Sunday’s programme in Dutch Eredvisie starts with lunchtime kick-off as arch rivals Ajax and Feyenoord square off at Amsterdam ArenA. De Klassieker should deliver us premium excitement as always, but with both sides losing last weekend, there will be an extra incentive to win this high-profile clash.
Already three points behind
After winning their third successive Eredivisie title, Ajax found themselves in all sorts of problems as top European clubs started circling around the likes of Eriksen, Alderweireld and De Jong, among others. Already preparing for their exit, the club officials added the likes of Bojan Krkic and Mike van der Hoorn to the ranks, while also promoting several talented youngsters from youth sides. The fact that the star trio has yet to leave Amsterdam ArenA has been an added bonus, but the team haven’t quite taken advantage of this in the early exchanges. And while Frank de Boer’s men have got to be congratulated for winning the Dutch Super Cup after coming from two goals behind, while starting their league campaign with a 3-0 defeat of Roda, the 3-2 loss to AZ Alkmaar at the weekend spells problems for the Amsterdammers. Even if the attack remains in fine working order, Ajax have now conceded four goals in two matches against AZ Alkmaar, which is enough to suggest their back line will be facing problems against Feyenoord as well. Ajax remain the favourites to win the derby game in front of the packed Amsterdam ArenA, but it is highly unlikely they will be keeping a clean sheet in the process.
Ricardo van Rhijn misses out through suspension, whereas Siem de Jong and Joel Veltman are out injured.
Shocking start for Feyenoord
Ever since the club decided to turn their attention to their own youth academy, the improvement has been there for everyone to see. Not only did Feyenoord produced a number of talented players over the last few years, but they finally managed to become serious title contenders in Dutch Eredivisie. The De Kuip outfit had to settle for a third-place finish after they narrowly missed out on the final Champions League berth, and they were hoping to continue their uptrend in fortunes this season. Their hopes were not at all unfounded seeing as how there were no major changes in the squad during the summer, but Feyenoord, nonetheless, had a wretched start to the league campaign, losing their opening fixtures to PEC Zwolle and Twente, conceding six goals in the process. With two first team regular picking up red cards in the 4-1 defeat to the Tukkers, Ronald Koeman’s men face a mountain to climb in the high-profile clash with Ajax, but while the back line will be severely weakened, the likes of Pelle, Cisse, Immers and Schaken could prove to be a handful for Ajax defenders. Having lost their first two league fixtures, Feyenoord have no choice but to try and win at Amsterdam Arena, and no doubt a victory in De Klassieker would be a perfect tonic for the dismal start.
Stefan de Vrij, Jordy van Deelen and Elvis Manu are all banned, whereas Daryl Janmat and Jean-Paul Boetius are out injured.
With both sides scoring goals for fun and largely struggling at the back, we could see goals galore at Amsterdam ArenA. Ajax do appear to be in better shape at the moment and they look closer to what would be a very important victory, but their opponents can be trusted to notch at least one goal in Amsterdam.
Top pick: Home win and both teams to score 2.50 (3/2) @ Coral
Alternative pick 1: Over 3.5 goals 2.15 (23/20) @ Sportingbet
Alternative pick 2: Ajax/Ajax 2.00 (1/1) @ Paddy Power
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