VVV Venlo v PEC Zwolle
In this third round of the Eerste Divisie there is a match between two teams with a perfect start to this season. PEC Zwolle is probably the number one promotion candidate and with a full score after two games they don’t disappoint yet, but for VVV it is rather surprising. The club that got relegated in 2021 seemed destined to fight for promotion last season, but they didn’t even come near the play-offs. Without much investment in the team, they started this season well with two victories, but it didn’t come easy, as especially the last victory over de Graafschap was slightly lucky.
De Graafschap missed lots of chances and had a higher xG, but VVV was clinical in finishing and they scored the winning goal from a penalty. PEC also struggled against and beat De Graafschap in the opening game this season, and thumped Telstar after that. Telstar are very weak this season, but PEC looked impressive at times.
PEC should be the better side from these two, as VVV seems to be over performing. With Thomas van den Belt they kept one of the best players in the team and with Bram van Polen and Bart van Hintum there is a lot of top division experience in this PEC side. That combined with a pool of talented young players and some clever signings from smaller European top division leagues, they look balanced. I doubt VVV could keep this level up, while Zwolle has the potential to grow further, so I expect the latter to take the three points.
Jong Ajax v De Graafschap
The Ajax academy team had a false start to the season with a draw and a defeat, but the academy teams are usually slow in the early stages of the season and see lots of their best players get a chance at the first team, making it harder to build on a set team in the first weeks. In the first match against Telstar, Jong Ajax mostly played with second-string talents, but against Roda JC last weekend they had several of their better young players back. In this match, that could be even more as this is played days after the first team, so several of the young fringe players like Youri Baas, but also new signing Lorenzo Lucca, who don’t yet feature much at the flagship, could be used in this game.
De Graafschap haven’t been playing badly, but they lost their first and second game of the season to PEC Zwolle and VVV. With Siem de Jong they signed a quality player with a long history at Ajax, but de Jong is far from the player that captained Ajax to the league title under Frank de Boer. Apart from de Jong, de Graafschap don’t really have stand-out players and against a strengthened Jong Ajax, that could cost them. That’s why I’d put my money on the home side getting a result here.
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