Eredivisie: Anxious PSV look to end slump
ROTTERDAM, February 8 (Eredivisie) - Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven travel to Sparta Rotterdam on Sunday desperate to end their worst run of results this season.
Last weekend's 3-2 defeat at the hands of AZ Alkmaar was not only the first time Ronald Koeman's side dropped league points at the Phillips Stadion this season, but their second straight loss following defeat to Roda JC the previous week.
And things will not get any easier this weekend for the champions when they face a Sparta side which has already defeated Ajax 3-0 on home soil and is unbeaten in their last five Eredivisie fixtures.
What seemed an unassailable 11-point lead in January has since been slashed to five points by Ajax, who heaped further misery on the Koeman family, barely breaking sweat to beat brother Erwin's Feyenoord in a 4-1 mauling in Sunday's 'Klassieker'.
And the Amsterdam side will fancy their chances of piling pressure on PSV this weekend as they travel to ADO Den Haag as second top plays second bottom at Het Zuiderpark.
Lex Schoenmaker's side halted a run of three consecutive defeats by holding FC Utrecht to a draw last weekend, but they still remain six games without an Eredivisie victory.
Fourth-placed FC Twente will attempt to preserve the only unbeaten home record remaining in the Eredivisie when they host fifth-placed Feyenoord.
The men from Enschede have made the Arke Stadion into a fortress this season, winning 10 of their 11 league matches and drawing once, and are yet to drop a point in 2007 with three wins out of three including a 2-1 win at Willem II last Saturday.
Feyenoord, who have conceded eight goals in their last two away games, will be looking to bounce back from last week's defeat at the Amsterdam ArenA and could close the gap on their nearest-placed rivals to two points.
One team certain to be watching that game with interest is third-placed AZ who moved within six points of PSV following last weekend's shock win over the league leaders.
Louis van Gaal's side will stake their title credentials against Willem II side without a win in four at Tilburg Alkmaarder Hout on Saturday.
Saturday sees Heerenveen host Vitesse Arnhem at the Abe Lenstra Stadion hoping to stretch their unbeaten run beyond five games as sixth plays ninth.
Gertjan Verbeek's side are at home and will hope to extend their six-point lead over the Geel en Zwart (Yellow and Blacks) who themselves are unbeaten in their last four.
Roda JC and NEC Nijmegen will both look to go one better following draws last weekend when they go head-to-head at the Parkstad Limburg Stadion on Saturday.
Excelsior can climb out of the bottom three - for a day at least - when they play FC Groningen on Friday.
NAC Breda will hope to boost their European credentials on Sunday when they face FC Utrecht at Nieuwe Galgenwaard.
Both sides have lost just one of their last five games, with Breda edging out bottom side RKC Waalwijk by a 2-1 scoreline last weekend while Utrecht were held by struggling ADO 1-1.
Relegation rivals RKC Waalwijk and Heracles Almelo vie for three precious points at the Mandemakers Stadion on Saturday as the home side look to end a winless streak of eight games.
Waalwijk's search for a win goes on after 2-1 loss at Breda, while Heracles will look to end a run of 10 games without a win despite drawing four of their last five.