Tag Archives: Feyenoord

Man Utd sink as Vilhena vindicates Feyenoord to victory

A shock win for Gio van Bronckhorst’s Feyenoord over Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United on Thursday night gave the Rotterdammers the perfect start to this season’s European adventure reports Steven Davies.

THURSDAY 14TH SEPTEMBER 2016

UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE – GROUP STAGE

FEYENOORD 1-0 MANCHESTER UNITED

A single strike from Feyenoord playmaker, Tonny Vilhena saw the Rotterdam giants record a memorable victory over a poor Manchester United side in Group A of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening.

Despite the fact that, due to previous issues regarding crowd trouble during their last UEFA Europa League campaign and in particular over the two legged knock-out tie with Roma in February 2015, Feyenoord were forced to reduce the capacity of their imposing home, employ considerably more stewards and erect a 10 metre high catch net around the playing surface, little could dampen the raucous atmosphere generated for the visit of one of the world’s biggest clubs to Rotterdam – evoking memories of Feyenoord’s glorious past when the continent’s biggest and best were annual visitors to De Kuip.

Despite their illustrious history, the UEFA Europa League (or the UEFA Cup as it was previously known) is one trophy Manchester United have never won – something their hosts have on two occasions, with their most recent triumph in the competition coming under Bert van Marwijk in 2002.

Yet, any thought of winning the competition for Jose Mourinho’s men was most definitely put on the back burner – the Manchester United coach opting to rest a slew of first choice players for the game in Rotterdam, having previously stated an intention of operating two separate teams in an effort to balance the rigors of domestic and continental competition during the first half of the campaign.

Being able to rotate a squad and yet field a side that included names such as Juan Mata, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford was a luxury that Feyenoord coach, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst couldn’t afford – the home side fielding ten of the eleven that dispatched ADO Den Haag at the weekend to maintain Feyenoord’s 100% start to the Eredivisie season as Terence Kongolo returned at the expense of Lucas Woudenberg.

By contrast, the visitors came into the tie off the back of a disappointing home defeat at the hands of their cross-city rivals and had a point to prove to their new manager – who won the competition as coach of Porto in 2003.

But it was the home side who came out of the blocks first – Steven Berghuis testing the handling of United ‘keeper, David de Gea from the edge of the area in the 11th minute before Tonny Vilhena attempted a speculator from similar range on the quarter hour. The visitors replied by troubling de Gea’s opposite number, Brad Jones with a tame Paul Pogba free kick a minute later.

Despite mounting pressure from the hosts, it was the visitors who carved out the best chance of the half when Matteo Darmian broke free down the left and squared for Anthony Martial who skewed a right footed effort from the edge of the area inches wide of Jones’ left hand post with 24 minutes on the clock.

A game of cat and mouse ensued as the second half began – both sides exchanging long range efforts that only served to trouble the ten foot high catch nets encircling the playing surface..

Any suggestion that Mourinho was content with the situation was dispelled when the United boss made a triple change just after the hour – introducing Ibrahimovic, Memphis and Young in the hope of taking all three points back to Manchester.

However, it was a Feyenoord substitute that would fashion the first effort to pose any real danger in the second stanza – Bilal Basacikoglu getting free down the right and firing a low drive that had de Gea scurrying to cover his left hand post with 73 minutes gone.

Having replaced Watford loanee, Steven Berghuis – who had lost the early spark that had driven the home side forward during the first period – the 21-year-old took it upon himself to reignite a contest whose embers had previously begun to flicker and fade.

With eleven minutes remaining, Basacikoglu again found time and space down the right and played in Nicolai Jorgensen who broke the United offside trap and squared for Vilhena who side-footed the ball past de Gea from just inside the area to give the Rotterdam giants a lead their first half play had merited.

Rocked by the goal, the visitors continued to huff and puff thereafter but their star-studded line up ultimately fashioned little to trouble Feyenoord’s Australian stopper, Jones – an Ibrahimovic free kick from just outside the area which was well held by the Feyenoord glovesman as the game entered added time being the best the men from Manchester could muster as Feyenoord added another chapter to their illustrious history in European club competition while in the process maintaining their 100% start to the season with a top of the table clash with PSV in Eindhoven next up for the league leaders on Sunday afternoon.

Man of the Match: Eric Botteghin

 

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Eredivisie Team Of The Week – Round 4

Header-TeamOfTheWeek

Here is round four 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-4

GOALKEEPER

MICKEY VAN DER HART – PEC ZWOLLE: If Zwolle did not have the former Ajax youth keeper in goal on Saturday evening, the 1-0 loss to Heerenveen could have been a lot, lot worse.

DEFENDERS

RICK KARSDORP – FEYENOORD: Excellent performance by the 21-year-old in the Rotterdam derby against Excelsior.

HECTOR MORENO – PSV: He makes our team of the week for the second week in a row. The Mexican was again a leader at the back and a threat up top.

ROBIN GOSENS – HERACLES: An first goal for the club, strong in defence with a 100% passing succession rate vs. ADO in a 1-1 draw.

RIDGECIANO HAPS – AZ ALKMAAR: Second week in a row that Haps has been selected in our TOTW. A great performance with a clean sheet in the 2-0 win over NEC.

MIDFIELDERS

HAKIM ZIYECH – FC TWENTE: Linked with a move away from Enschede and he notched two goals in possibly his last game in the Twente shirt.

DAVY KLAASSEN – AJAX: Davy lands our Player of the Week award leading Ajax to a much needed win over Go Ahead with two goals.

NEMANJA GUDELJ – AJAX: Scorer of a wonderful free-kick in the 3-0 away victory against Go Ahead.

ATTACKERS

STEVEN BERGHUIS – FEYENOORD: A commanding performance with an assist in the 4-1 win over Excelsior on his first start for Feyenoord.

DIRK KUYT – FEYENOORD: Notched a brace in the four goal turnaround against Excelsior.

FRED FRIDAY – AZ ALKMAAR: The Nigerian striker would have bagged his first goal this weekend but was ruled offside. Despite that, he played an important part in the 2-0 victory over NEC.

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

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Eredivisie Team Of The Week – Round 3

Header-TeamOfTheWeek

Here is round three 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-3

GOALKEEPER

KOSTAS LAMPROU – WILLEM II: Kept Ajax at bay in his side’s shock 2-1 win at the Amsterdam arena.

DEFENDERS

SANTIAGO ARIAS – PSV: Inspirational in PSV’s 4-0 thumping away to PEC Zwolle.

TERENCE KONGOLO – FEYENOORD: The top performer at the back for Feyenoord, collecting their third clean sheet in a row away to Heracles.

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.

RIDGECIANO HAPS – AZ ALKMAAR: The 23-year-old was tight at the back and great going forward in AZ’s 2-1 victory in Utrecht.

MIDFIELDERS

ERIK FALKENBURG – WILLEM II: The creator of the all important equalizer for Willem II in their first ever away victory over Ajax in their history.

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.

JORRIT HENDRIX – PSV: A beast in the midfield, defending the back four and pulling the strings in attack.

ATTACKERS

LEWIS BAKER – VITESSE: Notched a great goal in the narrow 1-0 win over Roda.

LUUK DE JONG – PSV: Big Luuk finally notched his first goal of the season against Zwolle and provided an assist to earn his spot in the Team of the Week.

ENAS UNAL – FC TWENTE: Flawless. The Manchester City loanee was the standout performer of the weekend, notching a hat-trick to claim the PLAYER OF THE WEEK award.

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

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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

Header-TeamOfTheWeek

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 Team Of The Week – Round 1

Header-TeamOfTheWeek

Welcome to week one 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-1

GOALKEEPER

ELOY ROOM – VITESSE: A Fran Sol goal was the only thing that spoiled the fantastic outing for Eloy Room in his side’s 4-1 away win to Edwin van de Looi’s Willem II.

DEFENDERS

GIOVANNI TROUPEE – FC UTRECHT: At only 18, on his first start for Utrecht, the attacking Troupee was very impressive, defending well and forcing Jetro Willems into some difficult decisions.

ERIC BOTTEGHIN – FEYENOORD: FC Groningen rarely threatened due to Botteghin’s defensive play and great reading of the game.

DANIEL SCHWAAB – PSV: A solid performance from the experienced German that may force PSV fans to ask ‘Jeffrey who?’

LUCAS WOUDENBERG – FEYENOORD: Another youngster that impressed and deserving of claiming the left-back spot in the TOTW.

MIDFIELDERS

DAVY PROPPER – PSV: Lead the midfield to inspire a PSV comeback against a plucky FC Utrecht side in the 2-1 win.

TONNY VILHENA – FEYENOORD: Dominant performance in midfield and bagged himself a goal in the 5-0 demolition of FC Groningen.

DALEY SINKGRAVEN – AJAX: Finally looked settled in the Amsterdammers line-up and provided a great goal to give Ajax the lead in the 3-1 away win against newly promoted Sparta.

ATTACKERS

MITCHELL VAN BERGEN – VITESSE: Did anyone forget this kid is only 16 years old when watching him on Saturday?

NICOLAI JORGENSEN – FEYENOORD: A great performance for the Danish international in his league debut since his move from FC Copenhagen. Capped off with a goal.

ELJERO ELIA – FEYENOORD: The former Southampton winger notched a hat-trick and deserves the PLAYER OF THE WEEK award. Not even a dislocated finger could stop him on Sunday.

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

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EREDIVISIE REPORT: Week One

 

Header-EredivisieReport

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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EREDIVISIE PREVIEW: Antepost Betting Tips

This article is produced in association with HeaderBlue

The Eredivisie season kicks off this Friday night and Will Burns is on hand with his thoughts on the nine months ahead.

The people of Eindhoven were worshipping De Graafschap on the final day of the season back in May, as the Superboeren prevented Ajax winning their 34th Eredivisie championship title. This campaign, the 60th anniversary of the Dutch top flight, will struggle to repeat a memorable story to match last season’s climax but Philip Cocu will not be complaining as I see them retaining the league title for the third consecutive year a lot easier than last.

Again for the big two, it has proven a summer of departures as PSV has lost Jeffrey Bruma to Wolfsburg while Maxine Lestienne and Marco van Ginkel have returned to their parent clubs after a season long loan deals. However, Cocu has completed a great piece of business and re-strengthened the defence with experienced German stopper Daniel Schwaab on a free from Stuttgart. Rumours are afoot that Jetro Willems and Jeroen Zoet could leave before the window closes at the end of the month but PSV have suitable back-up in Simon Poulsen and Joshua Brenet at the left-back position, while Hidde Jurjus has been recruited from De Graafschap for in-between the sticks. In addition, the money pot is bursting at the seams if Cocu wishes to restore some quality to the squad. Will this be the year that Steven Bergwijn is unleashed on the Eredivisie? If you have not heard the name… you will by the end of the year!

For Ajax, this season will all be about rebuilding as they have undergone major changes over the last three months and look to be slap bang in the middle of a transitional period. Frank de Boer has been replaced by former Vitesse boss Peter Bosz as first-teamers Arek Milik, Ricardo van Rhijn, Viktor Fischer and Mike van der Hoorn have followed out of the door. Bosz will be relying on youth to step up the plate and the Amsterdammers have plenty in defence to cover but attacking options are thin. Again, like the reigning champions, they have plenty in the coffers to recruit – time will tell if they will. For their leader Bosz, I fail to see him inspiring this Ajax side to honours over the next nine months.

The side I see challenging the closest for PSV’s crown this year is Feyenoord led by former Rangers, Arsenal and Barcelona defender Giovanni van Bronckhorst. Extending the stay of Dirk Kuyt was the best piece of the business this summer and the additions of Watford’s Steven Berghuis and Danish winger Nicolai Jørgensen has bolstered the creativity in attack with Lex Immers leaving for Cardiff seen as the only real casualty. The Rotterdammers have been way overvalued in the betting markets and I really think they could pip Ajax to second place. Get on Feyenoord each-way at SkyBet at a massive 12/1.

Until the window closes all three have potential to work on their squads but it looks like PSV look best equipped to retain the shield for the three-peat best priced with 888Sport at 5/4 and I envisage Luuk de Jong clinching the Golden Boot now that the Dutch goal-machine Vincent Janssen has crossed the North Sea to join Tottenham. De Jong is a short price but rightly so at 5/6 with 10Bet.

If you are looking for an each-way bet in the goalscoring stakes, Janssen’s replacement at AZ Alkmaar, Wout Weghorst is priced up at 14/1 with Unibet.

TIPS

PSV to win Eredivisie title (5PTS placed on 2.25 at 888Sport)

Feyenoord to win Eredivisie title (1PT Each-way on 13.00 at SkyBet)

Luuk de Jong Eredivisie top scorer (2.5PTS placed on 1.83 at 10Bet)

Wout Weghorst Eredivisie top scorer (1PT Each-way placed on 15.00 at Unibet)

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PSV capture first silverware of the season

Reigning Eredivisie champions, PSV Eindhoven secured the first silverware of the 2016/17 campaign with a narrow 1-0 victory over KNVB Beker winners, Feyenoord to lift the Johan Cruijff Schaal on Sunday 31st July at the Amsterdam ArenA reports Steven Davies.

An, at times, tempestuous first half began with Andres Guardado striking new signing Par Hansson’s crossbar with the Swedish stopper beaten after just five minutes and the reigning Eredivisie champions found plenty of joy from swift counter attacks throughout the first stanza.

Mexican international, Guardado edged ahead of his playmaking counterpart, Tonny Vilhena as Feyenoord were progressively forced to resort to long, hopeful balls into the PSV area as the half wore on.

It came as little surprise when, with 29 minutes on the clock and PSV enjoying the majority of possession, Jorrit Hendrix forced his way into the Feyenoord box and was brought down by El Ahmadi. Yet, despite 32 goals in all competitions last term, Luuk de Jong surprising sent his penalty attempt wayward – the ball shaving the bar on its way into orbit.

Tempers flared thereafter as an innocuous coming together between Isimat-Mirin and Toornstra resulted in handbags being thrown and yellow cards dished out to Toornstra and Jetro Willems respectively.

PSV were now well and truly in the ascendancy and minutes after a Pereiro shot had been screwed narrowly wide from a ball from the right a similar ball into the Feyenoord box saw an attempted clearance scuffed and Davy Propper flash a daisy cutter through a cluster of legs and into the far corner of Hansson’s net with the keeper rooted to the spot to give PSV a deserved 38th minute lead.

Cup winners, Feyenoord came out for the second half with purpose and, in a frenetic few minutes just after the restart, Vilhena drew a point blank save from PSV stopper, Jeroen Zoet before Toornstra fired over from close range.

Feyenoord chased the game throughout but looked increasingly unlikely to break PSV’s stranglehold on the game. New signing, Nicolai Jorgensen cut an increasingly frustrated figure up front, as did the rest of Feyenoord’s attacking trio and the Danish marksman was replaced by Michiel Kramer with a quarter of an hour left on the clock – their best opportunity falling to a defender, as a Botteghin header was cleared off the line after 57 minutes.

Despite having the majority of possession in the second period, Feyenoord found clean cut chances hard to come by and it was PSV who instead threatened to add to their lead: first, through Locadia who curled the ball just wide of Hansson’s left hand post after 54 minutes and then, with just a minute of normal time remaining, Jetro Willems was denied from point blank range by the Dane after being put through one-on-one with the keeper.

However, these missed opportunities did not come back to haunt the reigning Eredivisie champions who retained the Johan Cruijff Schaal for the second year in succession following their 3-0 victory over Groningen in the same fixture last season.

Man of the Match: Andres Guardado (PSV Eindhoven)

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Could Tonny Vilhena be ready to call Sunderland, Bournemouth or Southampton home?

Although the Dutch are not going to be at the European championships this summer, there is still a lot of very talented players coming through and several of them will be targets for European clubs this window. The three big names that I expect to be attracting interest are Anwar El Ghazi, Jetro Willems and Tonny Vilhena. In this article, I’ll be concentrating on Vilhena, who could leave this window, due to his contract wrangle with Feyenoord at the moment. He looks set to leave the club with Giovanni van Bronckhurst admitting that much recently writes Jake Jackman.

The types of clubs that have been linked with Tonny Vilhena aren’t the biggest, despite his undoubted potential. Sunderland, AFC Bournemouth and Southampton have been credited with an interest in the attacking midfielder, but none of these sides are in the greatest health at the moment, which might lead to Vilhena leaving it until the summer to move. Ronald Koeman has spoken out about his interest in the player he managed for a period at Feyenoord and that could be the best fit for him, as it’s unlikely that either Eddie Howe or Sam Allardyce know the midfielder’s game as well as Koeman does. Although the English media believe that Sunderland are the favourites to sign him, Allardyce’s treatment of Jeremain Lens could leave Vilhena with doubts about moving to the North East, especially considering the club’s perilous league position.

Vilhena has hardly had a great contribution to Feyenoord’s season to date, only starting in three Eredivisie matches, but he did manage to score in the club’s last two fixtures before the winter break. The midfielder has two goals and two assists this season, with a goal involvement every 107.8 minutes, which is a very good return and begs the question why he hasn’t been used more. He is best served as a number ten, which is a possible that Feyenoord haven’t always used this season and this may be part of his reason for leaving.

The Feyenoord midfielder is attacking minded, which is why he has struggled to break into the side this season as he can be lazy defensively when used as part of a midfield three. His best position is as a number ten, with his movement being one of the major strengths to his game. He knows when to stay deep and when to make surging runs into the box. He is also an excellent finisher with both his feet and his head. As expected from a Dutch youth international, Vilhena is very good when passing the football, with the ability to play defence-splitting passes.

In a period of precariousness for Dutch football, Vilhena will have a great belief in his ability to be a big part of the future. There remain doubts about his attitude after he was involved in a bust up with team-mate Miquel Nelom in recent times. Feyenoord may be even keener to do a deal for the midfielder this month as he is obviously looking for a move, and that won’t have a good impact on the overall morale of the squad. Feyenoord have a very good chance of achieving something this season as they are only two points off PSV in second and five off Ajax, after a good first half of the season.

I think Vilhena is a very talented individual, who is struggling to push on, which is why he is trying to move to another club. He has the ability to play in the Premier League and he will take a lot of confidence from the way Gini Wijnaldum has settled into the league. Although he is nowhere near as complete as Wijnaldum, they are similar players and that will be the level Vilhena is trying to hit in the next few years. Southampton would be the best fit for him, if that deal can be salvaged. If he goes to Sunderland as is being rumoured by some media outlets, that move could do more damage than good for his career long term as Allardyce isn’t known for being a fan of players like Vilhena.

 

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Are Feyenoord finally the real deal?

Feyenoord captain, Dirk Kuyt thumped the ball past the club’s former goalkeeper, Erwin Mulder, to put the Rotterdam giants 5-0 up against a hapless Heerenveen side; in the process, adding another hat trick in an already bountiful goal-scoring career. Just 39 minutes of the first half had elapsed at the Abe Lenstra Stadion on 18 October 2015, as Kuyt wheeled away to receive the congratulations of his jubilant team mates, in front of a disbelieving home crowd writes Steven Davies.

After the match, a resounding 5-2 victory for De Stadionclub, which left Feyenoord lying second behind rivals, Ajax on goal difference after nine matches, the 35-year-old, Kuyt was bullish when questioned by the media about the club’s title chances, telling De Telegraaf, “Of course we want to be successful. We fight hard every week and will see at the end of the journey how real the chance of a prize is.”

“We are in good shape after nine matches, but this is just the beginning. We are joined with Ajax at the top and it is wonderful to see how the team handles it. This is a totally new situation for the club. It’s been quite a long time since Feyenoord was top.”

The veteran marksman avoided referencing the burden of expectancy that weighs heavily upon the shoulders of everyone associated with the third most successful club in the Netherlands; Feyenoord having been crowned national champions on fourteen occasions, trailing only PSV (22) and Ajax (33) in this regard. Yet, notwithstanding their illustrious history, 16 years have elapsed since the Rotterdam giants’ last lifted the Eredivisie title in 1999 and, as such, pressure and unrealistic expectations have become a fact of life at De Kuip.

Surprisingly, Feyenoord are actually the last Dutch team to achieve continental success; Bert van Marwijk’s side having secured the UEFA Cup by overcoming Borussia Dortmund on a famous night in De Kuip in 2002. During those heady days around the turn of the century, you would have been hard pressed to find anybody associated with the Rotterdam club who could have envisioned then the remarkable drought (save for a lone KNVB Beker triumph in 2008) that would ensue thereafter.

Yet it was this ‘golden period’ of success that very nearly set the club on the road to ruin.

In 1998, with the club well on their way to securing its’ fourteenth national championship, the FIOD-ECD (Fiscal Information and Investigation Service/Economic Investigation Service) visited Feyenoord because of suspected fraud associated with the signings of Aurelio Vidmar, Christian Gyan and Patrick Allotey. This became an ongoing scandal with Chairman, Jorien van den Herik, the main suspect. Both Feyenoord and van den Herik were found to be not guilty in 2002 and, despite a later appeal, after three years of investigations, the initial ruling was upheld in 2005.

This off-field turmoil would prove to be only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

The following year, the club’s supporters saw their two star players leave De Kuip for Chelsea (Salomon Kalou) and Liverpool (Dirk Kuyt) respectively. Meanwhile, it was revealed that Feyenoord were teetering on the brink of financial oblivion despite earlier claims to the contrary by van den Herik. Supporters’ unrest quickly turned to anger and, following continued and vociferous protests, van den Herik resigned.

Following the departure of van den Herik, a new board set up Youth Investment Funds which encouraged investors to effectively purchase a stake in the talent being developed at the club. However, initially, most players failed to live up to their early promise and left De Kuip as free agents while others were sold for far less than the club had initially hoped which left the Rotterdam giants owing even greater debts to the investors. The scheme would only bear fruit some years later with the sales of the likes of Stefan de Vrij, Bruno Martins Indi and Luc Castaignos, after all players in the Academy, from U15’s up to the U19’s had become included in the initiative which generated millions of euros in investment in a succession of talented generations of players, from the transfer of which, investors received a cut of 18.33%.

On the field meanwhile, by the summer of 2007, the club, having hired and fired both Ruud Gullit and Erwin Koeman following the departure of Bert van Marwijk to Borussia Dortmund in 2004, had parachuted in legendary coach, Leo Beenhakker, in its time of need towards the end of the 2006-07 campaign. However, despite the efforts of the man who had helmed the club to its fourteenth and last national championship in 1999, it was all for nought as Feyenoord missed out on European qualification for the first time in 16 years following an unthinkable 7th place finish. The club also suffered the ignominy of having been thrown out of the UEFA Cup following hooliganism prior to and during a match with AS Nancy earlier in the year. Would-be last 16 opponents, Tottenham, received a bye after the Court of Arbitration upheld UEFA’s decision to eject Feyenoord from the tournament and fined the club £40,000.

The return of van Marwijk the following season, heralded a renewed optimism at the club as Feyenoord also made a number of high-profile signings, including Dutch internationals, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Roy Makaay. However, despite keeping pace with eventual champions PSV at the top of the table until a crucial showdown at De Kuip just prior to the winter break went the visitors way, the New Year brought little cheer as Feyenoord’s form dipped alarmingly resulting in an eventual sixth place finish as the 2007-08 campaign proved to be a false dawn.

The pain was mitigated somewhat as the club collected its first prize in six years: 100 years after the foundation of the club, Feyenoord managed to win the KNVB Beker, beating Roda JC 2-0 at a jubilant, De Kuip.

However, any thoughts of continuity were dashed soon after the KNVB Beker triumph when van Marwijk accepted the role of Bondscoach. Forced once more in a new direction, Feyenoord appointed the highly regarded, Gertjan Verbeek as their manager for the following season.

However, following a disastrous first half of the 2008-09 campaign and a mid-season player revolt, the hapless Verbeek was sacked with assistant, Leon Vlemmings, tasked with saving the Rotterdam giant’s season. Although results improved slightly thereafter, the best the club could manage was to secure a spot in the playoffs for the final Dutch Europa League slot in which the team inexplicably fell flat.

The following season saw the club turn to its former assistant manager and player, Mario Been to lead the club out of the doldrums. Been, after achieving minor European successes with NEC Nijmegen, was considered to be the ideal man for the job. Former manager, Leo Beenhakker, at that time manager of the Polish national team, assumed the role of Technical Director.

A fourth place finish secured a crucial Europa League place, meaning that Feyenoord would take part in continental club competition for the first time in two years, while an inspiring run to the final of the KNVB Beker added to an air of renewed self-belief around De Kuip.

In the summer of 2010, some even considered Been’s men dark horses for the Eredivisie crown in 2010-11.

How wrong they were.

After tumbling out of the Europa League in the qualifying rounds to Gent, the club also suffered a humiliating exit in the third round of the KNVB Beker at the hands of Roda JC following a penalty shootout at De Kuip.

However, much worse was to follow.

On 24 October 2010, Been’s charges were humiliated at the hands of a ruthless PSV Eindhoven who hit the Rotterdam giants for ten for no reply.

Prior to that day that many dubbed the worst in the club’s history, the club had opened talks with a group of fans united under the name Varkenoordgroep, after the Academy offices they regularly met in and a group of investors, known as the Vrienden van Feyenoord (“Friends of Feyenoord”). But in the aftermath of the mauling in Eindhoven and with the club on the brink of bankruptcy, talks were stepped up until, following an uplifting 3-0 victory over VVV Venlo at De Kuip in the match immediately after the PSV humiliation which saw fans pack the stands in solidarity holding aloft banners that read ‘Unconditional love, unconditional support’, the club and investors reached an agreement on the huge debt the club owed, calculated somewhere between 35 and 40 million euros, with the investors receiving 49 percent of the stocks of the club for around 30 million euros.

Yet this resolution of the club’s financial issues did not bring an end to the turmoil.

In mid-January 2011, Leo Beenhakker resigned after multiple clashes with the Feyenoord Directors who replaced him with former Feyenoord player, Martin van Geel, previously the Technical Director at Roda JC.

An unacceptable tenth place finish meant that the club would once again have to operate without the added income generated from involvement in European competition in 2011-12. The writing was on the wall for Mario Been and, in July 2011 he stepped down; player power having done for Been as it had previously for Verbeek.

Following Louis van Gaal’s refusal of the managerial role at De Kuip, the club sought out legendary former Barcelona defender Ronald Koeman, who had played for Feyenoord during the late 1990s. Upon acceptance, Koeman became the first man to serve as both player and head coach at each of the so-called “traditional big three” of Dutch football: (AFC Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord).

Following the loss of key players: Leroy Fer, Georginio Wijnaldum and André Bahia to FC Twente, PSV Eindhoven and Samsunspor respectively, the club turned to youth to revive its ailing fortunes, with the likes of: Jordy Clasie, Miquel Nelom, Guyon Fernandez and Kaj Ramsteijn promoted to the first team.

Although compensated financially for their services, the loss of the likes of Fer and especially Wijnaldum, not, as had become progressively commonplace in the modern game and clubs, irrespective of their size or stature in the Eredivisie, to a club from the cashed up leagues of England, Germany, Italy and Spain, but to their own domestic rivals?

Had Feyenoord actually become a feeder club?

Unthinkable.

To little fanfare, two other players were drafted in on loan: Swedish starlet, John Guidetti from Manchester City and Otman Bakkal from PSV. Both would prove influential over the course of the 2011-12 campaign, but it was marksman, Guidetti whose goal-scoring exploits would capture the hearts of Feyenoord’s devoted fan-base with a remarkable 20 goals in 23 appearances as the club emerged as unlikely title contenders, finishing just six points behind eventual champions, Ajax and in the process securing a place in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League.

It wasn’t just on the field that things were showing signs of improvement.

On 16 December 2011, it was revealed that Feyenoord had been placed in the more favourable second category (Category 2), meaning that Feyenoord, in the eyes of the KNVB, were no longer in debt. This was owed, in part, to accumulated transfer revenue but also to a large capital injection made by the organisation VVF (Friends of Feyenoord, Vrienden Van Feyenoord).

On 13 April 2012 Feyenoord’s status was officially confirmed. Club chairman, Eric Gudde stated that the re-categorisation came earlier than anticipated, congratulated the fans and promised to maintain the same policy until Feyenoord was completely healthy, while insisting that the club would never again fall back into the first category.

The policy of frugality continued as the club recruited ahead of the 2012-13 Eredivisie campaign promoting more of its young starlets to the first team while supplementing this youthful injection with a number of experienced heads on free transfers: John Goossens, Ruud Vormer and Daryl Janmaat. The only expenditure came in the form of ADO Den Haag’s Lex Immers and Vålerenga’s Harmeet Singh.

Despite an early exit from European competition and losing both Karim El Ahmadi and captain, Ron Vlaar to Aston Villa in July 2012, Koeman’s charges were once more back in the title picture as the 2012-13 Eredivisie campaign reached its climax.

In the absence of Vlaar and El Ahmadi, it fell to Dutch youngsters, Stefan de Vrij (who assumed the captaincy) and Jordy Clasie (who became vice-captain) to take up leadership roles within what became an increasingly youthful line-up.

An eventual third place finish secured UEFA Europa League football for 2013-14 while the successful loan of Parma’s, Graziano Pelle (who netted a remarkable 27 goals in 29 appearances) resulted in the Italian striker’s move becoming a permanent one.

Despite enduring the club’s worst start in its illustrious history, in spite of maintaining all of its key men the following season, (Feyenoord opening with loses to: PEC Zwolle, FC Twente and Ajax respectively), the Rotterdam giants recovered and capitalised on the inconsistency of those at the top of the table to eventually feature in the race for the title, finishing just 4 points behind eventual champions, Ajax, who collected their fourth successive title.

Although having secured a place in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League for the second time in three years, the club and its supporters’ optimism was mitigated somewhat by the announcement in February 2014 that coach, Ronald Koeman would be leaving the club at the end of the 2013-14 campaign.

Fred Rutten was revealed as Koeman’s successor on 3 March 2014 but the new man at the helm would endure a turbulent summer where Feyenoord lost four of its best players, not to mention most of its defence: Daryl Janmaat to Newcastle United, Stefan de Vrij to Lazio, Bruno Martins Indi to FC Porto, and Graziano Pelle to Southampton – Koeman’s new club.

In spite of its recent seasons of frugality in the transfer market Feyenoord appeared to revert to type in the wake of this exodus of high profile names. The club suffered elimination from the UEFA Champions League at the third qualifying round stage at the hands of Besiktas, 5-2 on aggregate, but did, at long last, manage to reach the lucrative group stages of the UEFA Europa League (defeating FC Zorya Luhansk in the final qualifying round 5-4 on aggregate) as its hectic recruitment drive continued throughout August 2014 with experienced Aussie, Luke Wilkshire arriving from Dynamo Moscow, veteran Dutch international, Khalid Boulahrouz from Brøndby IF, Bilal Başaçıkoğlu from SC Heerenveen, the much travelled, Colin Kazim-Richards on loan from Bursaspor, Jens Toornstra from FC Utrecht, Kenneth Vermeer, controversially from Ajax while Karim El Ahmadi also returned to De Kuip from Aston Villa.

Unsurprisingly, with a substantial influx of new players as well as a new coach, Feyenoord endured a disappointing start to the season taking just 5 points from 4 matches.

However, the club would surprise everyone with their exploits on the continent, opening with a 2-1 victory against Standard Liège in their first home match in Group G of the UEFA Europa League (the club’s first victory in the competition’s group stage in 8 years). Feyenoord also beat HNK Rijeka (2-0) and defending champion Sevilla FC (2-0) at De Kuip to reach the knock-out stage for the first time in 10 years before eventually being eliminated at the hands of AS Roma, 3-2 on aggregate despite having drawn the away leg impressively at the Stadio Olympico in Rome, 1-1.

After their European elimination, Feyenoord didn’t recover. Even though a spot for next season’s Europa League qualification rounds was almost secure, the team failed to win any of their last 5 games, ending in the season in a disappointing fourth place, behind AZ Alkmaar on the last day of the season.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst presided over the final few weeks of the campaign in the Feyenoord hot-seat having stepped up from his previous role as assistant manager earlier than planned to replace Fred Rutten who was fired on 17 May 2015 following a 3-0 loss at PEC Zwolle. Previously, on 2 March 2015, the club had announced that Rutten had decided not to extend his 1-year contract and would leave the club at the end of the season. But the club’s hierarchy believed that, following the costly defeat against Zwolle which left Feyenoord 4th in the Eredivisie and consequently out of the automatic UEFA Europa League qualification place that came with 3rd, they had to act to somehow save their season.

However, their efforts were in vein as, during the end-of-season play-offs to gain a ticket for the UEFA Europa League, Feyenoord were surprisingly eliminated at the hands of Heerenveen, leaving the club devoid of European competition and its associated revenue for 2015-16.

A dispiriting summer followed in which the inevitable departure of young captain and talisman, Jordy Clasie to ex-coach, Ronald Koeman’s Southampton, became a reality. Meanwhile, the recruitment of an aging Dirk Kuyt, the permanent signing of Colin Kazim-Richards, Groningen’s defensive lynchpin, Eric Botteghin, unheralded Swede, Simon Gustafson, Vitesse Arnhem’s midfield maestro, Marko Vejinovic, the much travelled Dutch international who had seemingly fallen off everybody’s radar, Eljero Elia, free agent, Jan-Arie van der Heijden and ADO’s gangly, goal-machine, Michiel Kramer continued throughout a disrupted and calamitous pre-season in which the Rotterdam giants were humiliated 3-0 at the hands of Koeman’s Southampton side in front of their own fans at De Kuip, while also suffering embarrassing reversals at the hands of both Olympiakos and VVV Venlo.

One could have forgiven even the staunchest of Feyenoord supporter for harbouring some grave reservations about their club’s chances as the 2015-16 Eredivisie campaign dawned.

Yet, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s charges surprised all as they raced to three successive victories from the opening three games, dispatching both Cambuur away and Vitesse at home after an opening day win over Utrecht at De Kuip.

Despite notching nine pints from a possible nine, many believed that these victories had been both unconvincing and undeserved. Those same naysayers, feeling subsequently vindicated after seeing Feyenoord swept aside by a clinical PSV on 30 August 2015, believed the Rotterdam outfit would now reset their expectations to the previously anticipated quest for third place.

Unwilling to be consigned to another season of mediocrity, the club won five of their next six fixtures off the back of not only the 35-year-old, Kuyt, who rolled back the years with 6 goals in as many matches, but Elia, who notched three goals and put in a number of sparkling displays which recalled his early years at FC Twente, while new arrival, Kramer, having wrestled the central striking role away from Kazim-Richards, had hit three goals of his own.

Meanwhile, Vejinovic was beginning to pull the strings in the heart of the Feyenoord midfield alongside the previously unknown Gustafson, who not only helped himself to a goal at Heerenveen but also set up three of the other four Feyenoord goals at the Abe Lenstra Stadion on 18 October 2015.

A week removed from hitting Heerenveen for five and having bagged a treble of his own, Kuyt was at it again scoring his second hat-trick in a week during Feyenoord’s 3-1 win over AZ Alkmaar at De Kuip putting the Rotterdam club level on points with leaders Ajax once again.

The former Liverpool forward opened the scoring on 13 minutes before AZ equalised through Joris van Overeem, who slotted home from close range.

But Kuyt was on hand again just before the hour to get the final touch on Bart Nieuwkoop’s shot and deflect the ball past Gino Coutinho to put Feyenoord back in the ascendancy before sealing the win in the 77th minute when Coutinho cut down Gustafson in the area, prompting the referee to award the home side a penalty, which Kuyt duly slammed home.

With the victory came a defiant cry from 47,500 jubilant Rotterdammers. Even with the looming inevitability of a mid-season collapse and concession of a thirty fourth title to their fierce rivals from Amsterdam following the departure (for a second time) of their inspirational captain, (As Kuyt, basking in an unexpected Indian summer of his career with 12 goals in 11 appearances in all competitions in 2015-16, was suddenly linked with a shock switch to Barcelona as a short term fix for the Catalan club’s coach, Luis Enrique in the January transfer window), at the back of their minds.

All this, of course, is typical Feyenoord.

Many have attempted to pinpoint the reason for the enigma that Feyenoord as a club have become over the course of the last 16 years.

  • Those in charge of the club.
  • An aging line-up.
  • Operating with a ridiculously inflated wage bill to pay for the aforementioned aging line-up in an attempt to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’.
  • An inexperienced line-up (As a result of aforementioned over-spending, lack of involvement in lucrative European club competition, nose-dive into financial black hole and resultant near bankruptcy). ‘You’ll win nothing with kids…’
  • A lack of experienced leaders on the field when it comes to the crunch.
  • A lack of money.
  • A tendency to waste what little money is available to spend.
  • A lack of consistency.
  • The propensity to inexplicably lose their collective ‘heads’ in a pressure situation.
  • The predilection to metaphorically ‘shoot themselves in the foot’ when things seem to be going well.
  • ‘Player power’ in the dressing room.
  • The revolving door to the manager’s office at De Kuip (Often as a result of the aforementioned ‘player power’).
  • Selling key players (A necessity in terms of pulling the club out of the aforementioned financial black hole).
  • A resultant lack of any sort of clear vision or plan for the future (Both on and off the field).
  • The history of the club, the expectancy of the fans and the overwhelming pressure that comes with this.

Bearing all this mind and while factoring in a poor performance in the club’s only true test of its title credentials (a 3-1 defeat to PSV in Eindhoven on 30 August 2015), few truly envisioned Feyenoord being crowned national champions for the fifteenth time in the club’s illustrious history in May 2016.

In addition, a home tie against arch rivals Ajax in the 3rd round of the KNVB Beker on 28 October 2015 appeared just the sort of fixture which would have, in previous years, comprehensively dashed any delusions of grandeur harboured by the Rotterdam giants’ passionate and vociferous fan-base.

Yet, with the game locked at nil-nil and deep into injury time it was Kuyt, or more precisely, the veteran Dutch marksman’s presence that proved to be the difference once more, as Ajax’s Joel Veltman, with his hands full marking Kuyt as a Feyenoord free kick was lofted towards Jasper Cillessen’s far post, miscued his attempted clearance past the unsuspecting goalkeeper and into the back of his own net.

The emotional outpouring of joy and adulation that ensued thereafter on that Wednesday night at De Kuip not only acclaimed a victory over Feyenoord’s despised rivals from Amsterdam, progression in a cup competition at a fellow contender’s expense as well as the late and dramatic nature of the game-winning goal itself, but also reiterated the club’s defiance in the face of the doubters and proclaimed, at long last, it’s belief.

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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

Header-TeamOfTheWeek

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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