ADO Den Haag v Waalwijk | Sunday 19th January 2020, 15:45
Enter Alan Pardew! The 58-year-old is back in the game, and rather surprisingly he was named the replacement for the departed Alfons Groenendijk on Christmas Eve as ADO Den Haag head coach. He has brought Chris Powell along with him for the ride, whilst he has signed Sam Stubbs, George Thomas and Laurens De Bock on loan from English clubs.
They’re certainly in need of a bit of help as they’re second from bottom after 18 matches, winning only three times. However they have a decent enough chance of gaining a fourth success as the team they face on Sunday is the only team below them in the table; Waalwijk.
Waalwijk have certainly taken their time to adjust to life at this level after promotion last season. It took them until November to win their first game, but they’ve since started to build up a little momentum as they’ve won two of their four games prior to the winter break. They’ll be hoping that break won’t halt their progress, and they’ll be facing a rejuvenated opponent.
One plus for ‘Pards’ is that this mid-season break came at a good time for him. He’ll have evaluated the squad and has had a few weeks to try and correct matters on the training ground. They’ve won a few friendly games in the process too, and this should have got a new face to impress, so motivation shouldn’t be in doubt for them.
The same is said of Sunday’s visitors however, although they’ve lost seven of their nine away and conceded 27 goals in the process. Only Fortuna Sittard have conceded more away goals than Waalwijk, so Head Coach Fred Grim, the former Ajax goalkeeper, will be looking for them to drastically improve defensively in the second half of the campaign. They’ve been conceding an average of 2.39 goals per game.
Ultimately this encounter pits together the bottom two of the Eredivisie together in what is the last game of the weekend. In this prime time televised slot for Dutch football, both will know the importance of victory and the possibly consequences of defeat. Pardew only has a deal until the end of the season and whilst this is his first game, even a defeat now could give them a big mountain to climb.
I like ADO Den Haag at home here. They’ve only won once at home all season but have drew each of their last four at Cars Jeans Stadion. That at least gives Pardew and Powell a framework to build from, and he has been working hard with them going forward to offer more freedom and license in attack.
A price of 11/10 (BoyleSports) tickles our fancy, and we just can’t go with Waalwijk given how vulnerable they can be on the road.
A positive atmosphere in the stands should welcome Pardew and I just feel that’ll trickle onto the pitch in a good way for the hosts. Also, ADO won the earlier season meeting 3-0, and also beat VVV 1-0 (just above them in the table) too, so they can get the job done in these big bottom of the table battles.
Independiente v River Plate | Sunday 19th January 2020, 22:10
The Argentinian Superliga gets up and running once again this weekend following their winter break. It is almost exactly a month since teams in the league have played, so it could be a case of improving as the game progresses in this one. That should possibly stand River Plate in good stead considering they’re generally deemed the more superior team, as they travel away to Independiente.
It has almost gone under the radar how tight this league really is. We’re 16 games or so into the campaign and it is one of those where several clubs are only separated by a handful of points. River in fifth and only six points in advance of Independiente, who are down in 15th.
First to 17th alone is only 10 points, so this league proves just how vital putting together a couple of wins really could be. River are hoping to bounce back after losing two of their last three in league action, whilst Sunday’s hosts are winless in three, including back-to-back home defeats.
If we were to use the league table from last season, this would present 5th against 7th, with Independiente actually finishing above River on that occasion. They’re looking to set the record straight having now won the league title since 2013/14. They’re still the most successful ever club in Argentinian football, having won the top flight on 36 occasions and been runners-up 33 times.
Independiente are fourth in that respective list with 16 titles, so they’re certainly a club with pedigree, although they’re struggling for form at present.
The issue with Independiente is that they aren’t the biggest of scorers. Only once this season has they scored more than twice in a game. On the flip side, River are the highest-scorers in the division and possess an array of offensive talent, but Independiente’s Silvio Romero is actually the top scorer in the league, so he is one for the visitors to keep an eye on.
We’ve touched upon how this is a bit of a rival game between two big Argentinian clubs, so motivation is high on both sides. It is three home defeats in their past four for Independiente, and that is a clear and obvious concern. Only four clean sheets is a worry, but then again, River has only kept five! Goals came be the name of the game in this one. However, just two of the last nine head-to-head has seen both teams score.
River of course lost the Copa Libertadores final to Flamengo in rather dramatic and heart-breaking fashion only last month. It is therefore no massive shock to see their league form suffering before and after this. The winter break therefore came at a good time for them, and you’d like to think they’ll use the agony of that heavy setback to really propel them in league action, where all their eggs and firmly in this basket.
Independiente I don’t think are the team of seasons past, a team that has finished 7th, 5th, 6th, 5th, 3rd, 3rd, and 5th in recent seasons. It has been a bit more of a struggle this time around, and whilst a game like this could restart their season, I do think River are the slightly safer call on Sunday.
River Plate to win is 21/20 (Bet365) and that will be our play. River hold the strongest away record in the league, and are yet to taste defeat on the road. They contain a much larger goal threat and I think that’ll be the decided factor.
ADO Den Haag v Waalwijk – ADO Den Haag (11/10 BoyleSport)
Independiente v River Plate – River Plate (21/20 Bet365)