The Eredivisie returns this weekend to help us all forget about the Netherlands national team’s disappointing results. Michael Statham continues to provide his previews and predictions for each match.

eredSaturday, September 12

Roda JC v NEC Nijmegen

Roda are sitting pretty in fourth after winning three of their opening four games. They nullified AZ to good effect a fortnight ago, showing good defensive quality for a side still finding their feet in the league. Defensive-midfielder Rostyn Griffiths has been particularly good.

NEC look to be missing a proper goal threat up front. Two spectacular strikes from Navarone Foor are all that the Jupiler League champions have to show so far. I think the addition of Mihai Roman will be key for Ernest Faber’s side, he’s a striker who’s got goals in the Romanian top division and will also be an unknown quality for many Eredivisie defences at first.

Prediction: 1-1

De Graafschap v AZ Alkmaar

Four defeats and ten goals conceded is a dreadful start for De Graafschap. The side were always likely to struggle by having one of the smallest budgets in the Eredivisie but Roda are an example of a side who have come up and done well so far with limited resources. Thijs Bouma’s horror injury will not help either, one less defender available in only a small squad.

AZ have had two weeks’ rest now following a slightly hectic beginning to the season in the Europa League. Already this season reminds me of the last time AZ were in European competition two years ago. Whilst having one of the best squads in the Eredivisie and reaching the quarter finals of the Europa League, they struggled in the league and finished eighth. The players will be stretched in this campaign, particularly if they can reach the later stages of competitions, but it is up to John van den Brom to keep his players fresh and not rely on the same players twice a week for the whole season.

For now, both sides are still looking for their first wins of the season. I think AZ will have recuperated well after the break and will bag the three points. Alireza Jahanbakhsh made 3 assists in a 4-3 friendly win at FC Oss during the international break, a player that the Alkmaarers need dearly to add some extra attacking spice to their side.

Prediction: 0-2

Twente v Ajax

At the time of writing, Twente are still without a manager despite having nearly three weeks to replace Alfred Schreuder. Fred Rutten is in the frame and I would fancy him to do well in Enschede should he return to the club. Although the club is in a mess right now and can’t be turned around in a matter of weeks.

It couldn’t be much better for Ajax at the moment as far as the league is concerned. Four wins, 12 goals scored and none conceded for De Boer’s men. I think Ajax will take full advantage of Twente’s situation.

Prediction: 0-3

Cambuur v PSV

What looked like a promising start to the season has now turned into a poor one. 14 goals conceded make Cambuur the leakiest defence in the Eredivisie, commanding centre-back Etienne Reijnen’s departure seems to have left a gap in the defence.

PSV are probably the worst opponents to face this weekend then. The visitors look to be hitting form. Maxime Lestienne has for me epitomised this up-turn in fortunes. His first couple of games for the club were a little average but now he looks to be settling into the team.

A good win for PSV here would set them in the right frame of mind before they face Manchester United in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Prediction: 0-3

PEC Zwolle v Excelsior

I believe Ron Jans has recruited very shrewdly once more in the transfer market. His new look midfield has pace, power and quality both defensively and especially going forward. Ouasim Bouy, Gustavo Hebling and Wout Brama were all added before the deadline and will form a good blend in the midfield. What’s more, Lars Veldwijk, who was loaned from Nottingham Forest earlier in the summer, looks to be discovering his shooting boots in the Eredivisie following two goals in his last two games.

I think the home side will have too much for an Excelsior side who for me will lack quality in attack following Jordan Botaka’s move to Leeds. A 3-0 victory last time out over De Graafschap will raise confidence, hopefully we will get to see more of Botaka’s replacement Brandley Kuwas who impressed after coming off the bench in that 3-0 success.

Prediction: 2-0

Sunday, September 13

Groningen v Heerenveen

Groningen were poor and deservedly slumped to defeat in Utrecht two weeks ago. They were dominated for long periods of the game. The Europa League is coming the Thursday after this ‘Derby of the North’, a win here could kick start Groningen’s season.

The away side are undefeated in four games following a 1-1 draw last time out. In that game we saw the first real piece of magic from Sam Larsson this season as he scored a fine goal against Zwolle, hopefully we will see more of that in the coming weeks as the Swede is a really exciting player when on form.

Prediction: 1-1

ADO den Haag v Heracles

ADO found Ajax too hot to handle in the Amsterdam ArenA but should quickly forget games like that as they won’t define their season. I thought den Haag would pick up a point and for good reason as they have the tools to threaten some of the bigger teams.

Heracles are second in the early table thanks to a third win on the bounce against rivals Twente. I fancy them to continue their fine form and win in the Hague just like the end of last season.

Prediction: 1-2

Feyenoord v Willem II

Feyenoord are starting to gel and I thought they were better than PSV in the first half of the game a fortnight ago. The team was set up to counter attack and was very organised defensively until Maxime Lestienne’s goal just before half time. However it’s not every week that Feyenoord will be set up to play on the break.

It’ll be interesting to see how the defence lines up over the coming months as four centre-backs started the game in Eindhoven, Sven van Beek and Terence Kongolo deployed as full-backs despite both of the defenders’ futures being in the heart of the defence. In De Kuip more attacking impetus is needed from the full-backs, so Rick Karsdorp and Miquel Nelom may come back into the frame at the expense of new arrivals Jan van der Heijden and Eric Botteghin.

Meanwhile Willem II were busy adding to their frontline on deadline day as Slovakian striker Adam Nemec arrived from the MLS to put pressure on the struggling Richairo Zivkovic. The Tilburgers need goals quickly to avoid loss of confidence and being involved in the relegation battle come the end of the season.

Prediction: 3-1

Utrecht v Vitesse

This match sees a meeting between two good sides who I think will both be in the higher reaches of the table for much of this campaign.

Utrecht are tenth at the moment, but look to be in for a good season as the defence looks much more solid since Erik ten Hag’s arrival. The back five is working well and both wing backs are offering support for the forward play, providing service for Nacer Barazite and Sebastien Haller.

Vitesse have some quality players in development in midfield. Valeri Qazaishvili, Nathan and Milot Rashica are three players who have caught my eye so far. Peter Bosz looks to be doing a fantastic job once more at recreating his squad.

I think at home Utrecht will be a force to be reckoned with, hence my prediction of a home win.

Prediction: 2-1

 

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

Think you can better my predictions? Comment below or tweet @EredivisieMike or @football_oranje with yours…

 




Michael Statham (617 Posts)

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