The Eredivisie is back! Round 18 of the Eredivisie awaits with Michael Statham giving his preview and predictions for each match, along with fellow Football Oranje writer Amos Abuga for the second time this season. The biggest clash of the weekend sees Feyenoord take on PSV.

eredFriday, January 15

Twente v Heracles

At the time of writing, we have still not heard anything on the departure of Hakim Ziyech, who I thought would have been leaving Twente as everyone else was celebrating the New Year’s fireworks!

Being stripped of the captaincy will see him leave the club on a really sour note as fans used to adore the Moroccan.

It will be a tough second half of the season for The Tukkers, starting with an important match against their local rivals.

Heracles have been relatively happy to sell their key players in this transfer window. They are content to take the money for players such as Oussama Tannane and finish mid-table.

So the team from Almelo won’t be as strong in the attacking department in the coming months, but no team can knock their team spirit, which will still see them upset the odds on occasion.

Michael’s prediction: 1-1

Amos’s prediction: Heracles was one of the stand out performers in the first half of the season, I expect them to grab victory on Friday. 1-2

Saturday, January 16

Cambuur v Vitesse

Cambuur won back-to-back games to round off 2015, scoring seven goals in the process. Maybe the seasonal pause was not what they wanted.

Bartholomew Ogbeche’s fitness is very important as the club still need more wins in the next month or two to keep in touch with those above them.

Vitesse are a tough opponent however, having the second meanest defence in the Eredivisie.

Peter Bosz leaving will be a huge miss for the club though, despite the new Maccabi Tel Aviv manager asserting that his successor Rob Maas “is going to be a very good manager”.

Michael’s prediction: 1-2

Amos’s prediction: Cambuur couldn’t have wished for a better time to face the Arnhem based side. Who knows, Peter Bosz, might have left Vitesse with his charm. Vitesse don’t stand a chance. 2-1

Roda JC v AZ

Roda have been very busy in the transfer window so far as they look to solidify a team that has leaked too many goals.

Those signings may take a little time to bed in, but they look decent captures that should be enough to just about keep Roda safe.

Jeffrey Gouweleeuw finally got his move abroad last week but it’s disappointing to see AZ yet again sell a player and not properly replace them.

Yes, Ron Vlaar has joined the club who was, in my opinion, a better than Gouweleeuw before his latest injury last spring. However Vlaar’s contract is only until the end of the campaign and he is likely to be searching for a move elsewhere.

The club need to resolve this issue before they fall back further down the table in seasons to come. They are underperforming in the bottom half of the table at the moment, but they do have good quality up front, which I think will break Roda down.

Michael’s prediction: 0-2

Amos’s prediction: 0-0

PEC Zwolle v Heerenveen

PEC were unlucky not to take something from Eindhoven before the break. They were undone by some quality from PSV, but until then they really got into the champions’ backline, giving Nicolas Isimat-Mirin a real tough time.

I think they have what it takes to beat a Heerenveen side who went back to square one in their heavy home defeat to ADO.

It was like watching the same team that were so dreadful under Dwight Lodeweges. The defence was all over the place, the attack was toothless and the passing was very sloppy in their own half.

Of course, that was only one game, but confidence will have taken a hit.

Michael’s prediction: 2-0

Amos’s prediction: 1-0

De Graafschap v Excelsior

So far De Graafschap’s scrap for survival is going awfully on the pitch and off it as at the moment, only Mark Diemers has joined on loan from Utrecht.

Jan Vreman must try and wheel and deal in order to give his side a glimmer of hope going into the next few games, such as this one, a winnable home match against Excelsior.

The visitors looked nothing like the side that went on a solid, unbeaten run in Autumn. They struggled to carve out good chances against Cambuur and let in four goals far too easily.

I wonder if Alfons Groenendijk has what it takes to refind that form, or if there will be a poor second half of the season lying ahead for Excelsior.

Michael’s prediction: 2-2

Amos’s prediction: De Graafschap have huge fight for unlikely escape from what looks like a sure drop from the top flight. They will need something special to change their fate, just maybe a win against Excelsior is all they need. 2-0

Sunday, January 17

ADO Den Haag v Ajax

ADO don’t play the nicest football, but they do get results when they remain solid in defence.

It will be interesting to see if they can keep out Ajax on this occasion after Henk Fraser’s men let in four against the league leaders earlier in the season.

Ajax really got away with their performance when they played De Graafschap before the winter break. Two moments of quality saved them. They say winning when you don’t play well is a sign of champions, yet Ajax to me seem to be doing that far too often.

Michael’s prediction: 1-2

Amos’s prediction: Winter champions Ajax might just curse the recess they are coming from. A break might have halted their form, the Hague based team could prove me right come Sunday. 1-0

Feyenoord v PSV

The home side stumbled into the winter break on the back of a disappointing defeat to NEC which saw the Rotterdammers fall five points behind leaders Ajax.

Whilst the attack lacked a bit of quality on that day, the defence was the main issue for Feyenoord.

Jan-Arie van der Heijden and Miquel Nelom are not first choice defenders and were heavily exposed on that left-hand side. Fortunately for them, Terrence Kongolo and Eric Botteghin are back fit for this key encounter, although Karim El Ahmadi is suspended.

It is such a huge match already for both sides after a month off and PSV’s lack of match preparation before this weekend is a concern.

The champions struggled to find any teams of a good level to play against as they had a few teams cancel friendlies against them on their training camp in Malta. Only national champions Hibernians FC would play the Dutch team, who surprisingly beat PSV 2-1.

De Kuip will be rocking for this one and with key players returning to strengthen Feyenoord, they will really fancy their chances facing a PSV side potentially short on match fitness.

That said, PSV always raise their game for the big matches, making this one really tough to predict.

Michael’s prediction: 1-0

Amos’s prediction: The match of the weekend, second vs third, both teams will be going for victory if they are to keep pace with runaway leaders Ajax. I don’t think there will be a winner in this particular encounter. 1-1

Groningen v Utrecht

Groningen are notoriously strong at home this season, they are unbeaten at the Euroborg, and the goals of Michael De Leeuw give them a real edge up front. It would be a huge loss for the club should he leave in this transfer window, as I don’t think Danny Hoesen will ever be a 15-20 goals-a-season striker.

Meanwhile Utrecht have rapidly become a strong side in the division. Their offensive players are the envy of all the league’s sides. It’s likely that the club will hold on to the likes of Nacer Barazite, Yassin Ayoub and Sebastien Haller until the end of the season too, giving Utrecht a real chance of reaching fourth spot.

Michael’s prediction: 1-1

Amos’s prediction: 2-1

NEC v Willem II

A fine win over title-challengers Feyenoord will have done NEC the world of good, because after a poor run of form they could savour that win over Christmas.

For now, they have retained key attackers Anthony Limbombe and Christian Santos, but for how long? If they lose the pair, I worry where their goals will come from.

A crucial win over Roda now sees Willem II in thirteenth following a tough start to the season.

I think NEC will stop that little run of form that the visitors have been building.

Michael’s prediction: 2-1

Amos’s prediction: 1-1

How have I done so far?

Week 1: 4 results

Week 2: 3 results, 1 correct score

Week 3: 7 results, 1 correct score

Week 4: 4 results, 1 correct score

Week 5: 7 results, 2 correct scores

Week 6: 4 results, 1 correct score

Week 7: 7 results

Week 8: 5 results, 1 correct score

Week 9: 5 results, 1 correct score

Week 10: 4 results, 1 correct score

Week 11: 4 results, 1 correct score

Week 12: 3 results, 1 correct score

Week 13: 5 results

Week 14: 6 results

Week 15: 6 results, 1 correct score

Week 16: 4 results, 2 correct scores

Week 17: 5 results, 1 correct score

Think you can better mine or Amos’s predictions? Tweet us! @EredivisieMike, @AMOKC1001 or tweet @football_oranje or comment below with yours…

Michael Statham (695 Posts)

Writer/interviewer/YouTuber for Football-Oranje. Massive Dutch football fan from the UK. Follow me @EredivisieMike & subscribe to Football-Oranje on YouTube.