Eredivisie Preview: AZ out to maintain lead, Vitesse face Utrecht
AZ will be looking to maintain their slender lead at the top of the Eredivisie when they make the trip to Feyenoord on Sunday.
Dick Advocaat’s men have had a fine start to the season, with a 2-0 win over Den Haag last weekend seeing them move into the top spot after previous leaders Twente continued their shaky form with a 2-2 draw at home to NEC.
Feyenoord are typically dominant at De Kuip, having lost just two of their last 34 league games on home soil - although both came this season - and will have their own designs on top spot as they sit just two points off AZ.
Indeed with just three points separating the top eight teams in the league, there is a fierce fight at the summit and both Vitesse and Twente, who sit second and third will also be eyeing first place when they face Utrecht and PEC Zwolle respectively.
While Vitesse will be aiming to extend their unbeaten run to four on Saturday, Michel Jansen’s Twente will be gunning for the first victory in as many matches and their hopes could rest on Luc Castaignos continuing his recent form.
The 21-year-old already has six goals this season, with his efforts ensuring points for Twente in a 1-1 draw with Ajax and 1-0 victory over Cambuur in October.
He was unable to find the back of the net in their 2-2 draw with NEC last time out though, and Anton Janssen’s team will hope to move off the bottom of the table when they face champions Ajax on Sunday.
NEC failed to win any of their opening 10 matches but, after earning three points against Heerenveen, they remain unbeaten in their last three and will face an Ajax side rocked by a last-minute defeat to Vitesse in their previous match.
PSV and Groningen would be boosted by another Ajax loss too, with the pair on 19 points alongside Frank de Boer’s men, and they will be hoping to build on draws in their last fixtures when they visit NAC Breda and Heracles respectively.
Den Haag, on the other hand, will be hoping that NEC’s positive run comes to an end as they look to try to establish some continuity in their results when they host Cambuur on Saturday.
The early strugglers have seen their last five league fixtures include two wins wedged between three losses, and they will need Mike van Duinen and Mathias Gehrt to keep up their threat in front of goal if they are to move from the bottom three.
This weekend’s action will also see Roda JC aim to extend their six-match unbeaten league run when they welcome Foeke Booy’s Go Ahead Eagles to the Parkstad Limburg Stadion, while 17th-placed RKC Waalwijk visit Heerenveen on Friday.