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In Focus: Feyenoord's title tilt sees Slot in demand
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Dan Fitch
Arne Slot looks certain to deliver a title to Feyenoord
Arne Slot looks certain to deliver a title to Feyenoord

Feyenoord are on the verge of winning their first Eredivisie title since 2017. 

The Rotterdam-based club are eight points clear of both second-placed Ajax and PSV Eindhoven in third.

Manager Arne Slot - who has been heavily linked with the vacancy at Tottenham - has transformed the fortunes of the Dutch giants since taking charge of the club in 2021. 

Ahead of Sunday's home match with RKC Waalwijk, we take a closer look at exactly what has changed.

Stranglehold broken

With an eight-point lead and only seven games remaining, Feyenoord need a maximum of 14 points from a possible 21 to land the title. 

Making that task easier is an agreeable run of fixtures. Slot's side will not play any of the current top six between now and the end of the season. 

If they break Ajax and PSV's hold on the title, it will be a great achievement. Prior to their 2017 triumph, Feyenoord last won the Eredivisie back in 1999. 

Since then, AZ Alkmaar and Twente are the only other clubs to have broken the dominance of the big two at the top of Dutch football.

As a well-supported team with a rich history, Feyenoord have arguably underachieved in this regard. But Slot has changed their story and created the opportunity for a new era. 

It is not just in the Eredivisie where his side are chasing success. They meet Roma in the Europa League quarter-finals next week, where they will be looking for some revenge. 

Summer rebuild

Feyenoord lost to Roma in the final of last season’s Europa Conference League, in what was Slot's debut campaign. 

He also guided the team to a third place finish in the Eredivisie in 2021-22, which was two positions and 12 points better than they had managed in the previous season under Dick Advocaat. 

Most importantly, Slot changed the playing style from counter-attacking tactics to a more adventurous, possession-based approach. The 44-year-old also improved the performances of existing players. 

One of the most impressive aspects of Feyenoord's likely title triumph is that the club were tasked with rebuilding the squad in the summer, when many important players departed. 

This included the likes of Marcos Senesi, Tyrell Malacia and Luis Sinisterra who were all bought by Premier League clubs, while the on-loan Reiss Nelson returned to Arsenal. 

Slot has created a new team, largely comprised of players that arrived in pre-season. Again, he has managed to improve performance levels, both individually and from the team as a whole. 

Feyenoord are eight points clear at the top of the Eredivisie
Feyenoord are eight points clear at the top of the Eredivisie

In demand

Slot's 4-2-3-1 formation sees him utilise inverted full-backs, who come infield and add to the numbers in the centre of the park.

His wingers stay wide and put plenty of balls into the box, with Feyenoord playing more crosses this season than any other club in the Eredivisie. 

By keeping the wingers near the touchline, Slot's team have men in dangerous positions, one-on-one with the full-backs, whenever there is a transition. 

Yet they also look to control the game, with only Ajax averaging a higher possession rate in the Dutch top flight than Feyenoord's 58.3%. 

Unsurprisingly, Slot has become a man in demand. 

As well as the links with Tottenham, Leeds tried to bring him in to replace Jesse Marsch earlier this season. 

Feyenoord might be on the verge of a new era of success, but they would be wise to quickly look for someone that can continue the architect's work. 

Slot’s achievements are too great to be ignored by richer clubs.


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