Ajax will look to consolidate their standing in first in the Eredivisie when they travel to RKC Waalwijk on Saturday at 5.45pm (UK time).
It’s been business as usual for the Amsterdammers in the post-Erik ten Hag era, with summer appointment Alfred Schreuder maintaining Ajax’s habitual place atop the Eredivisie table — his side have lost just one of their opening 10 matches. RKC Waalwijk have also enjoyed a comparatively bright start, with the recent Eredivisie strugglers up in seventh and losing just two of their opening 10 games.
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Where to watch RKC Waalwijk v Ajax on TV:
- UK: Mola TV
- US: ESPN+
RKC Waalwijk team news
Joseph Oosting has just one major injury concern heading into this crunch clash with the Dutch top flight champions. Thierry Lutonda was forced off against Fortuna Sittard last time out, and has been rendered a major doubt for this match, opening the door for Luuk Wouters to slot in.
Ajax team news
Kenneth Taylor and Devyne Rensch are nursing respective knocks sustained against Volendam. The academy gems subsequently missed the club’s recent 7-1 win over Excelsior last time out and remain doubtful here.
The one(s) that got away?
Speaking of academy prospects, Taylor and Rensch are two fine examples of Ajax players who have risen through the club’s famed youth set-up in recent times. But there have been a few who have slipped through the net, one of whom is taking the Eredivisie by storm this campaign.
Ramiz Zerrouki has continued his upward trajectory at FC Twente since moving to the club from Ajax as a precocious midfield jewel. This season alone, the Algeria international has registered the most combined tackles and interceptions (57) of any player in the Eredivisie. Incredibly, that merged metric places him third in Europe’s top seven leagues.
Zerrouki is certainly not alone when it comes to academy prospects who flew the Amsterdam nest before they blossomed. Yossi Benayoun famously spent a year in the Ajax academy and was even offered a four-year deal at 16, such was the impression he made. But, he returned to Israel after struggling to adjust to life in the Netherlands, and ultimately went on to establish himself as a creative force for West Ham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool in the Premier League.
In fact, such was his influence in the English top flight that the Israeli centurion became the first player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup. Only Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane have matched him since. Keep an eye out for Erling Haaland in 2023.
Borussia Dortmund’s Donyell Malen and Liverpool defender Ki-Jana Hoever are two others who have risen to prominence away from the Johan Cruyff Arena, while Ajax had to break their transfer record to bring one-time academy prospect Steven Bergwijn back to the Dutch capital.
Eredivisie 2022/23 recent form:
- RKC Waalwijk: DWDWL
- Ajax: WWDLW
Scoreline prediction: RKC Waalwijk 0-2 Ajax
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