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Eredivisie Preview: AZ begin life without Verbeek, PSV target the top

Managerless AZ will begin life without Gertjan Verbeek against Groningen on Sunday after the coach was surprisingly fired last weekend.

The club cited a “lack of confidence” in the manager who had been in charge since 2010, with his dismissal coming just one day after AZ defeated PSV, who had been league leaders.

AZ have not yet appointed a full-time replacement but will be looking to build on that victory when they travel to Groningen on Sunday, with their hosts sitting in ninth, one place below them in the table.

Twente took advantage of PSV’s slip-up go into the weekend top on 15 points after eight games, but only their plus-16 goal difference keeps them ahead of Phillip Cocu’s young side and Heerenveen.

A run of one defeat and two home draws saw Twente rattled, but consecutive wins against Heracles and a 5-0 drubbing of Groningen sees them go into the tie against eighth-placed Cambuur in good form.

PSV and Heerenveen have what should be straightforward matches against teams in the bottom three.

Last season’s runners-up PSV, host RKC Waalwijk, winless in seven games, giving the title chasers a good opportunity to put their recent problems behind them.

An eye-catching 4-0 win over Ajax on September 22 was the only time the Eindhoven club have emerged victorious from their previous five Eredivisie games, allowing Twente to squeeze past them at the top of the table.

Heerenveen go into their contest with ADO Den Haag unbeaten in their last five matches and can thank star striker Alfred Finnbogason for their early season form, with the Iceland international hitting an impressive 10 goals in seven games so far.

Den Haag recorded only their second victory of the season in midweek, defeating Vitesse 2-1 on Wednesday.

One place further down in fourth is Ajax, who put their PSV defeat behind them in some style on Saturday with a 6-0 win at home to Go Ahead Eagles, with Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scoring his fourth and fifth goals of the season.

They host Utrecht in Sunday’s early kick-off as the visitors look to move themselves further away from the bottom three.

Vitesse take on potential title challengers Feyenoord on Sunday.

The Rotterdam-based club sit in seventh, but in-form attacker Graziano Pelle will give them a good chance against anyone in the division having netted nine times already, including two hat-tricks.

At the bottom of the table NEC head to fellow strugglers Go Ahead Eagles, Zwolle are looking to end a run of four without a win when they travel to face Roda and Breda host Heracles.

Wed 2 October, 2013
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