KNVB Cup Final Preview: PSV targeting back-to-back wins over Ajax

This Sunday Ajax take on PSV Eindhoven at De Kuip in the KNVB Cup Final. The two sides met in the league last week, in a game that saw PSV cruise to a 3-0 victory. John Heitinga’s Ajax will be hoping to bounce back and claim some silverware in what’s been a frustrating season overall for the Amsterdam giants. 

Last weekend’s defeat left Ajax third in the Eredivisie, three points behind PSV in second place and 11 points off first place Feyenoord. Ajax haven’t finished a season lower than second place since the 08/09 campaign when John van ’t Schip was in charge. Current boss John Heitinga has won 12 of his 17 games since he succeeded Alfred Schreuder in January. The 39-year-old will be looking to shine some light on Ajax’s sombre season this Sunday. 

Ruud van Nistelrooy’s PSV have had an impressive season so far. After losing the likes of Cody Gakpo to Liverpool and Noni Madueke to Chelsea in January, fans might have been expecting a slight slip in form. Top scorer Xavi Simons and the experienced Luuk de Jong have both stepped up and scored a combined total of 33 goals across all competitions this season. The pair were both on target in last Sunday’s victory over Ajax. They’ll be hoping to produce the same kind of performance this weekend. Ajax have won a record 20 KNVB Cups in their history. PSV claimed their 10th Cup with a 2-1 victory over Ajax in last season’s final. 

PSV are set to stick with Joël Drommel in goal this weekend. The 26-year-old has featured in all four of his side’s KNVB Cup matches this campaign, keeping clean sheets in each of them. Midfielder Joey Veerman is a doubt due to illness and Brazilian left-back Mauro Junior misses out due to a knee injury.

Ajax, on the other hand, will be without 20-year-old defender Devyne Rensch, who has been out of action for more than a month with a thigh injury. Mohammed Kudus will most likely be unavailable due to a hamstring injury. Steven Berghuis, Steven Bergwijn and captain Dusan Tadic are all expected to keep their places up top, with Davy Klaassen, Florian Grillitsch and Kenneth Taylor in midfield. Defender Edson Álvarez was suspended last Sunday. The Mexican will be available for this weekend’s crucial clash. 

It’s difficult to call who will come out on top, but PSV carry more of the momentum having beaten Ajax for the fifth time in a row last Sunday. Ruud van Nistelrooy’s side are currently holding a 12-game unbeaten run in all competitions, while Ajax have lost two and drawn one of their last 10 games. Ajax will be determined to put an end to PSV’s impressive run and claim the silverware for themselves, but keeping PSV quiet will be a difficult task seeing as they’ve scored 16 times in their last five games. This is certainly set up to be an exciting encounter.

GBeNeFN Hugo Hargreaves

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