Pack leaders PSV to push Ajax aside and assert Eredivisie status
PSV Eindhoven, odds-on favourites at 8/15 with Coral to put Ajax out of their misery, can all but end the Eredivise title chase if they claim three points at the Philips Stadion.
Now an astounding 14 points ahead of the Amsterdam outfit, PSV are within touching distance of lifting the league trophy for the first time since 2008. Victory would add insult to Ajax’s injury, as the current Dutch champions had been aiming to win their fifth successive title.
Despite the gap, this clash between Dutch football royalty remains a huge draw, and will once again pit compatriot coaches and former clubmates Phillip Cocu and Frank de Boer against one another.
PSV have a perfect Eredivisie home record this campaign under Cocu, winning all 12 of their outings, making Ajax outsiders at 9/2 to triumph or a better value 10/3 to draw.
Pride will be at stake, however, and despite their indifferent season, De Boer will want his side to show what they are capable of in this thrilling headline fixture.
The highly-rated tactician was schooled at both Ajax and Barcelona, and has been linked to a host of Premier League sides after becoming the first Dutch coach to win four Eredivise titles on the bounce.
However, the 44-year-old recently announced he would be staying put for another season, stating: “Now it is time to provide clarity. If another club now rings the bell at Ajax or my agent, I will not open the door.
“I hope this clarity also gives a certain rest. I still feel a certain chemistry with the players,” added the former sweeper.
This news, plus qualification for the last-16 of the Europa League as PSV crashed out of the competition, should give the Dutch capital club a much needed confidence boost.
Ajax have lost just two of their past nine duels with PSV, and boast the talents of on-loan Bayer Leverkusen striker Arkadiusz Milik. Top scorer for De Boer’s boys, the prolific Poland poacher is 8/1 to fire home first or a fantastic 5/2 in the anytime market.
Meanwhile, fellow fledgling forward Anwar El-Ghazi is 3/1 to provide threat from the wing and strike anytime.
PSV also have a set of impressive and potent forwards to call upon. The league leaders have been sweeping opponents aside with ease this season and, after sinking Ajax 3-1 earlier this term, are great value at 13/8 to score three or more again.
Leading Eredivisie marksman and exciting talent Memphis Depay has racked up 15 league goals so far, making the powerful wing wizard 4/1 to open the scoring yet again or 7/5 in the anytime market.
Former Newcastle United flop Luuk de Jong has been almost as impressive as dangerous Depay and is 9/2 to grab a goal last, while much will also depend on flying fullback and top assist provider Jetro Willems.
With this talented trio at Cocu’s disposal, it seems unlikely Ajax will be able to spoil PSV’s party.