The Dutch Eredivisie may not be the most high-profile league in Europe, but it is a fantastically competitive league with a large number of talented players and some slick, enjoyable to watch teams.
Last season, only eleven points separated the top four and this isn’t too many compared to other leagues.
Look at the English Premier League for example – twenty points separated the 4th from 1st, while in Spain it was an even more significant 42 points.
Quite simply, this means that there are four teams who can consider themselves as title contenders, perhaps even more. Nobody is by far and away the best side and it makes for fascinating viewing.
This applies right the way down the league too. Every team is fighting to climb up the table and at the bottom, the battle to stay up starts on the very first day of the campaign.
It all sets up what should be a cracking few months of top flight football in Holland.
2012-13 Eredivisie Outright Winner Betting Odds
|Team||Outright Winner Odds|
|ADO Den Haag||251.00|
Dutch Eredivisie 2012/2013 Winner Preview
As mentioned, it could be a very tight battle for the title in Holland this year. Understandably, last year’s winner Ajax are the front runners at this stage though and can be backed at 2.63 (Paddy Power).
Holding their nerve last year, they secured the title by six points after a winning streak of 14 games at the end of the season. They really were unstoppable by the end and were deserved Champions.
In terms of their transfer activity this summer, as they look to build a squad capable of retaining their title, they have actually lost one of their most important players in the shape of Jan Vertonghen who has joined Tottenham.
Then, coming in, they have held back the cash so far and seem to be relying on the majority of players that helped them to success last year. There is always a young star around the corner for Ajax of course and another could emerge this season.
Some will see Ajax as more vulnerable than they were though with PSV Eindhoven the second favourites to win the league at 3.75. They would have been disappointed with last season of course as they finished 3rd, a reasonably significant seven points off the pace.
However, they appear to be a team on a mission this season. Manager Dick Advocaat has brought in six new players, including Mark Van Bommel from AC Milan and they are determined to win back the title they last won in 2008.
On paper, it should be a straight battle between Ajax and PSV. They are the two strongest teams with the most impressive history. With this in mind, PSV’s 4-2 win when the two teams met in the Schaal Cup has set down a marker and the battle has already begun.
However, it is common in the Dutch league for a team to invade the party. It is supposed to be a fight between Ajax and PSV, but nobody told that to Feyenoord when they finished 2nd last season or FC Twente when they became Champions in 2010 or AZ Alkmaar the year before that.
It is these three teams that have a chance of stopping the current front runners too. AZ are the third favourites at 8.00 (Betfred) and after a fourth place finish last year, they are perhaps searching for more goal threat this time around.
You then have FC Twente at 9.00 (bet365) who will be searching for plenty of improvements from last season. They showed promise at times, but a shocking run of four defeats in five games finished off any lingering title hopes they had.
They have been positive in the transfer market this summer though with Serbian forward Dusan Tadic their biggest hope of scoring the goals to fire them to a title challenge.
Feyenoord are the final team to mention, available at 10.00 (bwin) to go one better than last year. Beyond these teams, it would be a massive shock of a title contender, even for the Dutch league.
Dutch Eredivisie 2012/2013 Relegation Preview
Before looking at the candidates for relegation from the Dutch league, it is worth noting that the bottom two go down automatically, while there is a relegation play-off for the team finished in 16th.
This was a position that VVV Venlo found themselves in last season, although they managed to win their play-off to remain in the top flight. They are still one of the favourites for the drop though and a poor start could lead them to thinking ‘here we go again’.
However, with some winnable home games at the start of the campaign, they will hope they can take the momentum from surviving last year into a positive start. Then, who knows, perhaps they can go from strength to strength?
In reality though, their first aim will be to get enough points to stay in the league and the sooner this happens the better. This is the case for a lot of teams of course including NAC Breda, FC Groningen and ADO Den Haag.
Even the likes of Roda JC need to be careful. They may well have finished 10th last season, but they conceded more goals than any team outside the bottom three and must improve defensively this time around.
You then have the newly promoted clubs of course who are the favourites for the drop. Both FC Zwolle and Willem II will be up against it as they look to raise their game against the best teams in Dutch football.
Dutch Eredivisie 2012/2013 Top Goalscorer Preview
It is the same for any league in football – goals help teams be successful. If you are to meet your ambitions for the season, you need a significant goal threat. Whether this be from the team as a whole or one particular danger man, it is essential for every Eredivisie side.
Look at the list from last year for example, Ajax’s top goalscorer was Siem De Jong with 13 strikes, showing they spread out the goals.
Then, it was Heerenveen’s front man Bas Dost who led the way in the entire league with 32 goals. Finishing 5th in the table, they had a good season, but they were reliant on Dost.
He won’t be able to repeat this feat this time though as he moved to Wolfsburg in Germany this summer. Therefore, the golden boot race is well and truly open.
Sanharib Malki will be looking to replicate his exploits of last season for Roda JC. He scored 25 goals for the mid-table side and it will be interesting to see how he gets on this time around.
You can then not write off PSV duo Dries Mertens or Ola Toivonen, while title favourites Ajax are expecting big things of Miralem Sulejmani who could be a contender if he hits the ground running.