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Preview: PSV Eindhoven vs Ajax – prediction, team news, line-ups

High-flying PSV Eindhoven and out-of-sorts Ajax will serve up an Eredivisie classic at the Philips Stadion on Sunday afternoon. 

Form isn’t a factor in rivalries of this magnitude, but it’s been a while since the Peasants last had such a significant upper hand over the Amsterdam outfit in this blockbuster fixture. 

While Peter Bosz’s side sit at the top of the standings as the only Eredivisie side with a 100% league record in 2023/24 (W9), the Lancers remain stuck in the drop zone amid the club’s worst start since 1964/65.

PSV cannot catch a break in European football, squandering a second-half lead in a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Lens in midweek Champions League action. 

Although they have yet to win a game in Group B (D2, L1), the Dutch giants have reigned supreme in domestic proceedings, returning a resounding +27 goal difference from the opening nine league matches.

By contrast, Ajax’s domestic campaign has been an unmitigated disaster as they’ve only won once in seven games (D2, L4), going down 4-3 to fellow relegation-threatened strugglers Utrecht last weekend. 

Utrecht put the final nail in manager Maurice Steijn’s coffin as the record-time Dutch champions relieved him of his duties after losing four Eredivisie outings on the bounce. 

Last season’s third-place finish was considered a catastrophe, considering it was the first time since 2009 that Ajax ended a season outside the top two.

Given the team’s current state, last season’s final placing was a dream finish.

Match Preview

Despite Ajax’s humiliating start to the season, PSV’s quest to lift the Eredivisie title for the first time since 2017/18 is anything but plain sailing, with second-placed AZ Alkmaar only one point behind Bosz’s side.

Reigning champions Feyenoord are also in the mix as the third remaining unbeaten side in the Dutch elite division, but this is the Peasants’ chance to put their stamp on the title race. 

They’ve had no mercy for their visitors this season, winning all five league matches in Eindhoven by multiple-goal margins while averaging three goals per game.

Last season’s 3-0 win in this fixture is in line with PSV’s formidable current form, and it’s worth noting that the last time they defeated Ajax in two straight home league H2Hs, that was the scoreline at the final whistle.

Caretaker boss Hedwiges Maduro couldn’t offer any upgrade on Steijn’s previous regime in midweek Europa League action as Ajax lost 2-0 at Brighton & Hove Albion without any resistance. 

The former Lancers defender must handle another mammoth task, with the troubled Amsterdam giants seeking their first Eredivisie win outside the Johan Cruijff Arena since mid-May.

After back-to-back away draws at the beginning of the new campaign, Maduro’s underachieving side have lost on their last two league travels, conceding at least three goals on both occasions. 

With all of the squad’s shortcomings and confidence at an all-time low, the 38-year-old will need a magic stick to prevent Ajax from losing two consecutive away league meetings with PSV for the first time since 2018.

Team News

PSV are without long-term absentees Armel Bella-Kotchap, Armando Obispo and Mauro Junior, while Noa Lang’s availability remains questionable due to a minor fitness problem.

Like injuries to Geronimo Rulli, Devyne Rensch and Georges Mikautadze were not troubling enough, Ajax picked up a fresh injury scare against Brighton. 

Captain Steven Bergwijn hobbled off the field holding his thigh midway through the second half and will likely miss out on his side’s trip to Eindhoven.

PSV Eindhoven potential starting line-up:

(4-3-3): Walter Benitez; Sergino Dest, Andre Ramalho, Olivier Boscagli, Jordan Teze; Joey Veerman, Malik Tillman, Jerdy Schouten; Hirving Lozano, Johan Bakayoko, Luuk de Jong. 

Ajax potential starting line-up:

(4-3-3): Diant Ramaj; Anton Gaaei, Josip Sutalo, Jorrel Hato, Borna Sosa; Kenneth Taylor, Benjamin Tahirovic, Steven Berghuis; Carlos Forbs, Chuba Akpom, Brian Brobbey. 

We Say: PSV Eindhoven 3-0 Ajax

Momentum and quality are firmly on PSV’s side, and we can envisage another thumping victory for the home team.

Ajax showed no signs of life against Brighton and were lucky Roberto De Zerbi’s men took their feet off the gas after going 2-0 up.

Given the history of this fixture, PSV will probably not extend them the same courtesy.  

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