- Eredivisie title going to the wire
- Ajax lead on goal-difference
- PSV’s experience could be key factor
Ajax’s 4-1 win at Willem II at the weekend, coupled with PSV Eindhoven drawing 3-3 with Vitesse Arnhem, took Ajax back to top spot in the Eredivisie.
While still level on points, the Amsterdam side are top by virtue of a better goal-difference and now look in a great position to win their first title since 2013/14.
Odds To Win 2019 Dutch Eredivisie
*Odds taken 04/11/2019
Two-Horse Race For the Title
With just five league games left, Erik ten Hag’s side have engineered themselves into a perfect position for the run in and are now -150 favorites to clinch the title at expense of their Eindhoven rivals. With Feyenoord in third a full 18 points adrift this is, and has been for some time, a two-horse race.
Interestingly, while the bookies see this as Ajax’s to lose even though they and PSV are level on points, they also have the small matter of a UEFA Champions League quarterfinal to complete.
GOAL! Ajax 0-1 Juventus (Ronaldo)
— Indy Football (@IndyFootball) April 10, 2019
It’s outcome will have a large bearing on the destination of the Eredivisie and, while they allowed Juventus to score an away goal in leg 1, there is still a good chance they could earn themselves a Champions League semifinal place.
Despite drawing to Juventus on Wednesday 1-1 at home, Ajax were the dominant side and but for several missed chances, they would have been heading to Turin with a lead.
First Title For Five Seasons?
Ironically, their chances of taking their first Dutch title for five seasons may well be enhanced by them getting knocked out by Juve.
But this is by no means a given, especially as, in their round-of-16 tie with Real Madrid they won 4-1 away at the Santiago Bernabeu.
A key result in Ajax’s rise to the summit of the league was a 3-1 home win over PSV late in March, and on paper they do have a slightly easier run-in than their rivals.
For starters, three of their five remaining games are at home and they don’t face another team currently in the division’s top five until they play Utrecht, at home, on the final day of the season, May 12.
Also worth noting at this stage is that Ajax’s superior goal difference (+74 compared to PSV’s +65) is theoretically worth another point, and may well be decisive in the final countdown.
PSV Taking It To The Wire
PSV will not be going down without a fight though and Mark van Bommel’s team will draw on the experience they have gained in winning three of the last four Eredivisie titles.
Unlike ten Hag’s team which is made up predominantly of young, talented but inexperienced players, PSV know how to win trophies and are used to handling the nerve-jangling final stages of a championship run-in.
However, compared to Ajax’s last five games, PSV have some theoretically tougher tests, in particular, a very tough-looking trip to AZ Alkmaar on the final day of the season. They’ll also need to try and close the nine-point goal difference to give themselves the best chance.
Fortunately, they do have plenty of goals in their team and look almost certain to have the league’s leading goalscorer up front in the form of captain Luuk de Jong. He currently has 25 league goals to his name, five ahead of Ajax’s Dusan Tadic who has 20.
Luuk De Jong @PSV
Key stats?: Strength, Heading, Stamina
The Dutchman has been flying this season, scoring 24⚽️ (11 being with his head) in 28 games.
Don’t let the price tag/age put you off, he’s arguably the best target man on the game! pic.twitter.com/bvNveNgFVI
— Career Mode Scout (@OfficialCMScout) April 4, 2019
PSV To Pounce
So, much depends on how Ajax fare in their second-leg against Juve, and it’s a game that we think they still have a big say in. While they head to Turin as outsiders, we can see another heroic performance on the cards, and with a big semifinal then pending, we think it will impact on their league.
Van Bommel’s team will use their experience to exploit this and we can see them sneaking it, possibly on the last day of the season.
Our pick: PSV
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