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Weblog: The football punter

Thriving strikers to help PSV keep pace with Ajax

Premier Sports 2, 7.45pm Thursday

PSV have won just two of seven away games this year but are still in the thick of the Eredivisie title race and can move level on points with Ajax by beating Willem II.

Leaders Ajax have the advantage because their goal difference is 13 better than PSV’s.

All PSV can do is win their remaining three games and hope for Ajax to drop points in one of their last two.

Mark van Bommel’s side led the division between late August and late March but have played catch up since last month’s 3-1 loss to Ajax at the Amsterdam Arena.

Luuk de Jong tops their scoring charts with 27 goals although he wasn’t among the scorers when PSV smashed Willem II 6-1 at the Phillips Stadion in September.

Mexican striker Hirving Lozano (17 goals in 29 league games) and Steven Bergwijn (13 in 30) are the other main threats that Willem II have to contend with and it is doubtful that the hosts will keep them all in check.

Willem II have plenty to play as they strive to climb into the top seven and secure a place in the post-season playoffs.

Teams finishing between fourth and seventh contest the playoffs with the winners advancing to the second round of Europa League qualifying.

However, Willem II may have their minds on the Dutch cup final against Ajax which takes place on May 5.

None of their players will want to miss the showpiece event and slipping of standards will make life easier for PSV in their quest for three crucial points.

PSV will be looking to make the game safe as soon as possible and there is value in backing them to lead at half-time and full-time at odds-against.

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Match in Focus

19:45 TODAY

Dundalk v FK Qarabag

Home WinDrawAway Win
Key stats
  • Qarabag have score nine goals in their last four matches
Expert verdict
Qarabag are seasoned European campaigners and are likely to find little resistance from Dundalk. The Azerbaijan side eased past Partizani despite a shaky opening away leg, while Dundalk have failed to score in their last four qualifiers and beat Latvian side Riga on penalties to qualify for this encounter.