It was another entertaining season in Holland, with regular winners Ajax struggling during the first half of the season, with Chelsea-backed Vitesse leading the way early on. PSV – fresh from shedding high earners, were far from impressive throughout the season, the worst point being a 6-2 loss to Vitesse. Elsewhere Feyenoord had a great season, Graziano Pelle’s 23 goals fired them into the top 3 once again. At the wrong end of the table it was the same old faces – Roda, NEC and RKC Waalwijk all in the bottom three again, but would they survive another relegation playoff?
Here are the main facts and figures from the 2013/14 season:
Champions – Ajax (33rd Title), 2nd – Feyenoord (Both Champions League).
3rd – Twente, 4th – PSV (Both Europa League Qualifying stages)
5th-8th – Heerenveen, Vitesse, Groningen, AZ Alkmaar (Playoff for EL Qualifying spot – Groningen won)
Cup Winner – Zwolle – hammering Ajax 5-1 and gaining EL Qual spot.
Relegated – Roda (Automatic), RKC + NEC (Through playoff with 6 Jupiler League teams)
Promoted – Willem II (Champions), Dordrecht + Excelsior (via playoff)
- Alfred Finnbogason – 29 Goals (10 Assists)
- Graziano Pelle – 23 Goals
- Aron Johannsson – 17 Goals
- Dusan Tadic – 16 Goals (14 Assists)
- Dusan Tadic – 14 Assists
- Alfred Finnbogason – 10 Assists
- JP Boetius – 9 Assists
- Hakim Ziyech – 9 Assists
It was a rather strange season – Vitesse went off like a house on fire, with Ajax struggling early on drawing a lot of games. Twente threatened but lost at vital stages – ever reliant on Southampton bound Dusan Tadic and Luc Castaignos. PSV, now without the likes of Jeremain Lens, struggled all season, following a good result with a poor loss, usually against one of the lower teams, Cocu’s men never hit any consistency.
Ajax eventually hit their stride, occupying 1st place from the 18th game until the end of the season. Vitesse dropped like a stone, from 2nd after the 28th game to 6th by the end of the season. Feyenoord all the while quietly doing their business – but now have lost Janmaat, Pelle, Martins Indi and a few more to bigger sides from around Europe including Porto. They could well struggle next season, especially since Ronald Koeman has left too, taking Pelle to Southampton for £8m.
In the Cup, Ajax took on mid-table PEC Zwolle, thinking it was all but theirs. Zwolle played the game of their lives, and won 5-1, securing a Europa League qualifying spot in the early stages. Further down, the likes of Heerenveen, under Marco Van Basten, were frustrating – never looking comfortable in defence, and far too reliant on Finnbogason to get them out of trouble – his 29 goals helped them to 5th. Vitesse, in 6th, must be wondering what could have been. So dominant with a host of Chelsea players at the helm – including Lucas Piazon and Christian Atsu (dubbed the African Messi), but tailed off – rumours that Chelsea have an element of control and cannot compete in the same competition as them, possibly explaining why Vitesse went off the boil.
New boys Go Ahead Eagles and Cambuur did very well, holding their own against the big boys, and taking enough points to finish in 13th and 12th respectively. The rest were as usual, full of goals, lacking in defence and ultimately just trying to avoid relegation – NAC, Heracles etc
Roda, who finished 18th, were dreadful all season, only ever perking up a little when some of the bigger teams came to town. Same really with NEC – they were either 17th or 18th the entire season. RKC are another who always were around the relegation spots, also featured in the end of season relegation playoff, which consisted of 6 teams from the Eerste league and the 16th and 17th teams in the Eredivisie. Both of the bigger teams lost convincingly, with Dordrecht and Excelsior returning to the top flight. Willem II replaced Roda, coming up automatically as champion