With the Eredivisie in hibernation, there's no better opportunity to look back on the last five months. Here is WhoScored’s team of the season so far.
Robbin Ruiter – FC Utrecht
The summer just gone marked five years since Edwin van der Sar retired from international duty. At the time many observers feared the goalkeeper position would become a troublesome one for Oranje. Their vision hasn't come to pass, and though it's unlikely Ruiter will be getting a call-up anytime soon, you can't take away the fact he's been the top performing 'keeper, making 5.2 saves per game – the second highest in the Eredivisie – including 3 penalty saves already this season.
Kelvin Leerdam – Vitesse
Five goals from right-back is something to shout about. For a long time the question surrounding Leerdam is whether he could fulfil his potential. At his former club Feyenoord he showed glimpses and it's fair to say at Vitesse he is displaying what his coaches all those years ago saw. Leerdam is one of the more attacking right-backs in the division: a strong dribbler who loves to maraud forward, at times acting as an auxiliary winger. He has, though, continued to be reliable on the back-foot: making 23 interceptions, 36 tackles and 58 clearances this season. The chances of him breaking into the Dutch national team before next summer's World Cup are slim given the competition but all he can do is give Louis van Gaal a headache.
Eric Botteghin – FC Groningen
"In Holland central defenders are judged in another way," as Mark Wotte put it. They're expected to combine the art of defending with playmaking and Eric Botteghin – though Brazilian – fits that mould. He's a 'number three' or ball-playing central defender. Ever-present this season, he's number one for FC Groningen when it comes to passes: 993 (55.2 per game) and in terms of accurate long balls (94), interceptions (69) and tackles (54). All in all he is a reliable presence at the back both in terms of attack and defence.
Jan-Arie van der Heijden – Vitesse
A graduate of Ajax's esteemed academy, Van der Heijden is everything you'd expect. He is what the Dutch would call a 'footballing defender'. He doesn't resort to physicality, instead resolving situations through good positional sense. Van der Heijden would rather use his vision, skill on the ball, technique and passing first and foremost. That is proving to be the case: he is making 74.9 passes per game.
Jetro Willems – PSV
Injuries curtailed what had been a promising start as a professional for Willems, who has this season fought back amidst what has been a difficult second half of 2013 for PSV (made worse given this year is their centenary). Alongside Memphis Depay, his partner in crime on the left side, Willems has been one shining light. Attack is the best form of defence for his (2 goals from 15 shots 1 assist from 21 chances created). He remains inconsistent and prone to lapses in concentration, but has the attributes to become an excellent full-back.
Quincy Promes – FC Twente
'Carpe diem' as the saying goes. Promes has done exactly that in becoming an integral part of Twente's attack in what is his first season in the top-flight. "He's made an immediate impression," manager Michel Jansen told Voetbal International. Promes, as you can imagine, possesses the traits to become a bona-fide winger: fast, aggressive and direct – ghosting past opposition defenders like they're not there. He doesn't waste possession and is a genuine threat from wide; he's been Twente's outstanding player, contributing 8 goals and 4 assists already this term.
Lex Immers – Feyenoord
Very few teams play with a natural playmaker/'number ten' in the Eredivisie these days, much of the support the lone forward receives comes from the attacking midfielder; one of the very best is Immers: a player who, in truth, splits opinion – similar to Siem de Jong at Ajax – but is valued by his teammates and manager: seven goals (from 41 shots) and 29 chances created is one huge reason.
Jordy Clasie – Feyenoord
If there's one word to describe Clasie then it's 'control'. It essentially defines him, an individual tailor-made for the 'number six' role – or controlling midfielder – with his spatial awareness and the technique to compliment it. A master of the instep, every move starts before the ball is touched, courtesy of his sharp thinking, 180-degree vision and impeccable foresight. Once in possession, he distributes efficiently whether short or hitting long, accurate diagonal balls forward, or even the occasional defence splitting pass (attempted 5 through-balls, succeeding with 3). He's tasked with retaining and recycling possession, averaging 58.2 passes, 3.1 tackles and 2.2 interceptions per game.
Lucas Piazón – Vitesse
Oft-compared to compatriot and fellow São Paulo FC alumni Ricardo Kakà due to his graceful style, Piazón – on loan from Chelsea – is the highest rated (7.97) Eredivisie-based player on WhoScored.com. To say the playmaker has made an impact is an understatement. He's become Vitesse's lynchpin; everything positive they do seems to go through him. Piazón has been utilised in his favoured role as a wide-forward on the left with licence to cut inside – showcasing his playmaking and attacking attributes – linking up with the centre-forward to supply assists; eight so far (from 50 chances created) to go with his 11 goals.
Alfred Finnbogason – Heerenveen
The Icelandic striker has benefited from the tutelage of Marco van Basten, the most prolific number nine of his generation: technique and finesse intertwined in unadulterated ruthlessness. He leads the race for the Golden Boot by a distance: 17 goals. Finnbogason has put everyone – including every defender – on alert. His gradual evolution has seen him become renowned for scoring in the unlikeliest of situations. Every game Finnbogason cuts an impassive figure, mind focused, void of distraction and feeling every fibre geared for a single purpose. Once that mission is done the child in him escapes but just as quickly his mask goes back up and the cycle starts again. To say goals is an obsession would be an understatement. It's compulsive.
Graziano Pellè – Feyenoord
It's a well known fact that Italian strikers, like fine wine, get better as they age. Pellè – who turns 29 next year – is living proof. He embodies the attributes of a top calibre No. 9 – aerially dominant, good movement, intelligence and a great finisher – which has made his assimilation all that smoother. By and large he's the focal point of Feyenoord’s attack; strong hold-up play allows him to bring others into the game, and it's not outlandish to suggest an over-reliance. Feyenoord, so far in this campaign have scored 36 goals: 13 have come courtesy of Pellè (36%).
Who have been the standout players for you in the Eredivisie so far? Let us know in the comments below