Five Games to Watch

Five Games to Watch: Two crackers in the Eredivisie and Arsenal v Man City

Ajax, AZ, PSV, and Feyenoord are all in action in the Netherlands.

 
10:00am on Friday 13th December 2019
By
Martin Macdonald

AZ v Ajax" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/eredivisie-AZ-afc-Ajax/preview/1647297">

AZ v Ajax

It hasn't been a good week for Ajax. Last weekend they lost part of their lead at the top of the Eredivisie after losing to Willem II which was then followed up by elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Valencia. It is important that they bounce back this Sunday as they take on AZ Alkmaar in what is a top-of-the-table clash between the top two sides in the league. While Ajax are on a bit of a downer, AZ are currently flying and have won six consecutive matches in the league, including a 3-0 win away at Zwolle last week. Both home sides won their respective home games last season, with Ajax Winning 5-1 and AZ 1-0.

PLAYER TO WATCH

31 yrs - F (CL) - Ajax
83
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1362
Played matches
16
7
12
Shots P90
2.44
Shots On target P90
0.93
Successful passing %
77%
Final third passes P90
28.15

Ajax haven't scored in the aforementioned two losses last week, so will need the Serbian to get back to scoring ways if they are to extend their lead over AZ.

Feyenoord v PSV" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/eredivisie-Feyenoord-rotterdam-PSV/preview/1647299">

Feyenoord v PSV

The team just below those two in the league is PSV, who take on Feyenoord in another clash of two of the biggest clubs in the Netherlands. Even though Feyenoord are down in eighth, they are on a good run and haven't lost in five games, while PSV have won two out of the last three. Feyenoord enjoyed the better of the league matches last season, winning 2-1 at the Stadion Feijenoord before earning a 1-1 draw away at the Philips Stadion.

PLAYER TO WATCH

20 yrs - F (CL) - PSV
83
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1139
Played matches
13
11
2
Shots P90
4.42
Shots On target P90
2.45
Successful passing %
78%
Final third passes P90
17.15

Malen is emerging as one of the best young talents in Dutch football, and after scoring 11 goals in 13 matches, represents PSV's best chance of finding the back of the net here.

Arsenal v MANCHESTER CITY

Pep Guardiola's side are coming off a damaging league defeat to Manchester United last weekend which they made up for, slightly, by impressively beating Shakhtar 4-1 away in the Champions League. Here, they host Arsenal who won for the first time under caretaker boss Freddie Ljungberg on Monday against West Ham. The Gunners' recent record against City is poor as they haven't won the fixture since eight games ago in 2015. This week went from good news to bad with the win over West Ham followed by news that Kieran Tierney would be injured for three months, while Nicolas Pepe is also a doubt.

PLAYER TO WATCH

22 yrs - S (C), AM (R) - Man City
86
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
727
Played matches
13
5
1
Shots P90
4.70
Shots On target P90
1.98
Successful passing %
87%
Final third passes P90
10.88

Jesus has deputised admirably since the injury to Sergio Aguero, and scored a hat-trick in his latest game for City in the Champions League midweek.

Valencia v Real Madrid" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/primera-division-Valencia-cf-real-madrid-cf/preview/1696541">

Valencia v Real Madrid

The current title race is one of the closest in recent memory as neither Barcelona nor Real Madrid has established a meaningful lead yet, with both clubs currently sitting on 34 points from 15 matches. A tough test this weekend for Madrid, though, as they travel to Valencia to face Los Che who will no doubt be buoyed by their Champions League progression during the week after beating Ajax away. In the last fixture between the pair, Valencia won 2-1 at the Mestalla thanks to goals from Goncalo Guedes and Ezequiel Garay.

PLAYER TO WATCH

31 yrs - S (C) - Real Madrid
99
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1214
Played matches
14
11
5
Shots P90
4.23
Shots On target P90
1.93
Successful passing %
86%
Final third passes P90
17.42

Benzema has probably been Madrid's best player this season, and after being rested from the starting XI from the match against Club Brugge during the week, he should be raring to go at the Mestalla.

Fiorentina v Inter" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/serie-a-acf-Fiorentina-fc-InternAZionale-milano/preview/1744736">

Fiorentina v Inter

After the results last weekend in which Inter drew with Roma and Juventus lost against LAZio, the NerAZzurri currently hold a two-point lead at the top of the table, making this game against Fiorentina arguably must-win due to the proximity of Juve below. Antonio Conte's men are coming off a damaging defeat in the Champions League which resulted in them being knocked out of the competition, so their attentions will further be positioned towards success in the league. The Viola, meanwhile, are on a shocking run of just one win in eight matches.

PLAYER TO WATCH

26 yrs - ST (C) - Inter
90
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1258
Played matches
15
10
0
Shots P90
3.08
Shots On target P90
1.50
Successful passing %
70%
Final third passes P90
12.23

The Belgian is Inter's top scorer in the league this season and was the player who looked most likely to find an equaliser against Barcelona in the Champions League. He is playing with confidence, and represents a major threat to Fiorentina.

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