Last season, PSV Eindhoven pipped Ajax to the Eredivisie title on the final day of the season to send a clear statement of intent to their main rivals. Prior to the 2014/15 campaign, Ajax had won four consecutive titles but the pendulum and momentum in Dutch football has swung back in PSV’s favour – and if truth be told, it doesn’t look like changing anytime soon. The Eredivisie is still a two-horse race but PSV are at least a neck ahead right now…
Ajax lost Frank de Boer in the summer and the Dutch giants have struggled to replace him at the helm. Following De Boer’s departure, former Feyenoord technical director Peter Bosz was appointed as Ajax boss but his honeymoon period has been anything but successful. In fact, they were humiliated by FC Rostov in their Champions League qualifier and it is hard to imagine them bouncing back in the near future.
FT Ajax miss out on the Champions League group stage. Humiliated by Rostov. 5-2 on aggregate.— Dutch Football (@football_oranje) August 24, 2016
Meanwhile, PSV are on the rise and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Eindhoven dominate the Eredivisie for the foreseeable future. Phillip Cocu has the club’s best interests at heart and has impressed during his time as head coach. Whilst PSV have lost a number of talented stars in recent times – Memphis Depay being the main one – they have managed to keep a sense of pride and team spirit in the dressing room.
At the time of writing, Cocu’s men are priced at 4/6 to win the title in Betway’s betting odds on their Dutch website. The defending champions are certainly looking strong after a couple of impressive performances early on in the season and Ajax will have to be at their very best to stand any chance of pipping PSV to the crown. After all, PSV have the continuity, the experience and the nous to retain their title for the third year in a row.
The lack of competition says a lot about the state of Dutch football. Holland were a major force in world football just a few decades ago but they are in a sorry mess right now. Guus Hiddink was dismissed after failing to lead The Netherlands to Euro 2016 and many will be expecting a positive backlash as they look to reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia – however, they face a very tough qualifying pool and Holland will have to be much improved.
Who knows, Ajax could improve and give PSV a stern test but it isn’t looking very likely right now. The Dutch giants are still way ahead of their other opponents but once again, the Eredivisie is a two-horse race; and one of those horses is looking strong whilst the other is very weak. PSV aren’t able to put up a stern fight in the Champions League but they are more than capable of defending their domestic crown without too much bother.
PSV needed all 38 matches to retain the title last season but Eindhoven look set to secure the crown in advance this time around. Ajax are getting worse whilst PSV are improving and that is why the champions will win a third successive crown. Barring a major change in fortune, PSV Eindhoven will close the gap at the top of Dutch football and continue to assert their dominance in recent times; they are just too consistent for Ajax to handle.