Sunday, January 29, 2023

Prediction: Feyenoord vs Ajax

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 20 Jan 2023

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Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 13/8

Bookmaker: Unibet

Feyenoord will have a chance to deal a powerful blow to Ajax’s hopes of retaining the Eredivisie title this season when the two teams meet at the Stadion Feijenoord, more commonly referred to as De Kuip, on Sunday afternoon. The clash of the fierce rivals will be a game within round 17 of the 2022/23 season in the Dutch top flight.

Feyenoord

It’s been almost six years since Feyenoord last won the title in Netherlands, and the De club van het volk faithful everywhere will be wondering at this point: has the time come?

A look at the Eredivisie table says it may have come. Feyenoord lead the pack with 37 points from the 16 games played so far, and the nearest chasers are actually AZ Alkmaar, who stand on 33 and will have an arguably easier job at home against Fortuna Sittard this weekend. Whatever happens in this match, Feyenoord will obviously remain at the top, but a win over Ajax would certainly mean a great step in the right direction.

With five wins and a draw from their last six competitive matches, Arne Slot’s team could hardly have hoped for a better run of form going into a contest like this. The list begins with two games which took place before the 2022 World Cup, 1-0 home win over Cambuur and a 5-1 hammering of Excelsior at home. After the tournament in Qatar, they thrashed FC Emmen 5-0 at home, drew 1-1 away to Utrecht, beat PEC Zwolle in the second round of the KNVB Cup by 3-1, and strode to a 0-3 victory away to Groningen.

Feyenoord have also been involved in an incredibly tight Europa League Group F, in which they finished ahead of Midtjylland, Lazio and Sturm Graz, despite the fact that the four teams had eight points apiece at the end. Therefore, under the current format of the competition, they’ve booked a place in the round of 16 and now await the results of the knockout round play-offs and the subsequent draw, to learn the name of their next opponent.

Team News

Given that his team will have had a full week since the last game, Slot won’t have any reason to make a single change to the lineup which returned triumphant from Groningen; providing there are no fresh injury concerns between now and the kick-off.

Those who are already missing through various injuries are goalkeeper Tein Troost (fractured arm), defender Gernot Trauner (knee) and midfielder Quinten Timber (foot). Winger Javairo Dilrosun is expected to be back in contention for this match, having picked up a knock recently.

Justin Bijlow will be in goal, with the back four consisting of centre-backs David Hancko and Lutsharel Geertruida, left-back Quilindshy Hartman and right-back Marcus Pedersen. Captain Orkun Kokcu will pair up with Mats Wieffer in the middle of the park, with Sebastian Szymanski further up as the No. 10. Igor Paixao and Alireza Jahanbakhsh will attack out wide, supporting Danilo as the centre-forward.

Ajax

Ajax have obviously been the dominant force in Dutch football for a while now, and the fact that there just isn’t as much money or competition in the Eredivisie as in the top five leagues across Europe tends to hurt them over and over again. Whenever they hit a glorious run of seasons, the same question pops up: how long can they keep producing top talents in such numbers as the top clubs around Europe continue to pick them off?

This time around, not only have their players been taken away, but their head coach as well – Erik ten Hag is currently enjoying a fine season at Manchester United, having taken defender Lisandro Martinez and winger Antony to Old Trafford with him. Alfred Schreuder, appointed after Ten Hag’s departure, appears to have been brought in to try and pick up the pieces and rebuild the team. Again.

And it appears that his work isn’t going quite as well as Ten Hag’s previously. Ajax are currently five points behind Feyenoord in the table, one behind AZ Alkmaar, and a defeat in this match would mean the gap broadening to such width that it would be hard to imagine it being closed down any time soon.

Ajax lost to PSV Eindhoven 1-2 at home back in early November, followed by a 2-2 draw at home against Vitesse and a 3-3 draw away to FC Emmen, and that was clearly the point where their chances of defending the title went spiraling down. After the World Cup, they drew 1-1 away to NEC, won 0-2 away to Den Bosch in the KNVB Cup, and drew 0-0 at home against Twente in a match that saw defender Devyne Rensch earn a straight red card in the 35th minute.

Team News

Defenders Ahmetcan Kaplan (knee) and Youri Baas (knock) are injured, as is midfielder Florian Grillitsch (knock).

Rensch is obviously suspended for this match, which probably means Calvin Bassey leaving the left flank to play in the heart of defence alongside Jurrien Timber and Owen Wijndal stepping in on the left. Jorge Sanchez should start at right-back. Geronimo Rulli, who joined from Villarreal recently, will be standing between the posts.

Edson Alvarez should be anchoring a three-man midfield, joined by Davy Klaassen and Kenneth Taylor. Upfront, striker Brian Brobbey will be flanked by captain Dusan Tadic, and likely Fabio Conceicao.

Conclusion

This does feel like Feyenoord’s season and borne on the wings of support from the stands of De Kuip, they should be able to record a huge victory on Sunday.

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 13/8

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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