Tag Archives: AZ Alkmaar

Eredivisie Standouts: No. 1 – Alireza Jahanbakhsh

It is without a doubt that the Netherlands’ three biggest club sides are AFC Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and reigning Champions Feyenoord, however scratch beneath the surface of the Eredivisie and there continues to be a common theme year after year; a wealth of fantastic young players with raw, untapped potential.

In this new series exclusive to Total Dutch Football, Joe Donnohue looks at one of the ‘Eredivisie Standouts’ who continues to leave his mark on the league outside of the traditional ‘Big Three’ squads.

Image result for Alireza Jahanbakhsh

Alireza Jahanbakhsh – AZ Alkmaar

One player who may not be unfamiliar to Eredivisie aficionados is Alireza Jahanbakhsh. The Iranian winger has eight league goals and seven assists for AZ Alkmaar this term and has been in terrific form. Without a doubt, Jahanbakhsh is AZ’s most valuable player and is certainly one who could ply his trade at a higher level.

To illustrate his importance to his side, without his direct contribution in terms of goals and assists, AZ would be 12 points and five league positions worse off. Jahanbakhsh’s contribution has seen AZ overachieve to an extent seeing them soar to third in the table at the time of writing, challenging Ajax for a Champions League qualification round place.

While perhaps not as prolific as the likes of PSV’s Hirving Lozano or ex-AZ man Steven Berghuis, it is rather Jahanbakhsh’s creativity that greatly supports AZ’s cause. On four occasions this season, the winger has been involved in both scoring and assisting in the same match. During October’s 3-0 victory over a strong FC Utrecht side, Jahanbakhsh scored one and assisted the other two goals to almost single-handedly secure all three points. His influence cannot be understated.

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Having hit the ground running at AZ last season, Jahanbakhsh registered ten goals and nine assists in the Eredivisie, signalling that this season’s tally to date – which he is set to surpass on both counts – is no fluke. Rather, the 24-year-old looks to be gearing up before heading into his best footballing years.

Understandably with this kind of form it will be difficult for AZ to turn down potential suitors should a substantial bid be received and a World Cup with Iran will only showcase his skills further, only this time on the global scale. It will take something short of a miracle to keep the Iranian at the AFAS Stadion beyond this summer.

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EREDIVISIE Week 3 Betting Tips

This article is produced in association with HeaderBlue

After an eventful two rounds of the Eredivisie so far, Will Burns returns after a week off with his thoughts on two of this Sunday’s Eredivisie games. The very best of luck if you are betting!

 

 FCUtrecht-AZ

Sunday 21st August 2016 – 13:30BST

FC UTRECHT v AZ ALKMAAR

This game promises one thing at least in my eyes… Goals!

Erik ten Hag is still searching for his first win as Utrecht manager this season and the transfers this week has not helped his cause as one of their players of the season, Bart Ramselaar left for defending champions PSV. AZ Alkmaar had a difficult trip to Serbia on Thursday night in the Europa League qualifier, but came out on top 3-0 winners over Vojvodina, so they may be a tad lacklustre in Sunday’s game.

I am unsure of who could come out on top but I feel both sides have goals in them. Striker Sebastien Haller has been linked with a move to England and Newcastle United this week and his very capable of beating his 19 goals that he notched in the Eredivisie last season. He bagged a goal in the opening day 2-1 home defeat to PSV while converting a penalty last weekend in a 2-2 draw with Heerenveen.

AZ has also experienced near similar results, a 2-2 draw with Heerenveen on the opening day, while they were defeated in a narrow 1-0 win away to PSV. Markus Henriksen, Wout Weghorst and Fred Friday will be the players to watch and Stijn Wuytens, a defensive midfielder, bagged a brace away in Serbia midweek. They are goals all over the pitch for AZ and Over 2.5 with Both Teams to Score market at Bet365 is worth a two point punt at 18/25.

TIP: Over 2.5 Goals with Both Teams to Score (2PT placed on 1.72 at Bet365)

Heracles-Feyenoord

Sunday 21st August 2016 – 15:45BST

HERACLES v FEYENOORD

My pick as an outside bet the league this season was Feyenoord, and so far they are proving me right and have started the season well under Giovanni van Bronckhorst. The opening game was a 5-0 away thrashing of FC Groningen followed by a comfortable 2-0 victory at home to the troubled FC Twente.

Heracles are also undefeated in the first two outings, a 1-1 draw away to newly promoted Roda JC before last weeks confident 3-1 win over Willem II. John Stegeman has kept the majority of the side that finished 14th last year with Iliass Bel Hassani his main star that could aggravate Feyenoord’s defence.

However, I cannot look past Feyenoord winning this game and comfortably. The Rotterdammers looked far too strong for Groningen and Twente and I see Stegeman’s side suffering the same fate. New signing Danish winger Nicolai Jorgensen has been selected as a false nine by Van Bronckhorst and has found the net in both games. Dirk Kuyt, Jens Toornstra, Tonny Vilhena and Eljero Elia will all start with him in a five man strong attack which will prove to be too much for the Heracles defence.

TIP: Feyenoord to win (2PT placed on 1.72 at Bet365)

In addition to these tips keep an eye on Get Bet Smart’s Twitter account for their #SocialMediaExclusive tips including the very successful #DutchDouble.

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Eredivisie Team Of The Week – Round 2

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Here is round two of our Eredivisie Team of the Week which leads into our 2016/17 Eredivisie ‘Player of the Season’ competition. All players have performed so well this weekend that Will Burns has selected them in the team of the week.  Each player in the eleven receives one point and whichever player is declared ‘Player of the Week’, he receives an extra point.

TeamOfTheWeek-2

GOALKEEPER

ERNESTAS SETKUS – ADO DEN HAAG: ADO’s new stopper denied Vitesse time and time again in his side’s 2-1 away win on Saturday.

DEFENDERS

MICHEL BREUER – SPARTA ROTTERDAM: The 35 year old led well from the back and his performance was imperative in Sparta’s emphatic 3-0 win over PEC Zwolle.

RON VLAAR – AZ ALKMAAR: PSV could have destroyed his side if it was not for Vlaar’s determination and communication at the back.

HECTOR MORENO – PSV: Not only did he hold the PSV defence together he notched the only goal of the game in the 1-0 win.

JURGEN MATTHEIJ – EXCELSIOR: A surprise to be making the team of the week but scored against the poor Groningen side and held strong against anything they could throw at him.

MIDFIELDERS

LORIS BROGNO – SPARTA ROTTERDAM: Claimed a brace in the unlikely 3-0 win over PEC Zwolle.

JENS TOORNSTRA – FEYENOORD: The midfielder bagged a goal and ran the show for the Feyenoord attacks in their 2-0 win over Twente.

ANDRES GUARDADO – PSV: The Mexican ran the show and his creativity should have produced more goals for PSV in their 1-0 win against AZ.

ATTACKERS

KASPER DOLBERG – AJAX: The 18 year old Dane that does not play like a teenager. Notched twice against Roda but his teammates let him down in the 2-2 draw – PLAYER OF THE WEEK.

KEVIN MAYI – NEC: The French striker scores a goal on his home debut that clinched a vital point in the 2-2 draw.

CRAIG GOODWIN – SPARTA ROTTERDAM: Excellent performance capped off with a goal for the new Sparta man.

Click here to see the ‘Player of the Season’ standings.

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EREDIVISIE REPORT: Week One

 

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Week one is in the books and here is Steven Davies with a full rundown of the action.

The 61st season of the Eredivisie kicked off on Friday 5th August with PEC Zwolle travelling to Nijmegen to face NEC – now under the stewardship of German, Peter Hyballa. The visitors hit the front shortly after the half hour with new signing, Anass Achahbar teeing up Ajax loanee, Queensy Menig with a deft back heel. However, Ron Jans and his charges were pegged back just after the hour when new signing, Reagy Ofosu beat the offside trap and scored on his debut to leave honours even at the Goffertstadion.

On Saturday, it was the turn of the first of the two promoted teams, with Go Ahead Eagles – having negotiated a tough promotion/relegation playoff campaign against first, VVV and then De Graafschap – travelling to The Hague to face ADO. However, it was not to be a fairy tale return to the Dutch top flight for Hans de Koning’s Eagles, who, despite looking dangerous in front of goal on numerous occasions throughout the match, conceded a penalty just after the quarter hour which Japanese international, Mike Havenaar duly converted before adding a second with twenty minutes remaining. ADO, now under the guidance of Zeljko Petrovic following the departure of Henk Fraser to Vitesse, then added a third through Tyronne Ebuehi with eight minutes left on the clock as the Eagles chased the game in vain.

After adding the Johan Cruijff Schaal to their burgeoning trophy cabinet following last weekend’s triumph over KNVB Beker winner’s, Feyenoord in the season opening showpiece, reigning Eredivisie champions, PSV Eindhoven began the defence of their title with a trip to Utrecht and were shocked when Sebastien Haller put Erik ten Hag’s men a goal to the good just after the quarter hour.

However, second half strikes by first, Davy Propper in the 51st minute and then Gaston Pereiro with 10 minutes to play, ensured that normal service was resumed and that Phillip Cocu’s men left the Stadion Galgenwaard with all three points.

Having staved off demotion and potential financial oblivion over the summer, FC Twente could not however withstand a stubborn Excelsior side who took all three points from their visit to De Grolsch Veste on Saturday evening.

Kevin Vermeulen put the visitors into the ascendancy after only 13 minutes had elapsed in Enschede before Leeroy Owusu doubled the Rotterdammers lead just after the hour mark and, despite Jari Oosterwijk pulling a goal back for Rene Hake’s men with eight minutes remaining, Excelsior – now under the tutelage of Mitchell van der Gaag – were good value for their victory.

The visitors were also celebrating in Saturday’s late fixture where Henk Fraser’s Vitesse put four past Erwin van de Looi’s, Willem II in Tilburg.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel – making his re-debut for the club where his career began – put the Arnhem outfit in front after 21 minutes before a calamitous own goal by Willem II’s Greek goalkeeper Kostas Lamprou followed by a brace from Chelsea loanee, Nathan gave the visitors a healthy advantage going into the break. The Tilburg side did manage to add some respectability through a solitary header from Spanish striker, Fran Sol after 54 minutes but a miraculous comeback failed to materialise.

Sunday’s Eredivisie action began at the Noordlease Stadion in Groningen where Ernest Faber’s men were thrashed by an impressive individual display by Eljero Elia – who netted a hat trick in a 5-0 away triumph for Feyenoord.

It was the so often enigmatic Elia’s initial shot which, having been poorly dealt with by Groningen ‘keeper Sergio Padt, presented an open goal for Tonny Vilhena after 19 minutes had elapsed. Elia then smashed a crisp half volley past the helpless Padt following a Toornstra cross from the right before curling a well-placed strike into the top left hand corner from just inside the edge of the box on the stroke of half time.

Groningen offered little by way of attacking intent throughout the match and it came as little surprise when Elia completed his hat trick – tucking in the rebound after Padt had initially denied Vilhena on 56 minutes after which he left the stage with a dislocated finger – before new signing, Nicolai Jorgensen got off the mark for the Rotterdammers with his first goal in Feyenoord colours with seven minutes left to play.

It ended all square in Alkmaar where AZ and Heerenveen shared four goals. Markus Henriksen gave John van den Brom’s side the lead just after the half hour but the Frisian outfit – now under the guidance of former Willem II coach, Jurgen Streppel pegged the home side back through 21-year-old Swede, Arber Zeneli to send the sides in all square at the break.

Former Heracles striker, Wout Weghorst restored the home side’s advantage early in the second half – scoring a goal on his AZ debut from the penalty spot. However, the visitors responded once more with a strike from a former AZ player – Stijn Schaars ensuring the spoils were shared with eight minutes remaining.

After squeezing past PAOK in the Third Qualifying Round of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, Peter Bosz took his Ajax side to Het Kasteel in Rotterdam to face the second of the clubs to have won promotion to the Eredivisie for the 2016/17 season – Sparta.

A double by Ajax skipper Davy Klaassen was enough to secure passage through to the playoff round of the UEFA Champions League where the four-time European Cup winners will face the Russian side, Rostov for a place in the group stages of the tournament, and it was Klaassen again who popped up with a bullet header from an El Ghazi cross from the right to give his side the lead after just 5 minutes of play.

Alex Pastoor lead Sparta to the Eerste Divisie crown last term following six years in the wilderness and the new boys showed that they would be no push-overs this season when they pegged de Godenzonen back just three minutes later when a Sanusi free kick took a deflection from Gudelj to deceive Jasper Cillessen who fumbled the ball into the Ajax net.

However, Ajax weren’t to be denied and, despite the dismissal of Joel Veltman for two bookable offences with six minutes remaining, second half strikes by Daley Sinkgraven and Colombian, Mateo Cassierra ensured all three points went back to Amsterdam.

The first round of action was rounded out in Kerkrade, where Roda (under new coach, Yannis Anastasiou) and Heracles ended with honours even at the Parkstad Limburg Stadion – Czech, Jaroslav Navratil giving the home side the advantage just after the half hour mark before Adil Auassar equalised for the visitors with 18 minutes left to play.

RESULTS

NEC Nijmegen 1-1 PEC Zwolle

ADO Den Haag 3-0 Go Ahead Eagles

FC Utrecht 1-2 PSV Eindhoven

FC Twente 1-2 Excelsior

Willem II 1-4 Vitesse Arnhem

Groningen 0-5 Feyenoord

AZ Alkmaar 2-2 Heerenveen

Sparta Rotterdam 1-3 AFC Ajax

Roda JC 1- 1 Heracles

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Vincent Janssen – A good signing for Spurs?

Vincent Janssen is closing in on a move to join Tottenham, after AZ Alkmaar agreed to let him travel to London for talks with the North London club. They are desperate to bring in cover for Harry Kane, and add a different attacking option to the squad. They have been linked with higher profile forwards, but a move for Janssen represents value for money, while the Dutchman is unlikely to demand a starting berth to begin with. The fee wanted by his current club is believed to be around £12m, which could turn out to be a bargain says Jake Jackman.

The striker has had a meteoric rise to the very top of the Dutch game. He was the top scorer in the Eredivisie during his first season in the Dutch top flight. This led to his first Dutch call up and he has continued to perform at that level, scoring three times in five caps. It is his form for Holland that will have led to this transfer, as he has showed he can compete with the very best. He was arguably the best player on the pitch at Wembley as the Netherlands managed to beat England, scoring a penalty and assisting the winning goal.

Janssen is a unique centre forward in that he is strong and well built, allowing him to play the target man role well. His hold up play is excellent, but he also possesses an impressive passing range, an attribute we come to expect of any Dutch player. He is also quick, with his movement able to stretch defences. The striker is obviously a good finisher, as shown by his tally of 27 league goals in the Eredivisie this season.

He is lethal around the 18-yard box, and manages to find a way to get a shot away even in the most improbable situations. Spurs fans can also expect to see Janssen’s impressive link up play in the final third. He often plays intricate flicks and backheels to get his team-mates on the ball. Although he is born to score goals, he also has good vision in the final third and does look to gain assists as well as goals.

The Dutch forward is mentally strong and has stepped up every time a question is asked of him. He was signed as a back-up forward for AZ at the beginning of the season, but the departure of Aron Jóhannsson thrust him into the starting eleven. He initially struggled and didn’t score for several weeks. His confidence remained though and his self-belief carried him through a rough period as he adjusted to the Dutch top flight. That will be key again as he moves to England.

In terms of his primary tactical plan, Janssen is the perfect fit for Mauricio Pochettino. He is as similar to Harry Kane as they come, although Janssen is more of a number nine, while Kane does play a withdrawn role at times. The AZ Alkmaar forward will be able to come into the team and not alter the tactics hugely and I think that is a major reason he is joining Tottenham. It is a risk to buy a player off the back of just one top flight season, but his international performances show he can compete at a higher level.

This is a great signing for Spurs, and he perfectly fits the criteria that Pochettino will have wanted for a second choice striker. He is young, fits in well to his tactical plan and he won’t complain about being used mainly as a rotational option. However, he is hungry and the Dutch international has been successful at every level he has played at. He will believe in his own abilities and will try to break into the first team. You wouldn’t back against him either given how quickly he has emerged as the long term striking option for Oranje.

For Janssen personally, I think that another season in the Eredivisie would have been beneficial to develop further away from a pressured environment. However, it is difficult to turn down a move to the Premier League and Tottenham is a good club to join at the moment. They are on the up and have an exciting manager, who gives young players a chance. Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane have all showed that if you perform when given a chance, it is possible to break into the first team at White Hart Lane. Janssen will believe he can do that too and he could force Pochettino to devise an alternative tactic that could facilitate two strikers. The most important thing is for the Tottenham staff and fans to be patient with him as he settles in England. Memphis Depay wasn’t afforded that luxury and has been labelled a flop as a result. If he gets time, Janssen will thrive in England.

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Could these five Eredivisie players be on the move this summer?

As one of Europe’s second tier leagues, the Eredivisie will always be at risk of losing its best players, as has happened in recent years. Last season it was Memphis Depay, Gini Wijnaldum, Luc Castaignos, Jordy Clasie and Oussama Tannane who were the big names to leave Holland. This year’s Eredivisie has had an intriguing title race with both PSV and Ajax level on points going into the last two matches. Meanwhile, there have been young players breaking through lower down in the league that will attract big interest this summer. The following are the five players that I feel will attract the most interest and are ready to try their luck in another league tells Jake Jackman.

Hakim Ziyech

The FC Twente attacking midfielder is almost certainly going to be leaving the league this summer, as he has outgrown the Eredivisie and his club are in desperate need of cash. Ziyech is a number ten, who is capable of scoring and creating goals as shown by this season’s tally of 17 goals and 10 assists. He has already tied Memphis Depay’s goal and assists haul from last season, and with two matches to play, he is set to beat it. Ziyech is a dead ball specialist, while his vision is also incredible as he often plays key passes that open up opposition defences. He has also showed his leadership ability as he has captained FC Twente this season after opting to remain at the club last summer.

I’d expect Ziyech to be available for a reasonable fee all factors considered, which could make him the bargain of the summer. He has been linked to Barcelona, Leicester City and Fenerbahce in recent months and it is impossible to predict where he will end up. The 23-year-old will be known to a lot of scouts across Europe and with the potential of making a huge profit, there will be lots of clubs asking about the midfielder.

Vincent Janssen

This year was Janssen’s first in the Eredivisie, but he is en route to being the league’s top scorer and he has also made his Oranje debut in recent months. He made an impact against England, getting a goal and an assist as the Dutch recorded a famous victory at Wembley. This match may have brought him to the world’s attention, but the AZ striker was already well known to regular watchers of the Dutch top flight. Janssen is a complete forward who is very capable of leading the line on his own. His strengths lie around the penalty box as he is a strong finisher, while he is good at anticipating potential chances. Janssen is a capable dribbler, while he also brings midfielders into the game in the final third.

He has an incredible 25 goals in his first Eredivisie season, which surpasses his tally from last season with Almere City. His rise to the top has been staggering and at the age of 21, he is likely to improve a lot more, which is exciting for Oranje fans, especially after the disappointment of missing the European Championships this summer. Janssen would suit Premier League football, and has been linked to both Liverpool and Manchester United. If he does move to a new league in the summer, fans will have to be patient and give him time to adapt as he is still very young. Janssen has adjusted quickly to every challenge he has been set in his career and I think he would be a huge hit wherever he goes.

Jetro Willems

Jetro Willems would have probably departed the league last summer if it wasn’t for his injury problems. He returned in the second half of the season and has performed well for the most part, but he has yet to find his form from last season. He has one goal and three assists to his name from just 13 league games, which shows that he is still a very effective player going forwards. Meanwhile he showed his defensive qualities in both legs against Atletico Madrid, playing a key part in two clean sheets. Willems is a modern day full back, who loves rampaging forwards. He is a good crosser of the ball and his ability to make the decision when on the ball in the final third shows intelligence beyond his years.

He has been linked with several clubs including Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal in recent months. It is got to the point when he should consider moving to another league to test himself and to continue progressing. He would risk stagnation if he remains in the Eredivisie as he is comfortable and established as the best left back in the division. He could cost up to £10m this summer, but he would be a great signing for any of the clubs mentioned as he has the potential to become one of the best full backs in world football. Also, he brings experience of the Champions League and has a winning mentality, both of which will be invaluable when he finally leaves the Eredivisie.

Riechedly Bazoer

The Ajax academy is still bringing through great talents in each generation and Riechedly Bazoer could be the best for a long time. He has already established himself as a starter for both club and country, while he has interested the likes of Napoli in recent months. The central midfielder is a great passer of the ball, while he is capable of carrying the ball, which is often does as he drives Ajax forwards. His reading of the game is superb as he rarely makes mistakes. Moreover, he is able to score goals with his tally standing at five for the season, with his long shots being another strength.

He is only 19-years-old and his potential is enormous. Bazoer is likely to go for a big fee when he does eventually leave Ajax. He has been linked with a move to Arsenal recently, but he may feel another year in the Eredivisie would be beneficial for his development. A move too soon to the wrong club can leave your growth at a standstill as Memphis Depay has learned the hard way. If he does leave this summer, he will be a great pick up for one of Europe’s premier clubs.

Sebastian Haller

The striker has had a great season in the Eredivisie and at the age of 21, he will develop a lot more in the future. Haller is all the attributes to succeed in a bigger league. He is great in the air, a strong finisher and capable of beating defenders on the dribble. The Frenchman is also contributes defensively, especially when it comes to defending set pieces. He almost joined Norwich City in January for £6.5m and although his value may be more in the summer, he will still be a cheaper option for clubs. He is an exciting prospect and it might be worth taking a risk on him now at a fee around £8m, than waiting and seeing his value rise.

Haller has scored 17 goals and has 4 assists, an impressive return which has helped his club get in contention for a Europa League spot for next season. He remains inconsistent and often scores his goals in streaks, but that is to be expected given his age. Tottenham have been linked with him in recent weeks, but they may be looking for a more proven talent to be a back up to Harry Kane, especially with the Champions League next season. He may opt for one more season in the Eredivisie, there will be interest in him this summer though.

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Vincent Janssen – The future firepower for Oranje?

AZ Alkmaar striker Vincent Janssen is currently one of the brightest talents in the Eredivisie and his rise to the top of the league will have caught the attentions of a lot of people in football. He has been compared to Ruud van Nistelrooy and many have talked about him as being a big part of the future for the National side. Although it is important to not get carried away, Janssen’s start to 2016 has been incredible and he has scored as many league goals as Lionel Messi with ten says Jake Jackman.

His battle to get where he is has faced its setbacks, as he was released from the Feyenoord academy in 2013 and could have disappeared off the scene. However, the forward joined Almere City in the Jupiler League and scored 29 goals in 69 matches for the club. It isn’t an incredible goal return, but he grew with experience and started to stand out in terms of his overall contribution. Fred Grim, who worked with the forward at Almere City, had no doubts about Janssen’s ability to step up to the Dutch top flight and he has been proved correct. The forward is now second in the goal chart, only to the experienced Luuk de Jong, and could surpass the PSV forward if he continues this rich vein of form.

It was a match just a few weeks ago where Janssen really put his name on the map and went from a good striker, to one who could push on for better things. He returned to former club Feyenoord and ran riot, with one of the best striking displays seen in Holland this season. Feyenoord still had an outside chance of joining the title race, but the movement and clinical finishing of Janssen heaped misery on the club who released him as a youth player. He scored a hat-trick and was ‘Man of the Match’ on the day. AZ have showed themselves as a team on the rise, and Janssen is at the apex of that.

The Dutch national side is going through a period of upheaval and there will be temptations to get rid a lot of the older players and build a team of younger players, like both Spain and Germany have done in recent times. If they do opt to do that, Janssen is the prime candidate to be the forward, as he has all the characteristics to be a top forward.

Although he is not the tallest (5ft 11), he is capable in the air, but he is strongest with the ball at his feet. His nimble footwork allows him to beat defenders, while his coolness in front of goal has played a huge part in his good run. He has emerged as one of the best finishers in the league. Furthermore his movement and awareness in the final third are those of a player who can continue his goalscoring form and can grow in the sport.

Holland have a lot of good young players coming through. Memphis Depay, Anwar El Ghazi, Riechedly Bazoer and Jetro Willems are already well known, but you can know add Vincent Janssen to that list and it will be intriguing to follow his career over the next 18 months.

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Eredivisie Team Of The Week – Round 7

Header-TeamOfTheWeek

Welcome to week seven of our Eredivisie Team of the Week which leads into our Eredivisie ‘Player of the Season’ competition.  All players have performed so well this weekend that Martijn Hilhorst and Will Burns have decided they should be in our team of the week.  Each player in the eleven receives one point and whichever player is declared ‘Player of the Week’, he receives an extra point.

TeamOfTheWeek-7

GOALKEEPER

ERWIN MULDER – SC HEERENVEEN: The big goalkeeper was invaluable for Heerenveen in their goal-less draw at home to Vitesse.

DEFENDERS

RICK KARSDORP – FEYENOORD: The youngster is having a real breakthrough season and his performance in the 2-0 win over PEC Zwolle on Sunday begins to ask the inevitable question – should he be considered for the Oranje squad next time round? Well, that is for all to debate but one thing is for certain… he is our PLAYER OF THE WEEK

JEFFREY GOUWELEEUW – AZ ALKMAAR: Gouweleeuw notched his first goal of the season as AZ start to put a run together in a 3-1 win over Heracles.

JOP VAN DER LINDEN – AZ ALKMAAR: Jeffrey’s partner at the back, Van der Linden, put in a shift to protect all three points for AZ against Heracles.

ROBBERT SCHILDER – FC TWENTE: A vital 2-1 win over Roda JC to get their season on track with Schilder playing a great part in the victory.

MIDFIELDERS

HAKIM ZIYECH – FC TWENTE: Ziyech pulls all the strings in the Twente midfield and in Sunday’s 201 win over Roda, it was no different.

RIECHEDLY BAZOER – AJAX: What a talent this young man is. Coach Frank de Boer stated this was Bazoer best match in the 2-0 triumph over FC Groningen – we agree.

SIMON GUSTAFSON – FEYENOORD: Cool and composed on the ball, the Swedish youngster showed Jens Toornstra and Lex Immers that there is a new guy in town and he wants their place in the first eleven.

ATTACKERS

BARTHOLOMEW OGBECHE – SC CAMBUUR: The Nigerian striker notched a double in the 3-3 draw with FC Utrecht.

MIKE HAVANAAR – ADO DEN HAAG: See above. Two goals from Havanaar in ADO’s 3-3 draw against Excelsior.

ELJERO ELIA – FEYENOORD: The former Southampton winger has been an inspirational for the Rotterdammers so far this season and he notched himself another goal in the 2-0 win over Zwolle.

Click here to see the ‘Player of the Season’ standings.

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Eredivisie Team Of The Week – Round 6

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Welcome to week six of our Eredivisie Team of the Week which leads into our Eredivisie ‘Player of the Season’ competition.  All players have performed so well this weekend that Martijn Hilhorst and Will Burns have decided they should be in our team of the week.  Each player in the eleven receives one point and whichever player is declared ‘Player of the Week’, he receives an extra point.

TeamOfTheWeek-6

GOALKEEPER

SERGIO PADT – FC GRONINGEN: Commanding performance from the young goalie in Groningen’s 2-0 win over AZ.

DEFENDERS

GURAM KASHIA – VITESSE: Clean sheet and a goal for the big Georgian leading his side to a 3-0 win over De Graafschap.

WESSEL DAMMERS – SC CAMBUUR: Formerly a striker, Big Wessel was vital in at back for Cambuur, winning 11 challenges and five headers in the 0-0 draw against FC Twente.

JOP VAN DER LINDEN – AZ ALKMAAR: His side lost 2-0 to FC Groningen and if it were not Jop, it could have been a lot worse – won three aerial battles and victorious in six tackles.

RICK KARSDORP – FEYENOORD: The young right-back picked up another assist for Michiel Kramer’s goal in Feyenoord’s disappointing 1-1 draw at Roda.

MARK-JAN FLEDDERUS – HERACLES: The left-back was a true thorn in PSV’s side with a goal in the 2-1 turnaround for Heracles.

MIDFIELDERS

HICHAM FAIK – RODA JC: Great intelligence from the young Roda midfielder to chip Kenneth Vermeer with a quick free-kick to grab a point for his side against Feyenoord.

LUCAS ANDERSEN – WILLEM II: The Ajax loanee was influential for Willem II’s first win of the season against FC Utrecht on Saturday. The young Danish midfielder is our PLAYER OF THE WEEK.

ATTACKERS

SHERALDO BECKER – PEC ZWOLLE: A great goal and a great assist from Becker as Zwolle continue their undefeated start against ADO.

AREK MILIK – AJAX: The Polish striker failed to make an impact midweek against Celtic, but made up for it this weekend, notching a goal in the 2-0 victory over Excelsior.

CHRISTIAN SANTOS – N.E.C. NIJMEGEN: The Venezuelan international notched twice in a great 2-0 win over sc Heerenveen on Friday night.

Click here to see the ‘Player of the Season’ standings.

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EREDIVISIE REPORT: WEEK 6

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WEEK SIX – 18TH-20TH SEPTEMBER 2015

Feyenoord held to a draw, PSV suffer a European hangover as Ajax get back to winning ways against Excelsior writes Will Burns.

After the heroics in Europe last week, PSV fell to a 2-1 away defeat to high-flying Heracles in Almelo on Saturday evening. The hosts coach John Stegeman stated he was ‘a proud coach’ after his watched his side come back from a goal down to move top of the Eredivisie table come Saturday night.

The reigning champions gained the lead inside two minutes. Maxime Lestienne, who provided two assists in the midweek victory over Manchester United, provided another assist for Luuk de Jong. However, before half-time Heracles turned the game on its head leading 2-1 at the break. The equaliser came on 39 minutes, from a wonderful dipping strike by Mark-Jan Fledderus. The midfielder hit it just outside the area that gave Jeroen Zoet no chance of stopping. On the stroke of half-time, Thomas Bruns curled home Heracles’ second with a first-time shot from around 30 yards out.

The majority of the 12,034 inside the Polman Stadion erupted in euphoria on the full-time whistle as Heracles have now won five on the trot to make an incredible start to the season, when many had the Almelo side down as relegation contenders.

Ajax stay top of the pile after a two goal victory away to Excelsior. Frank de Boer’s men took the lead after Anwar El Ghazi scored the opening goal with a great dribble then finish just after the half hour mark. Before the half-time break, Arek Milik doubled Ajax’s score with a shot from outside the box that was too strong for goalkeeper Filip Kurto to stop. The Rotterdam side failed to trouble Jasper Cillessen in goal and Ajax controlled for the win.

In the early Sunday match, Feyenoord shared the points with Roda JC in Kerkrade in a 1-1 draw. Roda were dangerous on the counter attack, although it was the Rotterdammers that took the lead after twenty minutes of play. The 6ft 4inch Michiel Kramer notched his second goal of the campaign, nodding home a Rick Karsdorp cross. The lead did not last long as Hicham Faik took advantage of some poor placement by Kenneth Vermeer to float an easy free-kick into the net to tie the game up. The second half did not bring anymore goals.

Ron Jans’ PEC Zwolle also came from behind to maintain their undefeated start to the new campaign with a 2-1 win over ADO Den Haag. Japanese international striker Mike Havanaar put Henk Fraser’s men ahead on 35 minutes and held the lead until twenty minutes to go when Sheraldo Becker levelled the game up with a wonderful chipped effort from right-wing.

Becker then provided the ball for powerhouse striker Lars Veldwijk to surge through the Den Haag defence to score the winner. The big forward, on loan from Nottingham Forest, has now scored six goals this season after an unsuccessful campaign last year in England.

Willem II claimed a 3-1 victory at home to FC Utrecht. Erik Falkenburg nodded home a Lucas Andersen cross to open the scoring on 26 minutes and things got worse for the visitors when Sébastien Haller received a red card for kicking out at Sander van der Streek. Erik ten Hag’s team talk inspired Utrecht to level the game up within three minutes of the restart with a Nacer Barazite goal.

However, the game was not level for long, as five minutes later Utrecht left-back Louis Nganioni deflected Van der Streek’s cross into his own net. Man of the match, Lucas Andersen and Robbie Haemhouts combined to wrap up the game with twenty to go to give Willem II their first win of the season.

FC Twente are still without a permanent head coach and a win after a goal-less draw at SC Cambuur.

In Friday night’s game, N.E.C. Nijmegen claimed a 2-0 win over the struggling sc Heerenveen. Venezuelan international Christian Santos scored both goals as Dwight Lodeweges’ in feeling the pressure at Heerenveen, who have now gone five games without a win since their opening day victory over De Graafschap.

In Sunday’s final two games, Vitesse defeated De Graafschap 3-0 while FC Groningen beat AZ Alkmaar by 2-0.

The Arnhem side made short work of the Eredivisie newcomers as they lead 2-0 after just over twenty minutes of play. Georgian pair Guram Kashia and Valeri Qazaishvili notched the first two goals before 19-year-old Albanian striker Milot Rashica grabbed his first goal for the club on 73 minutes to finish the scoring.

Edwin van der Looi’s Groningen climbed into the top ten with the win over John van der Brom’s AZ. Summer signing Bryan Linssen and young substitute Mimoun Mahi grabbed the goals.

RESULTS

Friday 18th September

N.E.C. Nijmegen 2-0 sc Heerenveen

Saturday 19th September

SC Cambuur 0-0 FC Twente

Heracles 2-1 PSV

PEC Zwolle 2-1 ADO Den Haag

Willem II 3-1 FC Utrecht

Sunday 20th September

Roda JC 1-1 Feyenoord

Excelsior 0-2 Ajax

Vitesse 3-0 De Graafschap

FC Groningen 2-0 AZ Alkmaar

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Eredivisie Team Of The Week – Round 5

Header-TeamOfTheWeek

Welcome to week five of our Eredivisie Team of the Week which leads into our Eredivisie ‘Player of the Season’ competition.  All players have performed so well this weekend that Martijn Hilhorst and Will Burns have decided they should be in our team of the week.  Each player in the eleven receives one point and whichever player is declared ‘Player of the Week’, he receives an extra point.

TeamOfTheWeek-5

GOALKEEPER

KENNETH VERMEER – FEYENOORD: Deserved clean sheet that protected all three points for Feyenoord against an persistent Willem II side.

DEFENDERS

SANTIAGO ARIAS – PSV: The Colombian faces a tough test against former team-mate Memphis Depay on Tuesday night but he prepared superbly in the 6-0 win over Cambuur with an assist.

SEAN KLAIBER – FC UTRECHT: Commanding display at right-back in Utrecht’s 2-1 win over Vitesse. Great attacking outing.

TIMO LETSCHERT – FC UTRECHT: The big central defender was untroubled by Vitesse in Utrecht’s excellent 2-1 win over Vitesse.

RAJKO BREŽANČIĆ – FC TWENTE: Great debut from Twente’s new Serbian left-back and a great goal to match in a 2-2 draw with Ajax.

MIDFIELDERS

REICHEDLY BAZOER – AJAX: The youngster improves with every outing and was influential in Ajax’s comeback against FC Twente.

MARKUS HENRIKSEN – AZ ALKMAAR: Two quick fire goals for AZ in their first win of the season over De Graafschap.

HAKIM ZIYECH – FC TWENTE: The playmaker notched a spot-kick and was an constant thorn in Ajax’s side in Twente’s 2-2 draw.

ATTACKERS

LARS VELDWIJK – PEC ZWOLLE: The loanee from Nottingham Forest notched a hat-trick in Zwolle’s 3-0 win over Excelsior which makes him our PLAYER OF THE WEEK.

LUUK DE JONG – PSV: The big target man will not get an easier hat-trick than he did in the first-half against SC Cambuur on Sunday. Took all three goals well.

JÜRGEN LOCADIA – PSV: The youngster seems to have patch things up with coach Philip Cocu and scored twice after coming off the bench in PSV’s 6-0 demolition of Cambuur.

Click here to see the ‘Player of the Season’ standings.

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EREDIVISIE REPORT: WEEK 5

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WEEK FIVE – 12TH-13TH SEPTEMBER 2015

Ajax slip up away to Twente as PSV thump Cambuur to make up some ground on the Amsterdammers – Will Burns is here with the full round-up of week five in the Eredivisie.

Ajax were forced to fight back from a two-goal deficit to earn a point away to FC Twente in Enschede on Saturday evening.

The hosts looking for their first win of the campaign took the lead after 19 minutes of play through a well worked corner between Hakim Ziyech and Felipe Gutiérrez. Ziyech forcefully hit a low pass into the area that daunted the Amsterdammers defence and the Chilean midfielder was alert to collect the ball and smash home past Jasper Cillessen.

Ajax, who host Scottish champions Celtic on Thursday night in their first Europa League group stage clash, were poor in front of goal, and were unable to grab the equaliser before Twente doubled their lead. Again from a corner, Twente caused danger in the visitor’s area and Jerson Cabral fired a shot towards goal. Ajax midfielder Nemanja Gudelj leant forward into the way of the oncoming shot and the ball ricocheted off the Serbian hand and out for another corner. However, referee Pol van Boekel spotted the handball and awarded a penalty much to Gudelj’s chagrin. The confident Ziyech stepped up and floated the spot-kick down the middle to add further insult to Cillessen after a shocking week in the internationals this past week for the goalkeeper.

Frank de Boer urged his men forward but looked to have no ‘plan B’ and rarely threatened Twente goalkeeper Joël Drommel with long range drives. The young stopper, aged only 18, was making his first professional start in Dutch football.

Looking at his side’s lacklustre display in front of goal, De Boer replaced Arek Milik for young Dane Viktor Fischer and within minutes of being on the field, Ajax had a goal back. Midfielder Riechedly Bazoer spotted Fischer’s run into the area and lofted a wonderful ball over the top of the Twente defence. The Danish international ran on and hit a wonderful first time side-footed sliding volley into the corner of Drommel’s goal as the keeper was forced to be just an onlooker.  It was 2-1 after 65 minutes and Ajax had gained some confidence which kept Twente in their own half for the majority of the remainder.

As time drew on however, Drommel’s dream debut turned into a nightmare. Another substitute Yaya Sanogo, who had been very vocal midweek about the lack of action he is seeing at Ajax, ran through away from goal and after the ball looked dead, Drommel stretched out and brought the Frenchman down in the area. Van Boekel pointed to the spot and Gudelj made amends for his earlier error and levelled the game up with ten minutes to go. It was a poor performance from De Boer’s men who will have to vastly improved midweek as they start their Europa League venture.

Defending champions PSV Eindhoven demolished ten-man SC Cambuur with a six goal thumping which lifts Phillip Cocu’s men up to fourth in the table. After a poor display against Vitesse before the international break, Cambuur goalkeeper Leonard Nienhuis was dropped to the bench for Harm Zeinstra by coach Henk de Jong. Zeinstra, unfortunately for him, was dropped into a baptism of fire as Cocu’s men were ruthless in front of goal, in particular Luuk de Jong.

The opening goal came with controversy which resulted in Cambuur having to deal with having only ten men on the pitch after just eight minutes. Mexican midfielder Andrés Guardado shot from the edge of the area after Zeinstra had made a good save from a De Jong effort and referee Kevin Blom had adjudged that Sander van de Streek had blocked the Mexican’s effort with his hand. Van de Streek protested but Blom pointed to the spot and dished out the red card to the Cambuur defender. Video replays were indecisive but De Jong coolly stepped up and sent Zeinstra the wrong way to give PSV the 1-0 advantage.

Three minutes later, De Jong grabbed his second goal to make it 2-0. After some great combination passing from Guardado and Maxime Lestienne on the left wing, it resulted in the Belgian whipping a cross over for the big striker to easily power through the aerial challenge of Vytautas Andriuškevičius and double PSV’s lead.

De Jong claimed his hat-trick before half-time tapping home after Zeinstra had blocked Luciano Narsingh’s effort which fell into the striker feet before crossing the line. The game was over for Cambuur at the half-time whistle, the question left in the match was how many were PSV going to win by?

Davy Pröpper notched his first goal for club on 56 minutes after right-back Santiago Arias found some space on the right to pull the ball back into the midfielder’s path on the edge of the area. Philip Cocu and Jürgen Locadia seemed to have patched things up as the young forward scored the final two goals after coming on mid-way through the second half. He hit a powerful low free-kick on 74 minutes and nodded home an excellent cross from Arias with just a minute to go to complete the scoring.

Even with the man advantage it was an impressive display from the PSV ahead of beginning life in the Champions’ League group stages, their first appearance since 2008. Hosting Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United along with keeping former star Memphis Depay at bay is their first task to meet head on this coming Tuesday night.

On Sunday, Feyenoord escaped with a narrow 1-0 win over Willem II at De Kuip. Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side failed to breach Kostas Lamprou’s goal until Eljero Elia notched a 67th minute winner just minutes after replacing Bilal Başaçıkoğlu as a substitute.

De Jong’s hat-trick was the only treble on Saturday night as Lars Veldwijk scored all three of PEC Zwolle’s  goals against Excelsior in a 3-0 win that keeps Ron Jans’ side undefeated this season. It could have been an even bigger win if Excelsior stopper Filip Kurto had not kept out a Stef Nijland penalty late on. The Rotterdam side lost their discipline deep into the second half seeing two red cards shown to Sander Fischer and Tom van Weert which may hurt their hopes next week against Ajax.

AZ Alkmaar gained their first win of the season in a 3-1 away win at rock bottom De Graafschap who still awaits their first points of the campaign. Serbian defender Rajko Brežančić notched AZ’s first on his debut after a wicked deflection off De Graafschap’s Robin Pröpper floated the ball over keeper Hidde Jurjus. The hosts pulled level just before half-time through an excellent goal from Nathaniel Will, but a quick fire double from Norwegian midfielder Markus Henriksen handed AZ the victory and hopefully a turning point for coach John van der Brom to build on.

FC Groningen romped to a great 3-1 home win over Dwight Lodeweges’ sc Heerenveen. Danny Hoesen gave the hosts a first minute lead and Bryan Linssen made it 2-0 after 16 minutes. Swedish midfielder Simon Thern gave Heerenveen a lifeline with twenty minutes remaning but Mimoun Mahi made the points secure before the whistle.

High-flying Heracles are still in second place after a narrow 1-0 win away to ADO Den Haag thanks to a Wout Weghorst goal, his fourth of the season.

FC Utrecht climb up to seventh after an impressive 2-1 win over Vitesse on Sunday afternoon. Willem Janssen gave Utrecht the lead before Guram Kashia grabbed an equaliser four minutes later for the Arnhem outfit. Peter Bosz side pressed for the winning goal but Bart Ramselaar cemented the points for Utrecht early in the second half.

In a battle of the newly promoted sides, Roda JC drew 0-0 with N.E.C. Nijmegen on Saturday evening.

RESULTS

Saturday 12th September

De Graafschap 1-3 AZ Alkmaar

Roda JC 0-0 N.E.C. Nijmegen

FC Twente 2-2 Ajax

SC Cambuur 0-6 PSV

PEC Zwolle 3-0 Excelsior

Sunday 13th September

FC Groningen 3-1 sc Heerenveen

Feyenoord 1-0 Willem II

ADO Den Haag 0-1 Heracles

FC Utrecht 2-1 Vitesse

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EREDIVISIE REPORT: WEEK 4

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WEEK FOUR – 28TH-30TH AUGUST 2015

Ajax still march on as PSV score a great win against rivals Feyenoord – Will Burns is here with the full rundown of week four in the Eredivisie.

Continuing their perfect start, Ajax head into the international break with four wins out of four and yet to concede a goal after Sunday’s 4-0 win over ADO Den Haag at the Amsterdam ArenA. Davy Klaassen and Anwar El Ghazi combined to notch the first two goals with Klaassen creating for El Ghazi to score the first goal with the latter repaying the favour minutes later to make it 2-0.

Frank de Boer’s side extended their lead through Joel Veltman nodding home a great ball from Nemanja Gudelj. El Ghazi finished a great ball from Arek Milik with just 15 minutes to go to complete the scoring.

Philip Cocu’s PSV climbed up to fifth with a 3-1 win over the previously undefeated Feyenoord, even though the Rotterdammers took an early lead. After just four minutes of play, PSV defender Jeffrey Bruma inadvertently slid Bilal Başaçıkoğlu’s cross into his own net to give the visitors the lead. Weary of the PSV counter attack, Feyenoord sat back and defended well until the 36th minute when Davy Pröpper lofted a wonderful ball over the Feyenoord back line for Belgian winger Maxime Lestienne to run onto and fire in his first goal for the club.

PSV dominated from there on in and after the break grabbed the lead through Colombian international right-back Santiago Arias before Jürgen Locadia converted a late penalty after Eljero Elia was adjudged to have brought down Pröpper in the area to give the defending champions the 3-1 victory.

Alfred Schreuder was dismissed by FC Twente on Sunday morning after his side fell to another defeat, this time at the hands of their common rivals, the high-flying Heracles on Saturday night. The Polman Stadion was jumping and the hosts gained the lead on 14 minutes through Iliass Bel Hassani before Wout Weghorst cemented the points fifteen minutes from time.

Earlier on Saturday, sc Heerenveen were held to a draw at home by PEC Zwolle regardless of taking an early the lead through Swedish winger Sam Larsson. On-loan striker Lars Veldwijk grabbed the equaliser getting on the end of a Sheraldo Becker’s cross on 59 minutes and game finished tied at 1-1.

FC Utrecht grabbed an impressive 2-0 win over FC Groningen as Edwin van de Looi’s side continue their poor start to the new campaign. Bart Ramselaar opened the scoring after half an hour from Sebastien Haller’s pass before Timo Letschert secured the points in stoppage time as Utrecht moved up to 10th and climbed above Groningen in the process. Groningen have now just four points from the opening four games.

Propping the table up are De Graafschap, who stay rock bottom after slumping to a 3-0 defeat to Excelsior. This was the first win of the campaign for Fons Groenendijk’s men with Sander Fischer, Bradley Kuwas and Daryl van Mieghem providing the goals as De Graafschap still search for their first points of the season.

Promoted Roda celebrated their third win of the campaign after they clinched a great away victory at AZ Alkmaar. New signing Rostyn Griffiths notched from a corner in the 36th minute to score the only goal of the game.

Vitesse’s loan star Lewis Baker started the Arnhem’s side rout in the second minute by converting a penalty against SC Cambuur. Abiola Dauda, Guram Kashia and Dominic Solanke, also on loan for the season from Chelsea, also netted in a 4-1 victory for Vitesse.

Willem II‘s miserable start to the campaign continued as they were defeated by N.E.C. Nijmegen by 1-0 in the Friday night game. Things are not clicking for Jurgen Streppel and his men and they feel to a Navarone Foor goal midway through the second half that proved to be the only goal of the game.

RESULTS

Friday 28th August

Willem II 0-1 N.E.C.

Saturday 29th August

FC Utrecht 2-0 FC Groningen

sc Heerenveen 1-1 PEC Zwolle

Excelsior 3-0 De Graafschap

Heracles 2-0 FC Twente

Sunday 30th August

Ajax 4-0 ADO Den Haag

AZ Alkmaar 0-1 Roda JC

Vitesse 4-1 SC Cambuur

PSV 3-1 Feyenoord

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