Full Preview of all the action from week 19 of the Eredivisie which finally returns after the winter break.

  • By Leo Walker
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klaassen bAfter the winter break, the Eredivisie makes a much anticipated return with round 19 starting on Friday evening. The Dutch Championship of 2013/14 has continued it’s recent trend with being such an open competition and just four points separate the top four. The Champions, Ajax, are top of the roster on 37 points, and seperated too Vitesse by goal difference alone. Feyenoord, searching for their first title since 1999 are fourth on 33 points, whilst FC Twente lie in third, one point ahead of Ronald Koeman’s Rotterdam.

It is FC Twente who will kick start the Eredivisie action on Friday evening when they entertain Heracles Almelo at the Grolsch Veste Stadion. The last two fixtures between the sides at the home of FC Twente have resulted in 3-2 scorelines, and a victory for each side. Heracles continue to be somewhat of an enigma in the Eredivisie and retain the title of the most unpredictable side in the top tier of Dutch Football as they lie in 13th, whilst a comprehensive victory for the hosts could see them return, temporarily, to the top of the table, on goal difference.

Former league leaders, AZ Alkmaar will start the action on Saturday evening when they host NAC Breda. Dick Advocaat’s side went on an impressive eight game, all competitions, unbeaten run when the former PSV manager took over. However in their last five games prior to the winter break they were unable to record a victory, suffering four Eredivisie losses and a draw in the Europa League. The poor run of Alkmaar has seen them drop to 8th, and now just two points ahead of their visitors NAC Breda who lie in 14th.

An hour later, Vitesse Arnhem, who are seeking their maiden Eredivisie title, travel to the home of PEC Zwolle looking to maintain their pressure on the title contenders. In the last 6 fixtures between the two sides, a period which stretches back 10 years, Vitesse are unbeaten and have recorded 5 victories over their opponents, including a comfortable 3-0 win at the Gelredome earlier on in the season. Kicking off at the same time is Erwin Koeman’s RKC Waalwijk side who are undefeated in their last five games, a run which has seen them rise out of the dreaded bottom three zone, whilst FC Groningen, who have improved under new manager Erwin van der Looi, remain in contention for a European spot as they currently retain 6th position.

The action on Saturday will conclude with sc Heerenveen entertaining Roda JC at the Abe Lenstra Stadion in what will be Jon Dahl Tomasson’s first game in charge of the visiting side. The two sides in recent years have been involved in entertaining encounters with the fixture at the home of Roda JC, earlier on in the season, finishing 3-3, whilst last seasons game at the home of SC Heerenveen finished 4-4. Marco van Basten has started discussions with the board of sc Heerenveen regarding a new contract as his side currently lie in 5th and are confident they can retain star striker Alfred Finnbogason during the January window, whilst all eyes will be on Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side following his appointment from Excelsior.

The Eredivisie on Sunday will see four crucial ties at either end of the table. The day starts with the bottom side, NEC Nijmegen hosting ADO Den Haag, who are 16th, in a key game for both sides as they currently reside in the bottom three zone. The remaining club in the bottom three is the Eerste Divisie Champions, SC Cambuur who host the play-off promoted side of the Go Ahead Eagles. Both sides made a positive start to life back in the Eredivisie however a winless run of four games prior to the winter break has seen SC Cambuur look strong contenders for an immediate return to the second tier in Dutch football. Whilst the Go Ahead Eagles continue to perform above expectations as they lie in 10th.

The remaining games on Sunday involve title contenders, and Dutch quarter final opponents, Ajax and Feyenoord. The Rotterdam club, who recorded four back to back victories prior to the winter break, face a difficult tie away at FC Utrecht. The hosts, who struggled at the start of the campaign, turned their fortunes around towards the end of the first half of the season and have sneaked into the top half of the Eredivisie. The tie to end the weekends action is the game of the round as PSV Eindhoven travel to the home of Ajax. The visitors started the season all guns blazing and were looking strong title contenders, however from the 6th October to the winter break they recorded just one Eredivisie victory and now find themselves in 7th and also out of European competition, as well as the domestic Cup. Phillip Cocu will look to salvage this season with a strong league finishing position, however PSV face an uphill start at the Amsterdam Arena as Ajax seek revenge for the 4-0 loss they suffered at the Phillips Stadion in September.

Leo Walker (36 Posts)