Despite the chasing pack led by Ajax closing in, Feyenoord have their fates in their own hands as Rotterdam side heads towards a deserved title win
It’s really hotting up in Holland with just one point separating first and second in the Eredivisie table. Feyenoord and Ajax look like the only two contenders left, third-placed PSV Eindhoven shouldn’t be counted out just yet, though. There are four rounds left to play, which could present each team with plenty of stumbling blocks.
Feyenoord are still the front-runners, having accumulated the most points (73) up until now but have shown signs of dropping off. De Klassieker vs. Ajax was lost in humiliating style as Feyenoord were played off the park. And although the bad result was followed up by a dominant 8-0 win over Go Ahead Eagles, this weekend’s 2-2 draw away to PEC Zwolle demonstrated that this Feyenoord side might have peaked too early in the season.
Arch rivals Ajax, on the other hand, are in scintillating form and look invincible at the moment. The aforementioned win on Feyenoord really boosted the confidence of De Amsterdammers and the club is now breathing down the neck of Feyenoord. Goals by former São Paulo player David Neres and Chelsea-loanee Bertrand Traoré sealed a comfortable 1-5 win vs. NEC Nijmegen last Saturday and have set the number of goals scored in the last two games to nine.
A possible distraction in Ajax’s race for the title could be their Europa League games. Ajax have reached the quarter-final stages and will play Schalke 04 this week. There is a case to be made that players will get fatigued. However, a good run in Europe could also lift the confidence even further and create a buzzing atmosphere around the place, which could only have positive consequences on Ajax’s title credentials.
A team that can cause damage to Ajax’s title credentials is PSV Eindhoven. The club managed by Philip Cocu are five points behind league leaders Feyenoord but look to have restored the confidence they had in last year’s title-winning campaign and will host Ajax in two weeks. The Red White Army convincingly won this weekend (5-0), making clear they are ready for a late title charge.
So let’s take a look at where the title can be won or lost. For Feyenoord the message is clear; four wins and the title is yours. The two remaining home games vs. FC Utrecht and Heracles Almelo shouldn’t be of any difficulty as Feyenoord have been sensational at home this campaign. Their away games, predominantly vs. Vitesse, will be their biggest tests. Feyenoord have looked shaky away from home lately and Vitesse is a good side, capable of beating any Eredivisie team on their day.
Ajax’s trickiest remaining game is away to PSV, which could prove to be a title-deciding encounter. Next to PSV, Ajax will welcome Heerenveen and Go Ahead Eagles to the Amsterdam Arena and will visit Willem II on the final match day; three very winnable fixtures.
Just like Feyenoord, PSV need to win all four games. The only difference to Feyenoord is that PSV’s fate lies in the hands of Feyenoord and Ajax instead of their own hands. Slip-ups could give the 1988 European Cup winners a shot at their third consecutive title win but the probability of it happening is not big.
My prediction? The table will stay like it is now. Ajax might be in great form, a win away at PSV won’t happen. Feyenoord won’t ease their way to their first title since 1999 but will pull it off and deservedly so. They have been the best side in the Eredivisie. The long-awaited title will finally go to Rotterdam.