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Eredivisie Matchday 5 Preview: Groningen vs. Ajax

Eredivisie Matchday 5: Groningen vs. Ajax

September 1st, 2013 11:30 BST

This Sunday FC Groningen welcome 2013 Eredivisie Champions Ajax to the Euroborg, but it isn’t to watch a film in the stadium complex’s cinema. Nor is it to gamble away some cash in the casino. Instead Groningen hope they can take advantage of a changed and still shaken Ajax squad. By Sunday the defending champs will have lost at least one and possibly two key cogs in the Ajax machine.

Late Wednesday the news broke that Ajax and English club Tottenham Hotspur had agreed a transfer fee of €11m for midfield dynamo Christian Eriksen. The player was only to agree personal terms for the deal to be sealed. Then on Thursday news of a possible move for defender Toby Alderweireld broke. Reports had Atletico Madrid making a similar monetary bid to that of Spartak Moscow, which was rumored to be €5m. It was also leaked that Alderweireld preferred a move to the Spanish capital over England or Russia. As we went to press the Alderweireld move was not a certainty but the Eriksen move was pretty much a done deal. Combine that with the long term loss of Ajax’s other midfield maestro Siem de Jong to a collapsed lung and this would be the best time for a club to face them.

Careful though, it is not all rainbows and lollipops for the home side Groningen. Key attacking forward Michael de Leeuw, who scored 11 goals in 30 matches last season is out for an undetermined amount of time with an ankle injury. They are also without young right sided attacker Adorján Krisztián, a loanee from Liverpool, due to a straight red card suspension. But possibly the biggest loss is 20 year old centre back Timo Letschert, also due to suspension. The youngster had started all four matches so far this season.

football formations

 *The Ajax line-up excludes Toby Alderweireld in anticipation of his probable transfer

Key Facts

  • Ajax have scored at least 2 goals in their last 10 league matches away from home
  • In 5 appearances against FC Groningen Ajax striker Kolbeinn Sigthórsson has scored 2 goals
  • Ajax have kept a clean sheet in their last 4 matches against FC Groningen across all competitions

Key Battles

Tjaronn Chery vs Ajax midfield: Chery, on loan to Groningen from ADO Den Haag, is a dynamic attacking forward. Whether on the right or in a central role he is pacey and can contribute with a key pass, 1.8 per game this season so far. He can of course score goals as well, 2 in 4 matches so far this season. The heart of Ajax’s midfield is either out injured or has been transferred. While it is true that Poulsen and Schöne aren’t new to each other, they aren’t exactly old friends on the pitch as of late. Couple that with whomever Frank de Boer chooses to replace Christian Eriksen and the Amsterdam club’s midfield may look a bit confused come Sunday.

Prediction

FC Groningen 2-2 Ajax

Let us know your predictions below or on  Twitter @90minutecynic

You can follow Michael on Twitter @NUFC_Monkey

 


Michael is a cat enthusiast and a talented beard cultivator from middle America. To supplement the dull ache that comes with being a Newcastle United FC supporter he not-so-secretly roots for Celtic, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund. Besides football his other hobby is being the living embodiment of the Korean word Han. Follow Michael on twitter @NUFC_monkey


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