The first half of the Eredivisie season is set to go out with a bang this afternoon when PSV travel to the Amsterdam ArenA in one of Dutch football’s most exhilarating rivalries. The fact that Ajax go into the game on the back of two defeats adds an increased significance to a game that is almost guaranteed to be closely contested – not only did Ajax lose to Twente last weekend, but the side also saw themselves knocked out of the Dutch Cup in midweek at the hands of Cambuur. An unfamiliar story for the Amsterdam club who haven’t tasted back to back defeats since August when the team crashed out of the Champions League play-offs. PSV on the other hand will go into the match without losing a game since their Home tie against German giants Bayern Munich at the beginning of November. Despite picking up some questionable results at Home to Rostov and Away at Roda, PSV will be looking to maintain their spectacular Away form by making it 22 matches unbeaten on the road if they avoid defeat to Ajax.
There are also numerous other factors to take into account going into this game. For example Ajax were unbeaten in 20 before a close fought defeat to the hands of Twente last weekend, it may also be noted that Peter Bosz rested a handful of first team players midweek in preparation for this huge match. On the other hand, Philip Cocu will be looking to push on in the domestic league after finishing bottom of their Champions League group.
There is no doubt though that Peter Bosz will view the match as a must win game for Ajax; A loss would see rivals Feyenoord maintain a 6 point margin going into the new year, but would also see PSV on the same number of points and leave Ajax with no room to breath at the top of the table.
Did You Know? Ajax have won both of their last 2 away matches against PSV but have lost both of their last 2 home matches against the side.
Ajax will be without Nick Viergever after being sent off in stoppage time last week against Twente, Nemanja Gudelj will also miss the match through suspension. Bertrand Traore and Daley Sinkgraven are both doubtful after both recently returning from injury.
PSV have had the luxury of a full week of rest since last week’s clash against Go Ahead Eagles and Cocu’s men look relatively fit as a result. Willems, Guardado and Hendrix also look like they’ll be cleared to play this afternoon, only Centre-back Jurgen Locadia looks set to miss the game through injury.
Taking everything into consideration this has got to be one of the hardest matches to call so far this season. Ajax go into the game with a 100% win record in their last 10 home matches; Meanwhile PSV are unbeaten in their last 21 matches on the road. On top of this both teams are close to full fitness, and even looking back at previous H2H results to get a better scope on the situation will only throw up sporadic results over the last few years. For me the only certainty in this match is that it will be entertaining; On top of the fact that this is an intense rivalry, both teams will be looking to shake off poor results in other competitions and secure a win to propel themselves closer to Feyenoord. As a result of this, I believe that the outcome will be decided on the finest of margins, maybe a late goal could see the home side take the win this afternoon.
Ajax 2 – 1 PSV