Eredivisie season predictions: PSV primed to strike
Ajax and PSV Eindhoven have been the dominant forces in the Eredivisie over the last decade and, after the two Dutch heavyweights pulled well clear of the chasing pack last season, who will come out on top in 2022-23?
Ajax were crowned champions for a third time in succession as they finished two points clear of nearest pursuers PSV last term, while Feyenoord were a further 10 points back in third.
The big three will again be expected to figure prominently in the title race, although there is plenty to consider with Ajax under new management following Erik ten Hag’s switch to Manchester United.
Commanding centre-back Lisandro Martinez has followed with a move to Old Trafford, while star striker Sebastien Haller and promising young midfielder Ryan Gravenberch have also made permanent switches to the Bundesliga.
PSV may be able to get revenge
The 2017-18 season was the last time PSV got their hands on the Eredivisie title but there is every reason to believe they can end that losing streak.
The Eindhoven-based team have just two points to make up on Ajax, whose new manager Alfred Schreuder has to prove he is in the same mould as the highly-touted Ten Hag.
Schreuder has been appointed from Club Brugge and with the Amsterdam giants losing a lot of star quality from their squad this summer, they could be slow starters.
PSV can take advantage and the former Manchester United striker appears to have recruited shrewdly over the summer break.
To further enhance Ruud van Nisterlrooy's side's claims this season, they impressively overcame Ajax 5-3 in what was an exhilarating Dutch Super Cup final last Saturday.
The signing of attacking midfielder Guus Til, who scored 15 league goals in 32 appearances while on loan at Feyenoord last season, is an excellent piece of business.
In addition, securing a return to the club for Sevilla's Luuk de Jong, who notched 28 Eredivisie goals in 38 starts for PSV in 2018-19 campaign, looks wise.
Those deals significantly bolster PSV’s firepower and, combining that with a slight improvement defensively, they could exact their revenge on Ajax in what could be a thrilling title race.
Feyenoord vulnerable for third
Feyenoord have finished third in three of the last four Eredivisie seasons, but Arne Slot’s side could be vulnerable in their repeat bid.
The men from Rotterdam were only three points clear of fourth-placed Twente last season and they may find it hard to replace classy Colombian international Luis Sinisterra, who has joined Leeds.
With Til also making a permanent move to PSV, Cyriel Dessers heading back to parent club Genk and Bryan Linssen joining Urawa Reds, they are embarking on a new campaign without their four top scorers from last season.
That spells trouble, particularly with Twente set to go well again and AZ Alkmaar expected to improve dramatically on last year’s 61-point total.
AZ may be the team best-placed to capitalise if Feyenoord falter.
There is a lot to like about the way they are heading under head coach Pascal Jansen and in Jesper Karlsson and Vangelis Pavlidis, they possess two young and hungry strikers that combined to score 35 Eredivisie goals last term.