Digging For Oil

The winds of change they are a blowing through the Eredivisie. Luckily, IBWM has John Dobson keeping an eye on it for us

ADO 3-1 Heerenveen

Heracles 0-0 AZ

NEC 2-2 NAC

Willem II 1-0 Vitesse

Feyenoord 0-1 De Graafschap

Utrecht 3-0 Ajax

Roda JC 3-0 Excelsior

Groningen 1-2 Twente

VVV Venlo 0-3 PSV

It’s difficult to write about Dutch football at the moment. As soon as fingers are committed to keyboard, everything changes. Since the end of the last round of fixtures were completed, Feyenoord parted company with director of football Leo Beenhakker and defender Karim El Ahmadi swanned off to the UAE, AC Milan signed a pre-contract agreement with Urby Emanuelson before agreeing a €1.7m fee for him to move immediately. Elsewhere, there are a whole host of players linked to moves to pastures new. I fully expect that by the time this dispatch is complete, Luis Suarez will have sealed his move to Liverpool with Dirk Kuyt going the other way, Bjorn Vleminckx to have joined the hordes of strikers at White Hart Lane and, oh I don’t know, oil to have been discovered under the pitch at De Vijverberg which has made De Graafschap the world’s richest club. We’ll check back after to see what - if anything - has actually transpired.

It was a good week for the champions who thrashed neighbours Heracles 5-0 in the delayed round 19 game before a come-from-behind win over challengers Groningen. Tim Matavz has been attracting interest from all across Europe, but Groningen are keen to hang onto the Slovenian for as long as possible. He opened the scoring with a lovely flick which diverted Thomas Enevoldsen’s cross beyond Boris Mihaylov and just inside the far post in the 33rd minute. Twente responded just before half time through Marc Janko, the big Austrian stabbing the ball home after Wout Brama’s cross created panic in the Groningen box. With ten minutes to go, Theo Janssen – on as a half time substitute – found Janko with a beautifully weighted ball and the finish was good from a narrowing angle. Janko could have earned himself the matchball but saw a late penalty saved. PSV remain top though as VVV couldn’t cope with them. Wilfred Bouma volleyed in Ola Toivonen’s flick-on for a spectacular opener before quarter of an hour had been played and the game was all but safe on the stroke of half-time when Jeremain Lens swooped on a poor clearance and smacked it into the roof of the net. In the first minute of the second half, Atiba Hutchinson was played in down the inside right channel by Lens and finished sweetly with the outside of the right boot to seal the game and leave PSV top by a point, but they will face much better opposition than this in the future.

Ajax stumbled to a comprehensive defeat in Utrecht where the home fans were giving it the ‘olé’s as early as the 25th minute by which time their team was 2-0 ahead. Edouard Duplan got both in the space of a few minutes, the first as he struck one from the edge of the box across Maarten Stekelenburg and into the far top corner and the second a header as Dries Mertens stood up a cross to the back post. Ajax were awful and it could have been a landslide but for Stekelenburg. It took until nine minutes from time for the third to arrive as Michael Silberbauer crossed for Ismo Vostermans to tap in to complete the rout. Ajax need players, but need to sell in order to buy and if everyone knows how much they get for Suarez – if he does go – the prices will jack up. They do when Ajax come sniffing anyway, but that’s their own fault for paying a frankly ludicrous €15m for Miralem Sulejmani. And you wonder how they got in trouble...

Also very awful are Feyenoord, hence Don Leo walking now rather than, as previously advertised, at the end of the season. They were beaten by a solitary goal late in the game in Doetinchem as Leon Broekhof rose highest to meet a free-kick and head it in at Erwin Mulder’s near post.

VVV might be looking over their shoulders now at the fast-rising Willem II who, at the 20th time of asking, and I hope you’re sitting down for this, won! OK, so it was against a similarly awful Vitesse side, but everything has to start somewhere and this was Willem II’s day. The only goal came midway through the first half, Rangelo Janga reacting quickest as Eloy Room could only parry a long-range shot and the 18-year old poked it in beneath the recovering keeper. It has been a long time coming, so the celebrations – akin to that of Champions League winners – were fully justified. Excelsior are also still in trouble after they were beaten 3-0 and ended with ten men. They were already two behind in Kerkrade by the time Kaj Ramsteijn picked up a second booking, Jimmy Hempte and Pa Modou Kah with first-half goals, and Morten Skoubo made it three after the dismissal.

Heracles and AZ drew a blank in Almelo and it finished level in Nijmegen too where Marvin van der Pluijm grabbed a stoppage time equaliser for NAC. Vleminckx had put NEC ahead in the first half, but Nemanja Gudelj squared things up with little over ten minutes to go. They were level for just two minutes when John Goossens restored the home side’s lead with a 20-yard rasper, but they were to be denied by van der Pluijm’s deflected volley in the sixth minute of stoppages. ADO move up to eighth after a good win over Heerenveen with 18-year old Charlton Vicento teeing up Danny Buijs for the opener and thrashing in the second himself. Luciano Narsingh’s weaving run into the ADO box set up Bas Dost – one of the forwards Ajax are looking at – to pull one back, but the joy was short-lived as, within a minute, a long ball over the top found Lex Immers in the channel and he blasted in a decisive third for Den Haag.

Next week, PSV face the resurgent Willem II in Eindhoven while Twente are also at home against a Feyenoord side that look beaten in training. The board have been patient with Mario Been and have had their pound of flesh with Beenhakker’s departure. Whether that is enough remains to be seen. Ajax go to Breda to take on NAC while Groningen’s challenge continues with a trip to near neighbours Heerenveen.

NEC v Heracles

Vitesse v Roda JC

De Graafschap v Utrecht

AZ v VVV Venlo

PSV v Willem II

Excelsior v ADO

NAC v Ajax

Heerenveen v Groningen

Twente v Feyenoord

And a quick check of the news wires reveals... no sign of oil in Doetinchem just yet. Keep those fingers crossed Graafschap fans, maybe next week...

You can follow John on Twitter @dobsonjp.

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