Two Horse Race?

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar January 20, 2019 14:29

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Two Horse Race?

By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (January 20th 2019)

Opportunity

Feyenoord’s shock 3-1 defeat by FC Zwolle yesterday gives Erik ten Hag’s Ajax the chance to stretch their lead over their biggest historic rivals. Rotterdam’s biggest club’s slip up offers an opportunity to extend their lead to 13 points if they can beat tenth placed Heerenveen at the Johan Cruijff ArenA this evening.

Heerenveen trail Ajax by a whopping 26 points. Ajax face the same opponents in their quarter-final of the KNVB Cup, currently held by former Dutch and Barçelona great, Giovanni van Bronckhorst

Ten Hag, is relatively new to management, making his name with Go Ahead Eagles. His work there helped him bag the 2016 Rinus Michels Award. After a spell at FC Utrecht he got the job as Ajax’s Head Trainer in December 2017.

Ten Hag has former club icon Aron Winter as his assistant, and must expect all three points, which are needed if the pressure on current leaders, PSV Eindhoven is to be kept up. Winter is also Head Trainer of Ajax’s Under-19 squad, which eases the integration of young tale3nt into the senior squad – the Ajax way.

The Race

PSV are two points ahead of Ajax, and lead third placed Feyenoord by 12. It’s already shaping up to be a two horse race.

Van Bronckhorst delivered Feyenoord’s first Eredivisie title since 1999 in 2017 – he took over from Fred Rutten as Head Trainer in 2015. However, already trailing Ajax by ten points, and four wins behind PSV, a second title will be a tall order.

Former Dutch midfielder, Mark van Bommel, assisted his father-in-law Bert van Marwijk, coach the national teams of Saudi Arabia and Australia before becoming Head Trainer for the first time at PSV. He was appointed last June when Phillip Cocu left for an ill-fated spell in charge of Fenerbahçe.

Van Bommel’s PSV are the only realistic obstacle to ten Hag lifting his first Eredivisie title. PSV lead FC Emmen 1-0 at half time – Luuk de Jong scored after 15 minutes.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar January 20, 2019 14:29