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In Focus: Eredivisie stars of the season so far
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Toby Rathborne
LiveScore
Midfield maestro Orkun Kokcu has played a key role in Feyenoord's strong start to the 2022-23 campaign
Midfield maestro Orkun Kokcu has played a key role in Feyenoord's strong start to the 2022-23 campaign

The Eredivisie is witnessing an exciting title race this season, with Feyenoord, Ajax and PSV Eindhoven battling it out for the summit.

The championship-chasing trio boast a multitude of stars that have lit up the Dutch top flight.

With the leading domestic divisions paused during the World Cup, we pick out the five top performers from the first 14 Eredivisie matchdays.

Cody Gakpo

PSV star Cody Gakpo has been almost unstoppable this season, with the Netherlands international racking up nine goals and 12 assists. 

The 23-year-old Dutchman is not built like a typical winger and frequently uses his tall frame to shield the ball and ward off defenders when dribbling. 

He also boasts an impressive ability to create opportunities by drawing defenders towards him before releasing a pass.

Gakpo frequently makes runs into the box — especially towards the back post — and averages 3.93 shots per 90 minutes. 

As part of the Netherlands’ World Cup squad, he opened his account in Qatar as Louis van Gaal's men beat Senegal 2-0 on Monday. 

Cody Gakpo found the net with his only effort against Senegal
Cody Gakpo found the net with his only effort against Senegal

Dusan Tadic

Ajax are getting used to life after Erik ten Hag and playmaker Dusan Tadic has shown no signs of slowing down in Amsterdam. 

The Serbian, 33, has already registered three goals and nine assists in the league this season — and could have had more, given his impressive expected assists tally of 11.5. 

He thrives on linking play to unlock deep defensive blocks and can also find the target when needed, registering nine efforts on goal so far. 

Tadic will be imperative as the reigning champions look to catch league leaders Feyenoord and retain the title.

Dusan Tadic has been an influential figure in all competitions for Ajax this season
Dusan Tadic has been an influential figure in all competitions for Ajax this season

Orkun Kokcu

Feyenoord have enjoyed a terrific start to the season with young captain Orkun Kokcu pulling the strings.

The 21-year-old star has terrorised defences with his dribbling, incisive passing and long-range shooting — recording six goals and one assist in 13 appearances. 

His creative capabilities have seen him average 6.98 shot-creating actions per 90 minutes in the Eredivisie. 

If Feyenoord are to push for their first league title since 2016-17, they will need Kokcu to continue his rich vein of form. 

Xavi Simons

Xavi Simons has been a marauding presence for PSV during their Eredivisie and European exploits this term
Xavi Simons has been a marauding presence for PSV during their Eredivisie and European exploits this term

La Masia academy graduate Xavi Simons was considered one of Barcelona's most promising prospects and is now proving himself with PSV after a failed stint at Paris Saint-Germain. 

The 19-year-old starlet is adept at weaving through defences, causing havoc in advanced areas. 

He then has the presence of mind to pick a pass or beat the goalkeeper, netting eight and creating four goals in 14 top-flight appearances so far this term. 

Simons also works hard off the ball to force defensive errors by pressing the opposition, launching himself into ground duels to regain possession high up the pitch. 

His impressive form earned him his first call-up to the Netherlands squad for the World Cup.

Jurrien Timber

After winning the Dutch Football Talent of the Year award, centre-back Jurrien Timber has continued to perform consistently for Ajax this term. 

His defensive awareness, composure in possession and accurate passing have garnered plenty of interest from some of Europe's elite sides. 

Liverpool defender and international team-mate Virgil van Dijk has praised Timber's professional attitude and believes the 21-year-old ace has great potential. 

He said: "I wasn't nearly as far along [at the same age] as he [Timber] is now. 

"I have nothing but praise for him. He is a great player and a true professional. 

"He has so much potential. Hopefully he can develop further."

Tags

EredivisieAjaxFeyenoordPSV Eindhoven
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