PEC Zwolle v Heracles Almelo
There are ten Eerste Divisie matches this Friday, including the important match between main promotion candidates PEC Zwolle and Heracles Almelo. At the start of the season, PEC seemed to be heading straight for promotion, but in the last couple of weeks they suddenly showed some glitches. PEC are still second, but have only won one out of the last five games, so they suddenly have to battle to stay in the direct promotion spots again. Heracles Almelo experienced something completely different with five victories from the last five games. They are sitting comfortably at the top, with a five point lead over PEC Zwolle.
Especially going forward, Heracles have been great, scoring 15 goals in those last five victories. Emil Hansson is in great form this season, the former Feyenoord player never made it in the top flight, but he apparently needed to drop a level to get to his full potential with six goals and seven assists this season. With Nikolai Laursen and Samuel Armenteros Heracles have two other Scandinavian attackers who are top flight level and that makes them a favourite for promotion. Like Heracles, PEC have an attacking line that should be too good for the second division, although they haven’t been that composed in the past few games. This could be an exciting game with both teams showing off their superior quality going forward, so you’d expect them to score several goals in this match.
MVV Maastricht v Jong PSV
MVV Maastricht keep surprising this season. They are third in the league after ten games, only sitting behind PEC Zwolle on goal difference. Since Maurice Verberne took over in the last month of the previous season, they started playing a lot better and went on to win several matches with a carefully crafted game plan. That hasn’t changed this season and apart from a 5-1 defeat at the hands of FC Eindhoven, they are still unbeaten.
Against Jong PSV, they are playing one of the mid-table academy teams. Adil Ramzi’s team has been pretty inconsistent this season, but that is partly because they lost several players to the first team this season. The first team has been struggling with lots of injuries and Ruud van Nistelrooij, who was in charge of Jong PSV last season, has been using several of his lads from last year. For this game, the Jong PSV attack might even be weaker than in previous games, because the injuries in the first team are not letting up with two more attacking players out for a while, so players like Dante Sealy and Simon Colyn might be pushed onto the first team for now.
Jong PSV’s defence is alright, but with so little power going forward, I suspect MVV Maastricht to claim the victory here.
Helmond Sport v Willem II
The new owners of Helmond Sport signed about 15 new players at the start of this season, with the ambition to fight for the play-offs, but ten games into the season, they are sitting in a disappointing 17th position. In the beginning of the season, they were playing well, but didn’t really score and now even their positive playing style is slowly diminishing into boring second division football. Last game they beat Jong Ajax, but the academy team had a very young side and Helmond Sport didn’t deserve that victory.
Willem II have been very inconsistent this season. The recently relegated side were one of the favourites to go up immediately, but they haven’t had the best start to the season. It looked like they picked up their level with six matches without conceding a defeat, but two surprising defeats against MVV and FC Den Bosch later, they are still no more than a mid-table side.
Willem II are without Wessel Dammers, who was sent off against Den Bosch, but with Erik Schouten they have an experienced replacement who was a starter earlier this season. Captain Pol Llonch is back from injury and should be able to play 90 minutes again. I don’t see Willem II dropping points against a regional rival again, especially against a weak Helmond Sport side who are sitting near the bottom of the table.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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