After having their chances of a historic fifth consecutive Eredivisie title dashed last season, AFC Ajax is back on top for the Dutch Eredivisie 2015/16 season. The Lancers had an opportunity last weekend to expand their lead in the league even further, in a high-profile match against top title competitors Feyenoord. Ajax managed to retain their lead drawing the match 1-1. However, the draw did open up the door for PSV Eindhoven-whose season started out slowly, following their 2014 2015 title win-to worm their way back into the title conversation.
Ajax vs. Feyenoord
Ajax have played a strong season so far. They've won nine of their 12 matches and scored 31 goals while only conceding six. The football club's excellent offensive and defensive lines make the Lancers the natural frontrunners for the 2015/16 Eredivisie trophy, as evidenced by their impressive +25 goal difference.
Still, despite the solid play, the Lancers have choked in the moments where their wins would have mattered most. In early October, they suffered their first (and thus far, only) loss of the season, allowing PSV Eindhoven to beat them at home. And just a few weeks ago, Ajax lost a KNVB Cup match against Feyenoord.
In other words, the Lancers just can't seem to force wins against their fiercest rivals. That fact is holding the soccer club back from completely dominating the 2015 2016 Eredivisie campaign, instead of just leading the way by a couple of points and a comfortable goal difference cushion.
The Sunday, November 8th match against Feyenoord didn't see Ajax becoming any more assertive or dominant as league leaders. While the Lancers had the edge in terms of possession, the Feyenoord home team came out guns blazing, creating more scoring opportunities and opening the scoring with a 38-minute goal from Sven van Beek.
Ajax equalized the score midway through the second half, with Davy Klaassen converting an assist from Arek Milik. Still, the Lancers could never take the lead, and ultimately had to settle for a 1-1 draw instead of a satisfying victory.
The Current Standings
The stalemate outcome of the Ajax-Feyenoord match shook things up a bit in the Eredivisie standings-though, fortunately for fans in the Ajax home jersey 2015/16, the shake-up hurt Feyenoord more than it hurt the Lancers.
Ajax, thanks to their cushion of wins from earlier in the season, remain two points ahead of the rest of the field in the 2015/16 Dutch Eredivisie. PSV Eindhoven, meanwhile, thanks to a 3-1 win against Utrecht over the weekend, have propelled themselves into second place, with 27 points. Feyenoord, following the draw with Ajax and a loss against ADO Den Haag a week earlier, fall to third place with 26 points.
PSV's return to the winner's circle is impressive, given the football club's slow start to the 2015 2016 season. Eindhoven drew two of their first three matches this season. At the time, PSV looked like they were sorely missing the presence of Memphis Depay, who scored 22 goals last season to lead the football club to an Eredivisie title. Depay transferred to Manchester United during the offseason.
Now, PSV Eindhoven have figured out how to play without their former hero. Luuk de Jong has picked up Depay's slack, scoring 10 goals in the first 12 fixtures of the season. Only Feyenoord's Dirk Kuyt has matched that tally in the 2015 2016 Eredivisie. The Lancers' top scorer, Anwar El Ghazi, has scored eight goals so far this fall.
The bottom line? All three of these teams have very real chances at winning the 2015/16 Eredivisie title, with the Ajax-Feyenoord draw having served to "level the playing field" in a big way. It will be interesting to see where things go next when Netherlands domestic soccer resumes on November 21st.
Do you think the wearers of the Ajax jersey 2015/16 have a shot at starting a new Eredivisie streak this season? Or will Feyenoord or PSV Eindhoven win the fight? Find Soccer Box on social media to share your thoughts about the 2015 2016 Eredivisie season! You can find us on multiple social platforms including Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.