MVV Maastricht v Jong Ajax
Almost a full round of Eerste Divisie football this Friday and we start with the Ajax academy side. Jong Ajax has been very erratic this season and a lot of that has to do with the available players for their matches. The Ajax fringe players that are still eligible for the academy side tend to join when the first team aren’t playing the next day and this may be one of those matches. The first team won’t be playing until Sunday late, which means players like Lorenzo Lucca and Francisco Conceição, who are far too good for the second division, may get 60 minutes playing time.
MVV are a different story. They started the season really well and with some decent football they have been a threat for several decent teams. Except last week, when they almost handed the goals to Eindhoven. They kept trying to play out from the back despite the high pressure from Eindhoven. It caused them to make a few awful mistakes that cost them the game in the first half our. They never managed to get back into it and it dealt a huge blow to their confidence with that style of football. I suspect they won’t be ready for a strengthened Jong Ajax side, so I think the away side will claim a victory in Maastricht.
PEC Zwolle v ADO Den Haag
PEC Zwolle vs ADO Den Haag is a match between two teams who were both dubbed promotion candidates before the start of this season. Zwolle have completely lived up to those expectations and are top of the league, but ADO’s story is completely different. Manager Dirk Kuyt is in his first serious job and he hasn’t started off well in his professional managing career. He tried to implement a new style of football and it didn’t work. ADO conceded some big defeats in their first games of the season.
ADO have now gone back to a playing style that should fit their players a bit better, but the results haven’t quite come yet. Draws against Jong AZ and Jong Utrecht are far below expectations and the pressure is mounting on Kuyt. He looks a bit clueless and the fact that he seems to be questioning everything and everyone but himself doesn’t help his credibility, so hopes of them getting a result are low. In comparison to the early games in the season, ADO are now regularly scoring goals and a lack of chances isn’t the problem any more either.
PEC Zwolle’s strength is also in the offensive line and with 22 goals in 7 games they are easily the most scoring side in the league. With both sides scoring fairly easy these days, I’d go on goals for this game.
Telstar v Heracles Almelo
Next to PEC Zwolle, Heracles Almelo are the other firm promotion candidates. Apart from a shocking 4-0 defeat away at Jong Ajax they have been pretty strong this season. They have no problems scoring and their defence has mostly been steady. They like playing out from the back and take their time to do so, trying to lure the opponents to leave their defensive ranks.
That backfired against VVV Venlo last week, when the goalie gave away a silly goal for being too confident playing out. However, they have so much attacking quality that it didn’t cost them in the end. Heracles scores pretty easily so far and has a lot of quality up front with Samuel Armenteros, Nicolai Laursen en Anas Ouahim, who are top flight level players.
Telstar claimed their second win of the season last week. They’d been the better side all game against Almere City, but failed to find the goal until the 95th minute, when David Min fired a bullet into the top corner. Telstar looked better than at the start of this season, but are nowhere near the level Heracles have, so I expect the away side to take the three points back to Almelo.
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