This season has already been an interesting one in the Dutch Eredivisie. In the first eight matches of the 2015 2016 campaign, PSV Eindhoven-the reigning Netherlands football champs-have looked markedly weaker than they did at any point last season. AFC Ajax, meanwhile, who missed their chance at a fifth straight Eredivisie title in 2014 2015, have looked like a team headed back to the top of the podium. The two soccer clubs were expected to continue playing those disparate roles in their Sunday, October 4th rivalry match. Ajax were favored as both the home team and the team with the better record while Eindhoven were coming off a tough loss in last week's Champions League game. Surprisingly, though, PSV beat Ajax in 2015 showdown and ended up looking stronger than anyone expected.
The (No Longer) Undefeated Ajax
Coming into this match, Ajax were undefeated in the 2015 2016 Eredivisie. Indeed, aside from a draw with Twente on September 9th, the Lancers had been perfect all season. In the first seven games of the season, Twente were the only football club even to score points against Ajax.
PSV put an end to that undefeated run on Sunday, with a brace from Eindhoven attacker Gaston Pereiro giving the Peasants a leg up in the contest. Pereiro, who joined the Lancers from Uruguay's Nacional, scored just seven minutes into the fixture to provide the away team with the early lead. It was his first goal and first league start for PSV.
Not that the Lancers were daunted too much by Eindhoven's early strike. On the contrary, the wearers of the Ajax home jersey 2015 2016 struck back quickly, equalizing the score at the 10-minute mark with a point from German youngster Amin Younes. Like Pereiro, Younes is a new Eredivisie arrival this season, having transferred in from Germany's FC Kaiserslautern over the summer.
One of the reasons that PSV Eindhoven have been struggling this season is that they have been missing a few of their biggest soccer stars. Memphis Depay, the league's top scorer and PSV's best player from last season, transferred to Manchester United in one of the summer's biggest signings.
Luuk de Jong, meanwhile, who tallied 20 goals in Eindhoven's 2014 2015 Eredivisie campaign, was injured in PSV's September 26th game against NEC. He wasn't on the field for the soccer club's high-stakes rivalry match with Ajax.
Even without their best player, though, PSV Eindhoven clearly played the better game of football in Sunday's match. Despite the Lancers having the home field advantage, the Peasants dominated nearly 60 percent of the possession and took six on-target shots to Ajax's one.
The home team did have one golden opportunity to take control of the match in the second half, with attacker Viktor Fischer getting a promising shot on goal. The ball bounced off the post, effectively ending the Lancers' chances of escaping the match with a win. When Gaston Pereiro scored his second goal at the 79-minute mark, it was fairly clear that Eindhoven deserved the victory.
The League Standings
For now, PSV Eindhoven may have won the battle, but Ajax are winning the war. Indeed, the Lancers are currently leading the Eredivisie with 19 points. Feyenoord, in second place, also have 19 points but are trailing Ajax considerably in terms of goal difference (+7, versus Ajax's +15). Eindhoven, meanwhile, are in fourth place, with 17 points and +11 goal difference.
The Peasants have improved significantly since the early weeks of the 2015 2016 campaign when they settled for draws in two of their first three league games. Still, if PSV are going to defend their title this year, they are going to have to hope that Ajax's streak of shutting out nearly every team they play comes to an end soon. The Lancers will face a tough game next weekend when they play Heracles (the current third-place club in the Eredivisie) in an away fixture. Eindhoven, meanwhile, should have an easy win in a home match against Excelsior.
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