All this action. For a blogger, it’s always a headache at the start of the season as there is so much to write about… New teams, new players, Oranje getting into gear, new coaches….
I will contain myself and focus on the games first. But so you know: I have some cool posts in the making on some Oranje cracks (Huntelaar, Jeremain Lens), on Twente and Ajax, and some material on the new center backs of PSV. All coming soon.
Let’s focus now on some action by the Dutch. The Bundesliga has started already and so has the EPL now. Lets see how the internationals are fairing. Robin van Persie is at the top of the flagpole. In Man U, and in Oranje. The Dutch skipper got Man United the Charity Shield and he was instrumental in the win over Swansea. Hope he’s not peaking too early…
Swansea had to play without the Dutch lads, bar Vorm. Tiendali has not been able to secure a deal with Swansea and is without a club momentarily, while Kemy Augustien moved away from Swansea. De Guzman is back in Wales but his concussion made it impossible for him to play.
No more Dutchies at Liverpool but Erik Pieters made his debut for Stoke at Anfield. The left back couldn’t impress. His crosses were weak and he played an anonymous game. How different did it go for Vlaar El Ahmadi and Bacuna (although I know El Ahmadi is not Dutch in football terms, he did have his roots in Holland, so I will mention him at times). Aston Villa got lucky against a strong Arsenal. Two penalty kicks (one deserved, one undeserved) put Villa on the front foot and Arsenal got its first defeat of the season. Expect Wenger to spend some money now….
Marco van Ginkel got his first EPL minutes for the Annoying One but didn’t make an impact. Lots of running and chasing the ball like a puppy. Good energy, good athleticism, but no real substance. Yet. I do fear for Van Ginkel as De Bruyne was very impressive.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel did at Norwich what he does his whole life. Scoring. Leroy Fer didn’t yet have a go.
Feyenoord proved too weak to beat Ajax on their homeground. The Rotterdam contender did score first (Pelle) but a cheap penalty and a decent goal (both by Sighthursson) gifted Ajax the win. Three losses in a row for Ronald Koeman and rumour says the squad is not so happy with their coach. Some analysts seem to recognise typical Koeman behavior, as he has been criticising the club and saying that “things are more professional at PSV and Ajax”. According to the analysts, this is Koeman’s typical strategy of justifying an early exit… Will it be for the National Team Manager’s role? Or has he heard that there will be another juicy position somewhere? Does he want to use the back exit at Feyenoord? We’ll see…
Frank de Boer was relieved. And so was Ajax. More than half of the players celebrated the win as if they just played Man United! Ajax played a bad second half and got lucky to win the points. “Last season, we would have lost two points. At least we won it now.” De Boer saw only Eriksen and Alderweireld reach their top level and it’s typically these two that might leave Amsterdam in the coming weeks.
PSV might have a say in Eriksen’s departure. AC Milan is keen to sign the Dane, but can only do so after reaching the group stages of the CL. Which will happen if Milan beats PSV. So if PSV wants Eriksen to leave Ajax, they should lose against AC Milan :-).
Feyenoord wasn’t helped by the early goal as they immediately waited deep for Ajax to come at them. And that can never have been Koeman’s tactical plan. As he knows that any team will lose against Ajax by doing this. The Feyenoord team was afraid. Funnily enough, Ajax looked tired. And despite the fact that the pitch in the Arena did not warrant good football (what is that???), it’s weird to see how only Blind and Vilhena appeared to be fit enough for this match.
Feyenoord never before lost the first three competition games but is quite confident that the team will straighten their backs and come back into it. In the meantime, Twente impresses with a 6-0 win over Utrecht, while Heerenveen lost their first game after a strong start. Alex Pastoor is the first coach to be fired (NEC sent him away after a long period of not seeing eye to eye with the board). And PEC, the team that beat Feyenoord on the first day, is leading with PSV in the Eredivisie. PSV was too strong for Go Ahead Eagles and PEC beat NEC 5-1.
In Turkey, Sneijder made a statement. To his fans, to the Oranje coach and to himself. He was fit, ferocious and leading his team. He scored the first in the early stages and set up the second goal (which come from a penalty, after a Sneijder initiated attack).
The other playmaker lost 1-5 at home. Rafa van der Vaart did score the first from the spot, though.
Ibi Afellay seems to on his way out of Barcelona. The former PSV midfielder is still injured and was not gifted a jersey number in Spain.
Tomorrow, PSV and AC Milan was have another go at each other. When Cocu was a PSV player he battled Milan for a spot in the finals of the CL. AC Milan was stronger on that day. This time around, the PSV team relies on the inspiration of a 17 year old Belgium sensation but Bakkali will not be present against it Italians, due to an injury he copped when on national team duties…