12:05 The traditional big clubs of recent years during the winter break have rarely been so involved in the fight for the national title as this season. PSV Eindhoven is the leader with four points, but has only one point more than Ajax and three more than Feyenoord. With the restart of the Eredivisie approaching, it will be a good moment to take stock. Who distinguishes themselves in the specific parts a national champion should have, Eindhoven, Ajax or Feyenoord?
Goals, goals and objectives: Ajax (0-1-0)
There is no size for Ajax this season, both offensively and defensively. The goal numbers are staggering: Ajax has already scored 56 times, ten times more than PSV Eindhoven and fourteen more goals than Feyenoord. With Ajax also having everything perfectly at the back with only four goals against them, the Amsterdam team can no longer be tracked by goal difference. So the first point undoubtedly goes to the ruling national hero.
Luck: Feyenoord (0-1-1)
“Maybe we have the luck of the champ,” said Jens Tornstra in February 2017 in Avkiken, three months before Feyenoord won his first national title in eighteen years. In addition to good football, the national champion also needs a bit of luck each year to secure the medal. People often talk about Lucky AjaxBut this season the penny often falls in the right direction for Feyenoord. Within a week, Feyenoord had the full loot three times thanks to a winning goal by Cyriel Dessers. Of course that can also be attributed to the Arne Slot fighting team, but without luck Max Verstappen was not the best in the world in the last F1 season.
Against juniors: PSV (1-1-1)
“Become a champion against the little ones,” is an old, cliched adage in football. If you managed to win all the hats, you obviously deserve the necessary praise. But it’s nothing if you don’t stand up to the low-level players in the Eredivisie. Ajax has proven that so far smoothly: they beat PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord in the competition, but blamed clubs like Heracles and Joe Ahead Eagles. Because of this, Eindhoven is on top. The team from Eindhoven defeated themselves in the head only after a 2-1 defeat in a visit to their provincial colleague Willem II.
Program: Feyenoord (1-1-2)
No, Ajax’s schedule right after the winter break is clear. Engstegner’s visit to Utrecht and a direct clash with leaders PSV Eindhoven, with a chance between them to give the reserve a chance in the cup against Excelsior Maslais. In addition, heavy wear and tear with Benfica in the Champions League awaits in February. PSV Eindhoven is also still active on three fronts and must take immediate action in the first knockout round of the Conference League. For Feyenoord, the focus can be entirely on competition in the early months. Rotterdam are out of the cup and as conference league winners, they can skip a round. When rivals have to split the focus, Rotterdam’s attention can fully focus on the Eredivisie.
Choice: Ajax (2-1-2)
It’s a big difference: Feyenoord had Mark Demers back in the final weeks of the year, who could bolster his midfield as a substitute. Ajax could only bring in full-fledged Orange international player Davy Klassen. With Bear Schurz, David Neres, Andre Onana and Nicholas Tagliafico, the Amsterdam squad will have players on the bench who will be key players in all the other clubs without any issues. Brian Proby has also been added this winter, while Ajax is still looking for an extra winger. Broadly speaking, Ajax is the most powerful and will eventually pay off anyway. But Eindhoven, especially after attracting Joey Firman, is getting a lot closer. PSV Eindhoven won the past few weeks, while they had to rely on B starters due to injuries.
Pressure: PSV (2-2-2)
Make no mistake about it: of course PSV Eindhoven should celebrate the title ceremony at the end of the season. Becoming a champion is critical to maintaining contact with the extremely wealthy captain Ajax. However, the pressure in Eindhoven will be the least. Expectations are always high in Feyenoord, even if there is no reason for it. The pressure to choose the Arne Slot will only increase as you race to the finish line. Due to her choice and finances, Ajax is already obligated to take the national title. PSV Eindhoven coach Roger Schmidt thought at the start of the season that the odds ratio between Ajax and PSV was 80-20. With this putting his team in a vulnerable role, PSV will hope to eventually outsmart Ajax.
Experience: Ajax (3-2-2)
Of course Ajax will be disappointed as they lost unnecessary points in the first half of the season. Eric Ten Hag knows, however, that he has a team that will be there if needed. With players such as Daly Blind, Duzan Tadic and Sebastian Haller, the team from Amsterdam has experienced players who know exactly what is expected of them in the important matches. Moreover, they are not afraid of matches in the Champions League, so shivers at the end of the Eredivisie season should not be so bad. There are many players on the field in Eindhoven and Feyenoord who are already vying for trophies for the first time this season. What happens in the minds of players like Joël Drommel, Cody Gakpo and Feyenoord player Marcos Senesi when they know he’s up or down?
Conclusion: Ajax becomes the champion
It’s fair to say that the top clubs are finally challenging each other this season as they did years ago. Last season, Ajax became national champions by a straight margin, something that likely won’t happen this season. The top three clubs have quite a few aspects to win the jackpot, but second-placed Ajax appears to be the favorite. In the battle for second place, Feyenoord and Eindhoven will make it difficult for each other.