Two teams entered the season as big title favorites. Ajax were the defending champions and favorites, primed to make it two straight titles as they found replacements for the players who departed for other clubs. There's no doubt that the smart money was on them to bring home the title, but they had one team that looked capable of toppling the men from Amsterdam. That was Twente and both teams got a bit of a challenge this week.
Twente answered the call on Saturday by tearing AZ Alkmaar apart, but that was nothing compared to what Ajax did to Heerenveen on Sunday. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you your two Dutch Eredivisie favorites, Ajax and Twente.
Ajax 5-1 Heerenveen
There was a time when this match was competitive. In fact, Ajax only led at the break because of a wonder strike by Toby Alderweireld. That goal put Ajax in front after the two teams traded goals in the first half and it looked like Heerenveen was going to be in this one until the final whistle.
Then the second half started. Christian Eriksen picked out Derk Boerrigter to make it 3-1 in the 51st minute. Eriken played the role of creator once more when he found Gregory Van der Wiel, but his shot hit the crossbar, but that didn't stop it from becoming painfully obvious that Eriken was the star of the show. Miralem Sulejmani finished well on a great team goal to make it 4-1 before Van der Wiel finally beat the post in the final minute to make it 5-1 and send a message to the rest of the league, "come and get us."
FC Utrecht 2-2 De Graafschap
Last week was all about coming back from two goals down for the draw in the Eredivisie so Utrecht, or more accurately Jacob Mulenga, decided to remind us of what it was like. Rydell Poepon put De Graafschap on top when he was able to put home a rebound after 14 minutes despite Utrecht incensed that he was not called for offisde. Soufian El Hassnaoui single-handedly doubled the lead after an hour when he broke down the left, ran the length of the pitch then cut in before finishing for the two-goal lead.
Utrecht would not go away though with Mulenga getting on the end of a cross in the 77th minute and chipping the keeper to halve De Graafschap's lead. Mulenga erased the lead five minutes later when he was played in on goal and while his finish wasn't picture perfect, it did crawl over the goal line for an equalizer.
FC Groningen 4-2 ADO Den Haag
Tim Matavz, step forward and claim your prize. The Groningen striker picked up a hat trick to lead Gronigen to their first win of the season. First he headed home a cross. Next he collected a pass before firing low to make it two. Instead of taking a pass for his third he nodded home a ball off of the crossbar. That was all before halftime, then Leandro Bacuna scored three minutes after the break and it was 4-0 Groningen. Two goals before the hour mark put ADO back in the match, but it wasn't nearly enough as Matavz won the match and my heart.
Hercales 2-1 NAC Breda
Heracles was able to overcome a halftime deficit to keep NAC in search of their first point of the season. Jordy Buijs put the visitors in front in the first half when he nodded home a free kick from 10 yards, but that was as good as it got for NAC. Heracles came out flying in the second half and equalized in the 66th minute when Willy Overtoom converted a penalty. Ten minutes later, Everton did his best imitation of Bujis, nodding home a free kick of his own for the winner as Heracles improved to four points on the year.