Okay, just some basic thoughts, advices and ideas for the new season. First of all, as everyone betting and following the football, I have a favorite team which should make me biased in some bets. I am a huge Ajax fan, even with season ticket, so that is my bias. I will make it as objective as possible, keep it to facts and figures, not towards personal favorites
Well, it in my eyes it will be a two-horse race again between Ajax and PSV with Ajax as winner.
Feyenoord is building and building, but at the moment it is all build on the oldies. Timmer in the goal, De Cler in defense, Van Bronckhorst in midfield, Makaay and Tomasson upfront. Great names, great careers, but it is not the quality anymore that they have to compete with. Sure, Feyenoord still has some talent around with Bruins, DeGuzman and Wijnaldum - but the defense is just mediocre and not good enough to compete with PSV or Ajax. Further their squad is just too small to have a good replacement when someone falls away. Tomasson and Makaay were unavailable yesterday; they played with Mols and Biseswar... Although Verbeek is an excellent coach, he will just hope for the best with this team.
SC Heerenveen and FC Twente are getting closer to the traditional top 3 we had for years with Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord. They are already on the same level as Feyenoord at the moment to be honest. Both teams have great management, great scouts, well-invested and this season both a new trainer. Sollied at Heerenveen and McClaren at Twente. Heerenveen lost one of their key players in Sulejmani, while also Zuiverloon left them. They bought great talent again, with Janmaat, Popov and Elyounoussi, plus the experience of Bona Kalou. I always have liked Heerenveen as a team, their style and players - they founded great players in the past and will probably have again, but being better over 34 games then Ajax and PSV? No, not this season.
FC Twente will play in the qualification of the CL vs. Arsenal, tough match up. They lost their trainer Rutten, replaced by McClaren. They've lost Engelaar and El-Ahmadi, the heart of the midfield. They bought Tiote and Janssen, while they got Rajkovic of Chelsea on loan. In my opinion they were playing so well last year due to the trainer and the two guys in midfield, plus an excellent defense. But this season it will not be as good as last season. Their attack is decent, their midfield is ok, their defense is above decent and they have an experienced goalie. But I cannot see McClaren building a really good team like they were last year.
So, why didn't I mention NAC, number 3 of last season? They were in a flow coached by an excellent trainer who got them playing like a real team in a perfect tactic. This season, new coach, new players, new plans - and right back at where they belong, around 7 or 8. Maybe.
The last one who could give the two teams a run for their money could be AZ. They were on the top of world two seasons ago with a third place, a good run in the UEFA Cup and a cup final. They were absolutely useless last season. Not a team, not any quality, not any name worthy result or performance. Even defending in the end to stay above the relegation zone. This season they will be up and running again, but I don't know how they will be playing. I think it is very important that Schaars has returned from injuries, while they got some decent young players as well. It will be probably be a battle with Feyenoord, Twente and Heerenveen for the European places in the end of the season.
Ajax or PSV it is.
Ajax has spent a lot of money, buying Sulejmani for 16m, Cvitanich for 6m, Aissati for 4m and Oleguer for 4m. And it has been invested in all quality players. There has been a complete make-over in Amsterdam. New board, new chairman, new director and a new coaching staff - and they all breathe one thing: Ajax. Van Basten and Van 't Schip have joined Ajax together after coaching the Dutch national team for 4 years, and they just want to bring their former club back at where it should be, the top of the table. Ajax has the most dangerous players up front of the whole league. Suarez, 17 goals and 14 assists, Huntelaar 33 goals and Sulejmani 15 goals and 10 assists. And that was in the first season of Suarez at Ajax and the first season of Sulejmani on the highest level. You can only think they should be even better now. Then there are still players like Luque, Perez, Aissati, De Jong, Leonardo, and Kennedy walking around. In the defense a much needed experienced defender has been bought in the name of Oleguer, while probably Wielaert will be an Ajacied soon as well.
On the other hand we have PSV. They have sold Gomes and Farfan, and bought Isaksson, Rodriguez, Brechet and Amrabat. Every season people say there has been so much change in Eindhoven; they can't be competing for the championship! And every time they do and win it. That was for the last 4 seasons. When they were coached by Hiddink it was an excellent team, when Koeman was there coach it was mediocre, but still winning. Last season it was unbelievable messy, with three different coaches and a big bomb exploding after the season, but hey, still champions! Thing is, they haven't been dominating, but they had a really good goalie Gomes, who really have saved points for the team. And now he is gone. There is again a new trainer in Stevens. There are again new players to be fit in. But it will be still a decent and experienced team. Lazovic, Koevermans, Amrabat and new guy Manco, plus perhaps Jovanovic from Standard - they are decent strikers, but they are not as dangerous as Suarez and Sulejmani of Ajax.
At the moment I seriously and honestly rate Ajax as the best team. Quality wise, team wise and motivation wise. PSV will be a good 2nd, while I think Heerenveen will be better then Feyenoord and Twente over 34 matches. Still, the deadline for transfers is a still a month long, but as far as Ajax, probably another defender will be coming, and Huntelaar might leave, but that is a very small chance. PSV is aiming for a striker, prob Jovanovic, and there is a small chance Affelay might leave. Feyenoord has no money for any players, while Heerenveen still as a bunch left. Maybe a new goalie.
Ajax tb champion @ 2.30 (unibet) 6/10
Heerenveen tb Feyenoord @ 2.35 2/10
Ajax tb Feyenoord + PSV tb Feyenoord @ 1.51 4/10
Later today I will post the preview for the rest and the first weekend of the season.