to keep their place in the top set of Dutch football, De Graafschap will fancy a quick return after a more than creditable draw with Ajax on the final day. De Graafschap – D

Cambuur struggled all season with the demands of the Eredivisie. A new manager was not followed by enough new players and consequently the Frisians have failed this year. Cambuur – F

How would you rate each club? Tweet me: @EredivisieMike

Here’s to another Eredivisie season just like this one – unexpected new heroes and bags of goals!




Michael Statham (494 Posts)

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