It's a battle for the top spot in the Dutch Eredivisie on Saturday when Twente visit Amsterdam to take on Ajax. I suppose that's not entirely true because while Twente are top of the Eredivisie table on 15 points and Ajax are on 14 points, AZ Alkmaar is in the mix with 15 points of their own. Few expect AZ to stay there though. The expectation all along has been for Ajax and Twente to compete for the league crown and they'll look to take a step towards that crown at Amsterdam Arena.
Twente has only been slowed down once this season, losing two weeks ago at Roda JC. Unsurprisingly, that was their first match after the sale of Bryan Ruiz to Fulham. With Ruiz gone, there were concerns about how Twente would play and they didn't help ease any concerns with that loss to Roda JC, but they demolish ADO Den Haag 5-2 last week so maybe they won't skip a beat with Ruiz gone? Well that's unlikely, but they still may be good enough to challenge Ajax.
The question for Ajax is whether they can keep teams from scoring. They have allowed nine goals thus far, three more than any other team in the top four. It hasn't been pretty along the back line for Ajax, which is surprising considering they have Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen in the center of defense.
The Belgium pair are considered two of the better centerbacks in the league and both have plenty of international experience so they should be able to anchor the Ajax defense just fine, but they're not getting much help. The midfield is often a mess so intent on going forward that they forget they might have to tackle occasionally and Gregory van der Wiel has been a defensive mess on the right. It hasn't been the worst of defending for Ajax, but it certainly hasn't looking title-winning worthy.
Ajax has been able to get away with being shaky at the back because of a deadly attack. They lead the Eredivisie with 20 goals in just six matches this season. Kolbeinn Sigthorsson continues to dominate, putting in five goals already. Almost as important is the way he occupies defense and opens up space for Miralem Sulejmani and Derk Boerrigter to run off of him from the wings. Meanwhile, Christian Eriksen is in the midfield behind them.
In short, that Ajax attack is deadly and they will find the net against Twente, which will force the visitors to find goals of their own if they are going to keep up. Yes, they scored five against ADO Den Haag last week, but there's a big difference between Ajax and ADO. No Ruiz means it's time for someone else to step up. That task will fall to Marc Janko and Luuk De Jong, who now have the opportunity to take center stage, starting on Saturday in Amsterdam.